An unofficially revamped Singapore MRT map is so good that even the LTA’s interest is piqued

The Land Transport Authority will be meeting with Cliff Tan, who designed a new version of Singapore’s MRT system map, on Friday.
Facebook / Cliff Tan

Is Singapore’s MRT system about to get a whole lot more user-friendly?

With a daily ridership of more than 3 million, the MRT is one of the most heavily used public transport modes in Singapore today. But with so many MRT stations and lines operating on one tiny island, navigating around the country can get quite confusing.

This is what the MRT map of Singapore looks like now:

LTA

Earlier this week, an unofficial map revision made by Cliff Tan – identified as an architect by The Straits Times – became widely-shared for providing a fresh and clearer take on Singapore’s MRT system.

In his post, Tan said: “I wanted to make it geographically more accurate, while giving each line an identity.”

The architect also included Marina Bay and Bukit Timah Reserve on the map, explaining it would help visitors identify where they were on the island.

His post has since gathered almost 5,500 reactions and approximately 5,200 shares.

Tan’s map also caught the eye of the Land Transport Authority (LTA), who praised the design in a Facebook post, saying: “Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for our rail network, consider joining us and be part of our Friends of LTA?”

And it seems the architect accepted the LTA’s invitation to #CallMeMaybe. In an update posted on Thursday (April 25), Tan said that he was scheduled to meet with LTA the next day.

New MRT map coming soon

When contacted, a spokesman for The Land Transport Authority told Business Insider that a revamped MRT map has already been drawn up, and will be introduced in tandem with the completion of Canberra station and the first phase of the Thomson-East Coast Line later this year.

“System maps are regularly updated to reflect the addition of new stations and lines as they become operational,” a spokesman for LTA said.

“We are encouraged that members of the public are taking an active interest in land transport and are helping to create greater awareness of our growing rail network. Public feedback is an integral component of co-creating a commuter-centric land transport system,” the authority added.

Unofficial map revised twice, based on public feedback

In an interview with The Straits Times, 31-year-old Tan said he started working on the unofficial MRT map as a personal project a year ago when he returned to Singapore from overseas.

“By the time I was back again last year, we had five lines and I was so overwhelmed that I spent almost the entire duration of all my MRT trips just glued to the train cabin wall, trying to take in and understand the map,” Tan was quoted by The Straits Times as saying.

He added: “I found that the map lacks focus and I was unable to orientate myself to find my position in Singapore based on it, especially around town.”

In a reply to a comment on his Facebook post, Tan also said that he was inspired by Italian designer Massimo Vignelli, who drew up an alternative map of the New York subway.

Tan later updated his map to include future MRT lines such as the Jurong Region Line, Thompson-East Cost Line, and the Cross Island Line.

In Tan’s third and latest version, he made more tweaks to the design after receiving feedback from netizens, including the addition of station codes and “a more considered central area”. The April 24 version is also “overall better proportioned”, he said.

Tan also included clearer interchange signs and indicated where MRT stations were within 15 minutes of walking distance between each other.

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