By Maksim Liksutov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport and the Head of the Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development, the City of Moscow

City Voices is a new Urban Mobility Weekly initiative highlighting the work that our city partners are doing to improve and advance the mobility landscape for their citizens. Talking with key city officials, the series will focus on how urban communities are overcoming challenges, finding solutions, and seizing the opportunities to render mobility more sustainable, accessible, intelligent, and inclusive.

The transportation system of Moscow, Russia’s capital and largest city, faces daily challenges to move more than 18.5 million people (pre-pandemic) quickly and safely. To achieve this, the city needs constant investment in infrastructure, new services, and intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

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In the realm of infrastructure and large-scale investments, Moscow has continued to invest heavily in and improve its suburban train (Moscow Central Diameters – MCD) and metro network. By the end of 2021, 7 – 8 subway stations and 12 suburban train stations are planned to be built. Regarding new transport services, Moscow recently launched two new night bus lines, N12 and N13, designed entirely by citizens. More than 100 pedestrian lanes, 10 bicycle parking lots, and two bike sharing stations were also inaugurated. But it is in ITS solutions that Moscow has truly excelled in recent years.

There are few card payment methods in the world that have a level of technology and sophistication similar to the Troika smart card system. In 2013, the Troika card was just a basic transportation card, similar to its international equivalents. Today it is the most modern in the world: it covers 9 operators, it can be reloaded remotely or contactless through a terminal, it is personalized, and bonuses are given to the passenger for its use. From the Troika card, an entire payment ecosystem was created and in 2020 and 2021, it won the Transport Ticketing Global Award for Best Smart Ticketing Program.

Since its launch, 36 million cards have been issued and more than 90% of trips in Moscow are made using this innovative payment system. In addition to a 40% reduction in ticket office queues, the Troika smart card has been responsible for a 6-fold reduction in paper ticketing! Gradually, the Troika smart card is becoming the main element of the mobility system throughout Russia, adding an extra layer of convenience for all Russian citizens. The Troika card, through its application in multiple regions, makes it possible to improve the nation’s entire public transportation system.

In the near future, passengers will be able to transfer their Troika smart card to their phones. And in 2021, Moscow is launching the pilot version of a Face Pay payment system for passengers in all metro stations. Passengers will no longer need a card or a phone to pass through the turnstile or pay at the ticket office – they will simply look at the camera installed in the turnstile.

Along the lines of these major innovation and ITS trends, Moscow plans to launch the first stage of a mobile application based on the concept of Mobility-as-a-Service, or MaaS, by the end of the year. Cab, car sharing, bicycle, and scooter operators will be connected to the application. In addition to these operators, the On My Way transport-on-demand service will be part of the MaaS application. Passengers will be able to request a bus, via the app, that will arrive within 30 minutes in the vicinity of where the request was made. Next year, these services will gradually extend to electric boats, where passengers will have the option to choose from 2 routes. Water transport, like all other public transport in Moscow, will also be part of the MaaS system.

Passengers will no longer need to install several different apps – one for maps, one for a navigator showing traffic jams, another for bus timetables, etc. – all transportation functions will be united and intuitively presented on a single app. Users will be able to plan a trip in the app according to their preferences; More convenient, faster, or cheaper, the user will be able to choose and combine the different modes of public transportation he or she prefers.

Constant improvement of ITS by monitoring the functioning of Moscow’s transport system and observing and adapting best practices from other major metropolises such as Vienna, London, Dubai, and Berlin, have enabled our capital to remain at the top of the world ranking for ticketing, MaaS, and ITS solutions. Together with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), Moscow launched the CityTransitData service, which allows a user to find and compare transport information in different metropolitan areas. Thanks to the service, it is possible to access an up-to-date database with many public transport indicators around the world, compare and evaluate foreign practices, as well as remain informed as to the latest transport trends.

The application under development, based on the principles of MaaS, unites all means of transport to offer a higher quality mobility system that better meets passengers’ needs. The Troika smart card, on the other hand, is a single operator with a flexible payment system, which more easily facilitates transfers and enables the elimination of borders between transport modes. In a world where everyone is in a hurry, we in the city of Moscow value the need to offer fast and easy-to-use services for a better passenger experience. Together, the primary goal of the two solutions is to make the Russian capital’s transportation system as smart, safe, comfortable, and fast as possible.