Partizaning’s Map of the Moscow Metro

Instead of waiting for Moscow's government to update their worst ever map of the subway, we decided to create our own, unsanctioned map of the city's metro system. Without any commission (but using the donated funds from one of our readers in Germany) we designed, printed and posted this map in several metro wagons. We then blogged about it on the Russian version of this site last Thursday, after which it crashed for 1.5 hours after receiving 2000 visitors per minute.


We installing our first map.


Let's start at the beginning. We love maps, and have wanted to create our own metro map ever since we designed the first ever cycling map of Moscow. After the official map of the metro that was redesigned and released in October (for the first time in decade), we realized that it was ugly and extremely impractical.

The department of transport had been trying to address Moscow's catastrophic transport situation, and decided to change the map that had long been criticized by designers, professionals and citizens. They announced a competition to create an alternative version—and we must admit that the new map is going to be much better than the one we have right now.

We decided not to participate in this competition for three reasons: we don't like working with officials and bureaucrats; we didn't want to work with government of Moscow because they have yet to pay us for another mapping project, and it seemed that the whole commission was more of a PR exercise than a real attempt to improve the situation.




We admit that our map is not perfect and we're not pretending to create a real official map. There are lots of things to improve. But our goal was to highlights some of the social and transport problems that need to be widely discussed and solved.

For example, we think that expanding the metro system is an unreasonably expensive project, and the perfect way for corrupt scams to take place. Instead, we propose improving the railroad system and connections between the two systems. We believe that it doesn't make sense to build a second metro circle when it's much more convenient to run passenger commuter trains on the railroad circle ring (which has operated as a cargo railroute for last 50 years) has ideally located and beautiful art-nouveau stations that need just a few upgrades.



Our goal was to link the map to the real geography of the city, and advocate pedestrianism, cycling and usage of other transports such as trams and electrichka (railroad trains) by showing more realistic distances between districts, and how far and inefficient sometimes can be usage of metro comparing to trains.

We made lots of small improvements: we changed the name of new station recently opened on the south of Moscow that locals were protesting against. We removed all the lines and stations that are going to be open in the next couple of years because they are really confusing guests from other cities. We also attached a small satirical info-graphic showing that public transport and cycling are much faster options than driving.


"This DIY map was installed without sanction. You can download vector layout, add whatever you want and install it with or without our help in the metro."


The Rules of Conduct

We changed the rules of conducts to target not passengers, but metro officials, bureaucrats, and PR-companies.


"It's prohibited in metro to advertise cars, use bad materials to repair old stations, make bad navigation, yell at and kick passengers (even if they trying to pass for free), to unreasonably check documents, steal money etc. We recommend using alternative transport systems, spend more time in your neighborhood, walk and cycle, help people, feel comfortable in public spaces."


Huge Traffic Jams

We made and posted pdf's of a series of stickers that anyone can label onto the annoying car advertising recently occupied Moscow metro. This traffic light icon with a '9' is well known symbol in the most popular system Yandex Traffic Jams that shows how huge traffic jams are, and 9 means the worst situation.



We posted everything online to let people comment and update our map and stickers. After we posted that article we've got almost 100 comments and suggestions and started discussion even through officials. Lots of people mentioned that this map showed them what Moscow really looks like, where it obviously lacked transport tracks, and where it is better to use commute trains (electrichka) or cycle instead of using the metro. We agree that for many reasons a simplified scheme is useful, but a map like ours is an effective way of representing opportunities and advocating our ideas.

P.S. And yes, by the way, we got a message from the Department of Transport that they are processing our payment for the cycling navigation work we did last summer. Yay!

The map in .pdf
The map in .ai + fonts
Egor Rogalev