City Snapshot: Mobility in Moscow

After the successful launch of the Moscow Central Diameters metro network, Maksim Liksutov, Head of the Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development, explains how the city is planning to further develop its transportation network in the future. 

City Snapshot: Mobility in Moscow

What is the current state of the transport system in Moscow?

Transport in Moscow has been developing at a tremendous pace in recent years. Transport today is certainly very different to what it was 10 years ago. One of the goals of our current transport system is to balance the interests of Moscow residents as much as possible in the real-world metropolis. Everyone should move around comfortably and quickly – whether that is motorists, public transport passengers, pedestrians or cyclists.

Our projects to develop urban transport have seen an increase in efficiency. In 2019, 5.7 billion trips were made by public transport in Moscow. Today, we have the largest fleet of land transport in Europe – more than 11,000 buses, trams and electric buses, which serve more than 1,000 routes.

The Moscow Metro has grown significantly – currently consisting of 766km of tracks and 326 stations. The metro does not only consist of underground lines; it includes the Moscow Central Circle and the Moscow Central Diameters (MCD).

One of the goals of our current transport system is to balance the interests of Moscow residents as much as possible in the real-world metropolis

Since 2011, more than 80 new metro and the Moscow Central Circle (MCC) stations have been opened, and the Moscow Central Diameters have been launched. The bus fleet has been 100 per cent updated, the tram fleet – 70 per cent, and the metro – 57 per cent. In addition, since 2011, 900km of new roads have been built and Moscow has created the world’s largest intelligent traffic management system. A 54km ring railway line – the MCC – was built, and the Large Circle Line is under construction. There are electric buses, of which 300 are already in service — more than in any city in Russia and Europe.

Moreover, there is the largest car-sharing park in the world in Moscow (30,000 shared cars) and a bicycle rental network that has grown dramatically in five years to 5,300 bicycles.

The average travel time from the Moscow Ring Road to the center has reduced by 20 minutes compared to 2010. At the same time, the number of registered cars in the Moscow transport hub has increased by 40 per cent – up to 8 million, since 2010. With our traffic intensity, we are the safest city in Russia – social risk has decreased two times since 2000. Today, there is a road mortality rate of 3.6 per 100,000 people – at the level of European countries. Our city takes the reduction of road deaths very seriously and as such, this is a priority for the Moscow Government.

For example, in the McKinsey benchmark in 2018 (a global research organisation), Moscow took sixth place among 24 cities in the world, improving its position by 14 points over the past seven years. The study placed Moscow near cities such as Madrid, London, Chicago, Seoul and Hong Kong, evaluating the transport systems of these megacities in terms of their impact on quality of life. According to 2010 figures, Moscow would have taken twentieth place in a similar rating. However, thanks to the changes made, the transport system of the capital is one of the best in the world.

How did the launch of the first two Moscow Central Diameters improve transport in Moscow?

The MCD are railway routes connecting and running through the whole of Moscow – from the nearest cities of one part of the Moscow region to the cities of another. The goal of the MCD project is to ensure that trains that used to reach the central stations and stop there become essentially a ground metro, and now travel through the entire city and are as integrated as much as possible with the existing transport infrastructure. Similar projects, where rail transport is used with such potential, are realised in Paris, Berlin and Singapore for instance.

Today, our metropolitan area has 20 million residents, and passengers now have far greater options to build their route

We have new interchanges and common fares, which are used across the whole Moscow Metro system. On the Diameters, all the same types of tickets are recorded on the Troika transport smart card and all interchanges between the MCD, the Moscow Metro and the Moscow Central Circle are free.

In total, the MCD project provides for the opening of five diameters. As a result, about 6.9 million Moscow residents and 5.5 million Moscow region residents will have access to improved transport services. The first two diameters, which were launched on 21 November 2019, include 132km of tracks and 57 stations, at 19 of which you can interchange to the metro, the Moscow Central Circle and the radial directions of the Moscow Railway.

The opening of all five MCDs will reduce the load on the city transport infrastructure by 10-12 per cent. We also anticipate a decrease in the number of residents travelling to Moscow daily by private transport.

Moscow metro

How are the MCD integrated into Moscow’s transport system and connected with other public transport modes?

The main advantages of the MCD project are fare integration, elimination of the daily operation intermission and a clock schedule of movement throughout the day. As previously mentioned, the interchanges between the MCD and the Moscow Metro and the MCC are free of charge, and we have 19 interchanges to the metro and the MCC at the two MCD which are already operational.

In the first months of MCD operation we have managed to unload about 20 metro stations in Moscow. The largest cases (up to 10 per cent) were experienced by stations that were previously often used by passengers as interchanges from metro to rail. Before, passengers arrived specifically at these stations to exit, as it was cheaper than travelling to the center of Moscow and beyond.

