Architect's redesign of MRT system map wins praise

Architect Cliff Tan's redesign of the MRT system map features a cleaner and more rounded depiction of train lines.
Architect Cliff Tan's redesign of the MRT system map features a cleaner and more rounded depiction of train lines.PHOTO: CLIFF TAN

A redesigned MRT system map that has gone viral online is just the ticket, says the Land Transport Authority (LTA), although it will introduce its own revamped version later this year.

Architect Cliff Tan uploaded his redesign on Facebook on Monday that features a cleaner and more rounded depiction of train lines.

The post quickly garnered widespread praise and has received around 5,000 reactions and a similar number of shares.

Some respondents provided feedback while a few urged the LTA to consider adapting Mr Tan's design.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, LTA praised Mr Tan for a job well done and asked him to consider approaching the authority.

An LTA spokesman told The Straits Times the MRT system map is being revised: "System maps are regularly updated to reflect the addition of new stations and lines as they become operational.

"LTA has revamped Singapore's MRT system map and it will be introduced in tandem with the completion of Canberra station and the first phase of the Thomson-East Coast Line later this year."


LTA added that it is encouraged by the active interest shown by members of the public in land transport and that input on signage-related matters can be lodged at

Among Mr Tan's fans was Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh, who said in a Facebook post on Thursday the map was "simply brilliant".

"I now see the city and country in quite a different light too, more contours, more textures, more character, more connections, not so flat and linear anymore," he wrote. "Singapore is not small anymore; space has opened out and the city keeps going round and round endlessly."

Mr Tan, 31, told The Straits Times he started work on the map about a year ago as a personal project. He moved overseas to study and work in 2010 and found on his visits home that he was becoming more and more confused by the growing network of train stations.

"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 understand the map. I found that the map lacks focus and I was unable to orientate myself, especially around town."

While he acknowledged the original map designers had a difficult job, he said he was inspired to come up with his own version after coming across an alternative map of New York's subway by Italian designer Massimo Vignelli.

Mr Tan has now revamped his own design to address shortfalls pointed out by some netizens.

"I didn't expect to put so much effort into it, but I am sure all designers can relate with me," he added. "When you start a design, you can't stop; it is like a big puzzle. It starts out fun, then you get stuck, but don't want to give up."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2019, with the headline 'Architect's redesign of MRT system map wins praise'. Print Edition | Subscribe