transport | urbanism | adventures | pontification
Here is the next installment in the series of schematic maps I’ve made based on my travels. Panama City’s bus routes are difficult to map for a number of reasons.
First, the city’s layout is not conducive to a diagram based on 45-degree lines. Two geographical constraints, the Canal Zone (in which no development is allowed to protect the watershed that feeds the canal’s locks) and the Bay of Panama, form a 30-degree angle with its vertex in the southwestern historical core of Casco Antiguo. An urbanist study found that the city’s ongoing development follows this 30-degree template, even though the newest settlements are beyond the constraints of Canal Zone’s boundaries. I decided to embrace this 30-degree angle, fundamental to the city’s form, and base my map on the old Stuttgart transit diagram (See the scanned image from the Brian Purcell collectionhere. While such a purely isometric approach was infeasible for my diagram, I was able to achieve it in some areas (such as around the Terminal).
There are only five main bus corridors in the city: The Northern Corridor, Ricardo Alfaro Avenue, Simón Bolívar Avenue, Vía España, and Balboa Avenue. But in the outskirts of the city (and to some extent, around the Terminal), these trunk lines branch out into many different lines. Further complicating things are the various one-way streets and express/direct routing variations. I tried to show these clearly with arrows and black borders, respectively, but things got a little hectic around the Terminal.
Deciding which stops to show was also a question. My previous diagrams were of the countries of Belize and Nicaragua; cities were easy to mark as stops. The Diabjos Rojos, however, stop at nearly any corner when requested, so showing all of the stops was not possible. I decided instead to include the final stops of different routes, as well as the malls and shopping centers that the pavos (turkeys, as the bus conductors are called) tend to shout out when calling passengers.