The main advantages of the MCD project are fare integration, elimination of the daily operation intermission and a clock schedule of movement throughout the day

Now, people are more actively using the MCD and metro stations in the centre, changing habits and choosing new travel scenarios. Thanks to new travel options, passengers are more evenly using the metro system and the length of trips along the MCD is increasing. As we hoped, the load on some very problematic lines and metro stations has been reduced thanks to the MCD’s integration into the existing transport system. The number of passengers on land transport routes has also increased, as well as the demand for park & ride in the suburbs.

A recent survey conducted at the MCD stations, interchanges in the metro and by phone and SMS, reported approximately 80 per cent of passengers stating they would use the Diameters. The free interchange to the metro and MCC stations, as well as convenient headway, were listed as the key advantages of the MCD by 54 per cent and 47 per cent of respondents respectively.

What difficulties did Moscow face in opening the MCD? How did you solve them, or plan to overcome them?

The passenger flow at the MCD exceeded all our expectations. In the first month, more than 15.5 million trips were made by the MCD-1 and the MCD-2 – 13 per cent more than the passenger flow of these railway directions a month before the MSD’s launch. Due to this increase, the Mayor of Moscow decided to increase the number of cars on both MCDs, so we added an extra one million passenger seats per day.

The MCD is also the launch of a large-scale renewal of the ticketing system, which combines the fares of suburban and urban transport. The first days were spent debugging and working with passengers, who faced the radical changes of the usual fare system.

Now everything is working stably, but we still monitor the functionality of the system daily. Employees of the operator and Moscow Metro work with passengers at the stations explaining the MCD ticket system and helping with fare payment.

What is the future of the MCD?

There are no primary and secondary tasks in this project. We need more stations and there will be more new trains. Gradually, the number of old trains will be reduced and only new rolling stock will operate in these directions. Headway will be reduced thanks to technology which was previously used with the Moscow Central Circle.

As a result, by 2025 we expect to have five Diameters with a total length of 375km and 182 stations – we plan to have an overground metro. If we add construction of new metro stations, then we will have one of the largest metro systems in the world, with a total length of more than 1,000km.

What other projects do you plan to launch in Moscow to support the pace of transport development?

We have begun work on the Moscow transport development plan up to 2023. We are studying world experiences and working with both Russian and foreign experts, but we have decided that Moscow residents should also play an active part in this project.

We want people to tell us what we can do specifically for them. We want to emphasise environmental protection measures in a way that has not been seen in the Transport Complex of Moscow before. In January 2020, we launched a global online collection of ideas and suggestions, sharing and encouraging Moscow residents to decide how Moscow will develop in the future.

These projects prioritise both the economic development of the region, and the convenience, comfort and safety of life and travel for every resident of Moscow. It includes the creation of a large-scale transport framework, including the MCD and the Large Circle Line of the Moscow Metro. In 2020, we plan to launch 9 or 10 new metro stations, which are a part of the Large Circle Line and Line 15. This project will now, and in the future, increase transport connectivity for Moscow and the region.

We plan to update the transport infrastructure. For example, we will repair about 50km of tram tracks and renew 15 metro stations. We will finish the reconstruction of the Northern River Terminal, which is a monumental and beautiful building of the Soviet era. It was almost ruined in the 1990s, but from now on will operate as a pier, and we will restore the park around it to make it a comfortable space for residents.

We will continue to work on the development of a land transport network to increase the availability of the metro and MCD stations and create convenient transport links within districts and with important social facilities

Reducing car emissions and noise in the city is a priority for us. We will develop a network of charging stations for electric vehicles. We have already abolished the tax on them, and we will continue to actively encourage citizens to use them. Moreover, we plan to renew rolling stock, buying only environmentally friendly vehicles.

This year, the Transport Complex will receive another 100 trams, 300 electric buses, more than 440 suburban train cars (including the MCD cars), about 600 metro cars, 1,500 large capacity buses, 1,000 bicycles, 2,000 electric scooters, about 6,500 car sharing vehicles and about 15,000 new taxi cars.

We are planning a project to create an updated ticket system to provide passengers with an improved fare payment service. In the future, physical ticket solutions will ‘disappear’, and we want to get ahead of this process and expand the convenience and capabilities of the ticketing system.


Maksim S. Liksutov is the Deputy Mayor of Moscow in the Government of Moscow, and the Head of the Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development.

In 2007, Liksutov graduated from the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics – now the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In 2005-2008, he was a Board of Directors member of TransGroup LLC. Since 2009, he has held the position of General Director of Aeroexpress LLC. Since April 2011, Liksutov served as an Advisor to the Mayor of Moscow for transport and road infrastructure development of Moscow. In 2012, he graduated from the Non-State Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education International Law Institute, specialising in organisational management.

On 6 December 2011, Liksutov was appointed as the Head of the Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development of Moscow by the Decree of the Mayor of Moscow, and as of 25 September 2012, he was also appointed as Deputy Mayor of Moscow,