Mayor Sergei Sobyanin: The Moscow Metro is rightfully considered one of the world’s safest

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin: The Moscow Metro is rightfully considered one of the world’s safest
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
A centralised emergency control system will speed up the response time of Metro employees tenfold.

The Moscow Metro Transport Safety Management Centre has opened near the Seligerskaya Station, which is being constructed as part of the Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya Line. The new centre occupies the building that once housed the Yerevan Cinema on Dmitrovskoye Motorway.

“The Moscow Metro is rightfully considered one of the safest in the world. Still, it’s important not to grow complacent. We are always encountering new challenges, so we are introducing new measures in the metro that include inspection areas, new cameras and a smart video monitoring system. In addition, more staff is being hired to ensure safety and security. Today, we are launching a safety and security centre, where all the technology is integrated to boost its efficiency and improve response times,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.

According to the Mayor, a comprehensive security upgrade, which has been ongoing over the last few years, has led to a significant decrease in the number of administrative and criminal violations in the metro.

“We have studied crime statistics in the metro for 2015–2016 and for the period before the new measures were introduced, and we’ve seen a 20 percent reduction in the total number of violations starting right after the inspection areas were set up,” Moscow Metro Safety and Security Chief Andrei Kichigin said.

A data feed from over 17,000 cameras is transmitted to the centre. The new centre increases response times by a factor of ten.

Cameras on the Moscow Central Circle are also included in the system.

“In addition to the transport safety centre, this year the building will house a unified metro traffic control centre. The Metro has no such centre as of now,” the Mayor said, stressing that the centre will be one of the most modern of its kind.

Video monitoring and inspection areas

The Moscow Government is systematically implementing a comprehensive transport safety programme, which was designed to fulfil the relevant federal law. The Moscow Metro is key to the programme, as it is the largest transport system of the city.

The number of metro safety and security employees has increased considerably in recent years. Today, there are 10,567 employees on duty in the metro, including 4,605 metro workers, 400 employees of the Travel Organiser authority and 5,562 police officers.

Emergency call points are installed at the stations, and inspection areas with specialised equipment for the detection of prohibited items and substances are set up at entrance halls. In 2016 alone, 50 million riders and 22 million baggage units were inspected there. A total of 77,700 potentially hazardous items were identified and blocked from being transported.

The metro video monitoring system has over 17,000 cameras, including 5,700 located in entrance halls, 3,900 inside trains, 3,500 at stations, 2,500 in underground passages and metro-adjacent areas, 1,230 at escalators and 500 at depots, substations and ventilation shafts.

A comprehensive approach to safety and security led to a 17 percent decrease in the number of crimes in the metro last year compared to 2015 (from 2,120 to 1,750). The number of administrative violation fell 21 percent from 76,800 in 2015 to 60,000 a year later.

Smart cameras: threat detection and immediate response

In 2016, the Moscow Metro launched another major project aimed to ensure transport safety: a new generation system of smart video monitoring.

There are two types of cameras being installed in the metro. The first are IP cameras for situational and general surveillance. The second employ machine vision to detect a potentially dangerous situation. They can automatically identify crowds, unusual movements in the opposite direction, violations of public order such as brawls, fights and so on, abandoned belongings, people entering restricted areas and other violations.

Employees at the Moscow Metro Transport Safety Management Centre will collect the data and analyse it. A data processing centre with an 11 petabyte storage capacity was set up to store the video feed. The data will be kept for 30 days.

The centralised safety system will decrease emergency response times by a factor of 10 compared to the usual procedures.