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How To Create A City Travel Map To Help You While Commuting

by Content Team 31 Jul 2022 1 comment

Hey, I’m Quinn from zquinns_art on Instagram. I am about to move to San Fransisco, and while I was visiting earlier this month, my boyfriend and I ran into the issue of our phone batteries getting dangerously low while trying to navigate the city. While there may be plenty of maps in stations and at bus stops, it is still so much easier to move about a city with a personal map to guide you. After this trip, I realized that it would be quite useful to create a map for myself in my journal so that I can easily reference it if I ever am in need of direction. This led to the creation of this map of the public transport system in the city along with the important stops I need to know. I wanted to share my process with you all so whether you are just visiting a new city or planning to move to a new one entirely, you would have a handy map with you that you already carry around! 

supplies including pens and notebooks


map print

Creating Your Map

I started off by printing out the map of the transportation system. These are usually easy to find through a quick Google search. You are also free to make a map yourself! I just know that some public transit maps are more complicated than the BART system. For bus systems, you can also find a map of the city and then draw out the specific bus routes that work best for you. Try using Google Maps or a similar application to see which route numbers are the ones you want to use. 

I added the colors of the different paths the transit takes based on BART’s color system, but feel free to use your own if your transit or busses don’t have specific colors associated with them. 

create a spread

How to Personalize it

I liked to create a key with the important places on the map I want to get to. This can include things like: 

  • Home
  • Work
  • Groceries
  • Favorite restaurants 
  • Favorite locations to visit 
  • Place you’d like to visit 
  • Places to avoid
  • Information help
  • Places where you transition stops
  • Anything else you find useful

Having these personal touches help you to become more familiar with the area. They can also help to familiarize yourself with looking at the maps that are on public transportation. 

As you use these modes of transportation more and more, you can add further personal touches. You can add notes about which stop you need to get off, which clues indicate that your stop is coming up, what time the bus usually arrives, etc. 

full finished spread

Make Sure to Include: 

These are just a few things to keep in mind while you are creating your map:

  • Times for when the mode of transportation is active! Even busses and trains have times and days where they don’t run.
  • Which are the routes you will be using the most? Indicate those clearly.
  • How many stops will you have to ride through? 
  • What are the best times of day to use them? 

Also, if you are worried about your personal safety, you can simply put the map in your journal and avoid writing down specific locations or times. As long as you are aware of where you are and how to read a map, just having it to reference in an easy way will be helpful. 

I’ve included a printable to help you with creating your map key! Feel free to add your own doodles to the list for different places you frequent. 

map printable

I also created a video to show you my process of creating my spread! Feel free to add a comment if you have any questions :)

I hope you found this brief tutorial helpful. If you create your own map or have some of your own creative map-making ideas, feel free to leave a comment, tag me or Archer and Olive on Instagram, or check out the video above! Happy crafting!

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1 comment

22 Aug 2022 Shelley

Loved this post. I live outside SF and have used BART more times that I can count so this spread hit close to home. An early welcome to the “City by the Bay”.

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