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Navigating L.A.'s Future Subway System, as Seen in 'Her'

Navigating L.A.'s Future Subway System, as Seen in 'Her'
Geoff Mcfetridge and Untitled Rick Howard Company LLC

For a very brief moment in Her, as Theodore Twombly walks through an L.A. Metro station, viewers glimpse the map (here's a screenshot via Reddit in case you missed it) Angelenos of the future use to navigate the city.

As Alex Baca pointed out earlier this month, that map would have been pretty important for public transit-loving L.A. of 2020-something. It was created by current L.A. resident and designer Geoff McFetridge, who looked to Massimo Vignelli's 1972 New York City map for inspiration.

"I was looking to create a kind of believability about the urbanism of L.A. as well as its potential," says McFetridge. It's an optimistic final product, imagining a city easily navigable by train. A place, he says, "where things are easier."

Like Vignelli's New York map, McFetridge's design takes geographic liberties (many, as pointed out by Gizmodo readers) for the sake of design. It stretches from the Angeles National Forest to Malibu, and includes many new stations. Not all of them, McFetridge acknowledges, are rooted in reason. Three LAX stops might be nice, but having a major transfer station on the beach in Malibu "could be kind of terrible."

McFetridge even gave Metro a new slogan, "Sea to Summit."

McFetridge thinks his imagined system matches up with the L.A. Spike Jonze depicts in his film, providing "something that's lacking now but is so important then."

Since there's no way you got a chance to study the map up close in the theater, here's a look at some of the details:

Courtesy Geoff McFetridge and Untitled Rick Howard Company LLC

The new logo and slogan up close:

Courtesy Geoff McFetridge and Untitled Rick Howard Company LLC

McFetridge had fun with a lot of station names, reducing new ones to things as simple as "Nail Spot" and "River":

Courtesy Geoff McFetridge and Untitled Rick Howard Company LLC

The fun extended to transit extension ideas, like providing stops along the beach:

Courtesy Geoff McFetridge and Untitled Rick Howard Company LLC

His own fantasies extend to having the system provide service to LAX (something that locals have long been asking for):

Courtesy Geoff McFetridge and Untitled Rick Howard Company LLC

For the sake of comparison, here's what Los Angeles's actual rapid transit map looks like as of 2014:

Courtesy Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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