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Mapping Local and Commuter Rail Transit in NYC: MTA

This guide covers how to research for maps related to subways and railroads in New York City within the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal's Map Division.

Quick Facts about MTA

  • MTA is an initialism for Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 
  • Years of Note:
    • In 1968, Metropolitan Transportation Authority assumed management of New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), Long Island Railroad (LIRR), the two commuter railroad operations that became Metro-North, and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA). The buses and ferries were also consolidated under this new management. 
  • Please note that Staten Island Railway is managed by MTA, but known as SIR (Staten Island Railway)
  • Please note that some earlier MTA maps will include the names of former local transit companies, such as the IRT, BRT, and IND (see below). 

mta map key

Image Source: Key of The new subway map--courtesy of The News Sunday Magazine/ New York City Transit Authority. Map Div. 94-5688

A Selection of MTA maps at the Map Division

How to Search the Catalog for MTA Maps

Online Research Catalog

When using the Online Research Catalog:

  • In the Advanced Search function, checkmark "Cartographic" under Format.
  • If you are interested in finding maps created by the MTA, we recommend the following searches into the Author field:
  • Not all maps that include MTA routes were created by the rapid transit company itself. Commercial, government, and other rapid transit companies would also showcase these local transit lines on their maps. As such, to include these maps in your search results, we recommend the following searches in the Keyword field:
  • Please note that you can have narrow your search to more specific results by combining the above search terms with any of the terms listed in the "Terms to Search in the Online Research Catalog" portion of this guide's Using Our Catalogs page

Dictionary Catalog

Current MTA Maps

To find the most current MTA Maps, we highly recommend reviewing the  MTA Website, specifically their Maps Page. This pages hosts variations of the current subway map, bus maps for all 5 boroughs, current Neighborhood Maps, and many more.

Additional Resources

To find supplementary books and documents related to the MTA, please conduct the searches listed on this page's "Catalog Tips" with "Cartographic" NOT checkmarked  in either our Online Research Catalog or Digital Collections Portal. See below for a list of recommended materials: