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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Making Sense of Tube Statistics - London Transport Museum Infographic Posters

Some wonderful posters go on display at London Transport Museum from Friday 6th January 2012 as part of their Sense & The City exhibition. In a display called
Painting by Numbers it's interesting to see how "infographics" were used in the 1920's and 1930's as "propaganda to tell the public about the excellence of the public transport services being provided". Perhaps something that TfL could currently learn from, as we face New Year's fare increases.

What it takes to move passengers 1923 - London Transport Museum Poster

The poster above "What It Takes to Move the Passengers - Problems of the Underground" by Irene Fawkes, reminded passengers about the resources needed to make their journey.

London Transport Musuem said "Often thought of as a 21st century phenomenon, data visualisation – the presentation of information abstracted into a visual form – has been in use since the 2nd century when Egyptian people used tables to organise astronomical information. It was not until the 1920s that the importance and power of data visualisation for examining and making sense of data and information became more widely used".

Figures for 1923, by Charles Shepard, 1924 - London Transport Museum Poster

20 posters will be on display including work by Hans Schleger, Misha Black & David Langdon, Theyre Lee-Elliott, and James Fitton.  You can also buy reproductions of some of the posters online.  I really love the one above by Charles Shepard.  

What happens to your money 1938 - London Transport Museum Poster

Passengers in 1938 were just as concerned by fare increases as we are today and "What happens to every £1 of your fares, by Zero (Hans Schleger)", was an attempt to justify those increases.

The poster display complements the Museum’s current temporary exhibition Sense and the City: smart, connected and on the move which explores how emerging technologies are transforming the way we live, work and play in our cities. "As well as looking at modern day and future data visualisation, it poses questions about mobility, society and work in the Capital over the next decade, and compares this with past visions of the future. The exhibition closes on 18 March 2012".

I'll be popping along the Museum over the weekend to see the rest of the posters of this new "Painting by Numbers" collection as I'm intrigued to see which others are included.

Tickets for London Transport Museum are Adults £13:50; Concessions £10 give you  unlimited admission to the museum for a 12 month period from date of purchase (probably worth the ticket price alone to see the Sinclair C5 in the flesh too).

Update - I went along on Sunday 8th January and it was good to see the posters in the flesh. Of the ones that haven't been published online, I really liked this section of a 1920's poster of two characters called Zip & Pep who were also trying to explain why fares were increased.

Part of 1920 poster - London Transport Museum - Painting by Numbers

John Citizen is also fairly exasperated on other parts of this poster as Zip & Pep "helpfullly" point out why the fares are good value for money.

You might also like
Sense and the City: Dan Dare on the Tube
Guided Tours of Tube Poster Artists at Museum Depot Acton
London Underground Poster Diary 2012
Old Posters found at Richmond Station
More Old Posters found at Richmond Station    
New Year's Fare Increases - UK Commuters pay almost 10 times more for trains than other Europeans 

; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, January 05, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon