Data Viz Done Right

December 18, 2016

Makeover Monday: Historical Performance of the Washington Metro

Two weeks to go in one of the best projects I’ve ever been a part of. In fact, Andy Cotgreave and I are hosting a Twitter chat on Monday at 4pm GMT. Get all of the details here and join us in discussing the impact this amazing project has had on all of us.

For week 51, we’re looking at the Washington DC Metro Scorecard. This is basically a KPI dashboard of quality and safety for the Metro. Let’s have a look at their scorecard:


What works well?

  • Nearly laid out and organized
  • Thumbs up and down give the status at a glance
  • Despite the rings, it’s visually appealing and draws you in


What could be improved?

  • While the rings make the comparison to goal easy, they wouldn’t work if something has to go past a full circle of the ring.
  • Inconsistent colors
  • No sense for performance over time
  • Can’t see all of the metrics in a single view; scrolling is generally a problem with KPI dashboards
  • You can’t tell how far each metric is from the target


They didn’t make all of the data available for us to use in the makeover. For example, there is no data available for the entire people and assets section. So what you’ll see this week from everyone will be nine of the metrics. For my makeover, I wanted to create small multiples of each metric over time. I liked their blue and red colors, so I used similar colors. I also wanted this to look more like a newspaper, so I went with the American Typewriter font. Lastly, if you look at this on a phone, you’ll see it a long, scrolling dashboard. I really like how this turned out.