Moscow Central Circle navigation

Overview
Task:
to adapt city navigation for Moscow Central Circle stations.

The Moscow Central Circle started operating in 2016. In essence, it is the fourteenth line of the Moscow Metro that combines the Metro with radial routes of the suburban rail. This type of transport system is new to Russia and required unified city navigation.

Based on the concept developed by the Moscow Department of Transportation, a navigation system was created at the studio united with the Metro and ground transport by shared principles and graphic language. The project covers several areas: the Metro, ground transport, pedestrian streets and transportation hubs.

Signs at stations

All signs are located where passengers expect to see them. All intersections, stairs, escalators and doors have clear signage that helps people make sure they’re on the right path.

In the city, stations are visible from a distance and entrance halls are marked with the traditional letter M. Entrances themselves are additionally designated by lightboxes with the station name.

Entrance halls of the Moscow Central Circle stations contain both traditional ticket offices and security posts and the less common in Moscow washrooms and elevators. The navigation takes into account use scenarios that encompass all facilities and functions.

The main scenario is making way to the train. Signs on the way to the platform are large and easily visible. Secondary information is placed on separate media.

Service objects that are visible to people in the main passenger flow do not require additional guidance while those that are less noticeable are clearly marked

In addition to escalators, the new stations are equipped with elevators designed to help parents with strollers, the disabled and the elderly

Signs are always placed perpendicularly to the passenger flow. Seeing a sign in front of them, passengers confidently move towards it even before they can read the text without delaying others

In contrast to regular Metro stations, passengers at Moscow Central Circle stations need to choose a platform

Platforms are also equipped with everything needed to plan a journey including a list of the Central Circle stations and a map of the Metro

Landmark in the city
The station is visible from a distance and the entrance hall is marked with the traditional letter M
The entrance itself is additionally designated by a lightbox with the station name
Entrance halls of the Moscow Central Circle stations contain both traditional ticket offices and security posts and the less common in Moscow washrooms and elevators. The navigation takes into account use scenarios that encompass all facilities and functions
Ticket offices
Escalator to trains
Elevator to trains
Washrooms
Stairs
The main scenario is making way to the train.
Signs on the way to the platform are large and easily visible. Secondary information is placed on separate media
Service objects that are visible to people in the main passenger flow do not require additional guidance
Those that are less noticeable are clearly marked
Ticket offices
Washrooms
Alternative routes
In addition to escalators, the new stations are equipped with elevators designed to help parents with strollers, the disabled and the elderly
Special signs in all areas guide to the elevator
No signs leading to the stairs were created as using the escalator is always preferable. The staircase itself however has all necessary navigation signs
Elevator to trains
Signs are always placed perpendicularly to the passenger flow. Seeing a sign in front of them, passengers confidently move towards it even before they can read the text without delaying others
Reading distance
Noticing distance
Quick decisions in the flow
The direction sign contains minimum information needed for making an instant decision in the “quick” zone. Detailed lists and the map are purposefully located further along the way
In contrast to regular Metro stations, passengers at Moscow Central Circle stations need to choose a platform
"Quick" zone
"Calm" zone
Route planning
Station lists and maps are located out of the way of the flow, in the “quiet” zone. Here passengers can easily plan their journey and choose the best way to their destination
All escalators and stairs are equipped with direction confirming signs
All signs are located where passengers expect to see them. All intersections, stairs, escalators and doors have clear signage that helps people make sure they’re on the right path
Platforms тare also equipped with everything needed to plan a journey including a list of the Central Circle stations and a map of the Metro

Stations differ in their layout and architecture, yet principles of passenger flow remain the same, allowing the navigation system to adhere to a unified logic.

Signs guide people to entrances and exits, help plan a journey and make a transfer from the Central Circle to the Metro or other transport.

Sequential sign content

Finding a way at suburban train stations is more difficult than in the Metro, which meant that the placement of information on navigation signs had to be done with special care. The navigation uses a principle of sequential information filling: important information is duplicated as passengers approach an object.

For example, direction of travel to a station is shown on several signs but as passengers get closer, the signs start to include information about the closest streets and important city objects.

Train travel directions

The Moscow Central Circle is a way to make a transfer from one Metro line to another without having to go downtown or using the overcrowded Circle line. Signs that show train travel directions show the closest stations with Metro interchange: passengers will quickly remember them and they will become reliable reference points.

Separate signs contain information about all stations and interchanges.

Transfers to suburban rail is shown along with Metro interchanges

Choosing toponyms

Choosing toponyms for the signs is a story that’s worth telling (spoiler: it was a pain).

Moscow Central Circle stations are primarily located in remote areas, near industrial zones and forests. For Moscow residents these are never before seen points on the map and street names in those areas don’t have much meaning for them. Let’s take Likhobory station as an example. The closest streets are Planned Road 490 and Planned Road 1047. It would be easy to put these on a sign, but there’s a problem: no one lives on those streets and no one ever goes there.

To make the navigation more sensible, we chose the closest major highways whose names are familiar to the passengers. They are located further from the stations but are more valuable in helping people understand the direction of travel.

Vladykino station walking map

The information is repeated and added on each following sign.The final sign at the station exit shows direction to specific objects located on the streets.

The final sign at the station exit shows direction to specific objects located on the streets.

Overall, the project included 864 signs and over 1300 mock-ups.

Stations with full navigation

Zorge
Panfilovskaya
Streshnevo
Baltiyskaya
Koptevo
Likhobory
Okruzhnaya
Vladykino
Bulvar Rokossovskogo
Lokomotiv
Izmaylovo
Sokolinaya Gora
Andronovka
Ugreshskaya
Dubrovka
Avtozavodskaya
ZIL
Business Center — transit zone
Shelepikha — underground passageway
Khoroshyovo — pedestrian overpass

artistic director

  • Artemy Lebedev

art director

  • Ludwig Bistronovsky

designers

  • Mark Rodionov
  • Nikita Davydov
  • Irina Ermolaeva
  • Anna Balabas

technical designers

  • Roman Beno
  • Egor Kosolapov

illustrator

  • Pavel Zyumkin

typesetters

  • Yaroslav Bondarenko
  • Marina Vorobieva
  • Regina Krupnova

technologist

  • Sergey Nikolaev

editor

  • Anna Potapkina

proofreader

  • Ilya Krokhin

translator

  • Tatiana Kozlova

project managers

  • Veronika Yankovskaya
  • Alla Bryuzgina
  • The studio wishes to thank Pavel Isupov for his help with the project
Made in 91 days