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MBTA gets a new map

Starting next year, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s iconic subway map will have a new look — or at least, a subtle makeover.

On Monday, T officials announced the winner of its map-redesign contest: Getting 6,837 of more than 17,000 votes, the map designed by Michael Kvrivishvili of Russia was the victor.

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The new map will begin appearing in stations next year, starting with Orient Heights, which is under renovation, and Assembly Square, which is set to open late 2014.

Kvrivishvili, who was not paid for his work, was the contest finalist who stuck closest to the T’s current design, so close, in fact, that at first glance it may be difficult to tell exactly what was changed.

The map’s subtle departure from the existing map, T spokeswoman Kelly Smith said, is probably why it won.

Though many of the other maps incorporated innovative design features that created a completely new look, voters preferred a more conservative approach.

“We weren’t asking people which one they thought was the coolest,” Smith said. “We were asking them which one they would actually want to use on a daily basis.”

Still, the new map has some significant differences. It assigns a lot more breathing room to the Green Line, allowing its four spokes more room to stretch out, and making it possible to list every Green Line station.

It also shows all the stops on the section of the Silver Line that runs between South Station and South Boston.

Additionally, for the color-blind set, each line features a label — red, orange, etc. — indicating its color.

Martine Powers can be reached at martine.powers@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.
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