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Voting begins for selection of new Moscow metro map

by Kristen Blyth, RIA Novosti at 22/01/2013 17:58

An open election for the new Moscow metro map began on Tuesday on the Department of Transportation’s website.

Voters can view the three competition finalists and vote for their favorite at http://dt.mos.ru/metro/. After weighing the pros and cons of each potential metro design, voters must enter their mobile number at the bottom of the page. They will then receive a text message with a unique access code, with which they can select their favorite entry.

Voting will continue through January 31, and the winner will be announced on February 1, deputy head of the rails transportation department Vladimir Titov told journalists. The new map will be displayed in metro cars and on station platforms by the end of March.

The competition, conducted by the “City Projects” fund, for a new design of the underground system officially started on November 1. There were 35 total entries to the competition – some coming even from France and the Netherlands.

Three entries are going into the final round: a proposal from RIA Novosti’s own design center, plus designs from Artemi Lebedev and designer Ilya Birman.

The map is always greener on the other side

The creation of a new metro diagram is long overdue, noted Ilya Varlamov, founder of the “City Projects” fund and a member of the selection jury, since the old map has already been outdated by continued development of the metro system.

“The last straw was that last map they put up in the metro. Do you remember how much it was criticized? Especially because of that incident, it was decided to hold an open contest for the creation of a new map, for which there would be three finalists. The winner of the contest will be selected by an open election,” Varlamov said.

The map currently displayed in Moscow’s metro encountered immediate disgust when it was unveiled last September. Passengers and design professionals alike pointed out numerous flaws in the scheme, including dimensional distortions and the absence of the Moscow River.

A more truthful octagon

All three finalist proposals include a new alphabetical index – both in English and Russian – of every metro station, which will aid Muscovites and tourists in locating unfamiliar stations.

RIA Novosti’s art director, Ilya Ruderman, estimated that the chances of victory for the three finalists are roughly equal.  He also pointed out that RIA Novosti Design Center’s proposal differs in a number of ways from the other entries.

“For example, on our map, the Circle Line is actually octagonal – and this shape is more geographically truthful. After all, the actual position of the line is not a circle, as it’s shown on the old map. Our map is more geographic, more truthful, and it enables users to actually orient themselves in their movement across the city. Also, it draws greater attention to the stations which are equipped for use by people with disabilities,” Ruderman noted.

Thus, in his opinion, many passengers will hardly notice – immediately, at least – the change to the map.

“The most observant people will notice that the map has changed, so for them everything will have changed in the blink of an eye, and travel around the city will be easier for them. For the rest, these changes will affect their commute after a little more time,” Ruderman concluded.

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