Metro – Wayfinding – Accessibility

Questions and Answers


  • How many people work on and this project and who are you exactly?

    These people have been or still are working on the project:

    – Maxim Dubinin (fb) – ideas generator and a little bit of everything

    – Anna Smirnova (fb) – coordination, analytics, infographics, data checks, and some more.

    – Ilya Zverev (osm) – original idea and data collection in Saint-Petersburg

    – Gleb Kanunnikov (fb) – project coordination in Minsk

    – Denis Rykov (twitter) – backend and data collection in Novosibirsk

    – Denis Zenkovich (web), Ivan Kovalev (vk), Victor Ivanov and Constantin Gordeev – web app

    – Dmitry Baryshnikov (gislab), Stas Petriakov (fb) and Nikita Kirin – Android app

    – Max Smirnov (fb) – iOS app

    – Andrey Sidorovich (fb) – wordpress

    – Krzysztof Madejski (fb), Zuzanna Podwińska (fb), Uladzislau Laurychenka (fb), Gleb Kanunnikov (fb), Alina Radačynskaja (fb), Vitaliy Pcholkin (fb) – translations into Polish, Belorussian, Ukranian languages.

    – Anton Podolsky (vk), Artem Svetlov (lj), Ilya Petoushkov (twitter), Olga Yanuk, Evgenia Selezneva (vk), Sergey Leschina (fb), Alex Dezhin (twitter), Dmitry Kolesov (fb) – data collection in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Kazan, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod.

    Also we’ve been very lucky to have support from NGOs and communities across the world.

  • Why have you started this project?

    There are a few reasons for it.
    1. We work a lot on social projects. Prior to this one, we worked on projects connected to orphanages, elections and so on. We consider our business to be a socially responsible one.
    2. We want a fair treatment for all people who have specific needs and we want to make their life a little bit easier. That’s why we have created Metro4All application, which is intended to help all subway users but especially passengers with reduced mobility (wheelchair users, elderly people, parents with baby-strollers, and so on).
    3. We are geospatial and cartography geeks and want to put our knowledge into making subway trips easier and less stressful for everyone. That’s why we have created application and continue working on ultimate navigation app which will make urban public commute much friendlier.

  • Nothing will help disabled people in subway, why are you wasting your time?

    First, it depends very much on the specific subway. Some of them are pretty accessible.
    Secondly, we think that if we can make life of people with reduced mobility at least a little bit easier, this work is worth doing.
    We are far from the thought that it will change everything overnight. We are used to long-term initiatives and will continue to support them as long as possible. In less than 2 years we prepared a comprehensive report on accessibility of Moscow subway, created Subway Accessibility Rating (Metro4All SAR), had our apps officially acknowledged and supported by Kiev Subway, collected data for 14 cities in 7 countries, and it’s only a beginning.

  • I found a bug or want to make a suggestion, or ask a question. What’s the best way to do it?

    You can use the feedback form for it or any other way mentioned at Contact page. Also feel free to send us a message through Google Play or App Store, we love feedback and will get back to you.

Methods and Data Collection

  • Where have you got all the data regarding stations from?

    We have collected all the data regarding stations with our own hands.
    We have visited every subway station and have sketched their layouts manually. We have also measured all infrastructure elements using tape measure and inclinometers. You can read more about our data collection methodology here.

  • Who collected the data?

    All data, except for Kiev subway, were collected by NextGIS employees, interns or contractors. In Kiev data were collected wtih help of Prava Lyudyny volunteers.

  • Can I join your team and help mapping subway station(s) in my city?

    Sure, the success of our project depends very much on the local communities and people willing to support and develop the project in their city. We always need help with collecting and updating our data. Please get in touch and we’ll explain what’s the best way to help. BTW if you already have an idea how exactly you want to help, that’s also great, we’ll be happy to hear it out and discuss our possible cooperation.

Layouts and Exit maps

  • What are layouts for?

    The layout provides the full information about all obstacles (stairs, steep inclines, narrow places) at each station, and if there is infrastructure aimed at avoiding them (elevators, ramps, wheelchair platforms, etc.). Layouts are also helpful at complex stations with a lot of exits and transfers between lines – they help to find the shortest path and avoid losing time.

  • There are lots of strange symbols in your layouts. What is the meaning of them?

    We created symbols system for the layouts ourselves. You can read or download the legend for the layouts here.
    Also we realise that for a lot of people our layouts design can be cumbersome. That’s why we are working presently on making them more comprehensible, including experimenting with 3D technology. Here’s a peek of things to come.

  • Where have you got the numbers of the exits?

    When there’s offical exit numbering at the stations (like at Lubyanka station in Moscow, or Novocherkasskaya station in Saint-Petersburg, or in Novosibirsk) we used it. But for most of the subway systems we mapped so far we had to assign unique entrance/exit numbers ourselves. How we did it and what is the reason for having exit numbers at all – read here.

  • I found a mistake in the layout/map, what’s next?

    Please tell us and we will try to correct it as soon as possible.
    You can use the feedback form for it or any other way mentioned at Contact page.

Use of Applications

  • What’s the difference between wheelchair and stroller settings?

    There are not that many differences yet.
    If you’re on the wheelchair and you set its width, all exits/entrances where turnstiles or doors are narrower then your wheelchair will be highlighted.
    If you are with the stroller and you set distance between its wheels you will also get problematic exits/entrances highlighted. For example, all rails will be checked so that the distance between them will be no less and no more then the distance between wheels of your stroller.
    We are planning to develop more complex accessibility checks for different profiles.

  • Why doesn’t your system recommend me another route based on my limitations?

    In a nutshell, currently calculated route is not dependent on obstacles.
    So far our system is informational, i.e. it shows problems, but not a recommendation one, i.e. it doesn’t show how to avoid those problems.
    We’re going to develop this functionality and integrate subway routing with pedestrian routing and other means of public transport.
    Our first step towards recommendations is highlighting exits/entrances depending on your limitations

  • Other subway routing mobile apps have full schemes of subway systems. Why yours doesn’t?

    Our app was made first and foremost to make it easier navigate inside subway stations, that’s where most of our efforts had been going. Lots of other apps have maps/schemes of subway systems but almost none of them has information we have (for example, which transfer option has fewer obstacles or which subway exit is closer to your destination point). However, we understand why schemes of subway systems are important while navigating the city and plan to add them to all our apps as soon as possible.

  • Why doesn’t your application have instructions for blind or visually impared people?

    Originally our application was not designed specifically for blind or visually impaired people and it’s quite difficult now to redesign it in a way that would allow them to use it comfortably. Nevertheless we had been researching needs of the blind and the visually impaired, and have an understanding of what do they need from the subway navigation app, so developing such an app is definitely in our plans.

  • Why doesn’t your app show which metro stations and routes are accessible with help of metro employees/attendants?

    Metro4All project is not connected in any way to metro administrations and cannot guarantee the provision of their assistance. But for your convenience we collected information about services for disabled passengers from official metro websites and put it here. This information is also present in our Android app.

  • Mobile app keeps crashing on start or tells me that “Data is invalid”. What do I do?

    Sometimes it happens when there was a problem while loading database. Try clearing data:
    Settings -> Applications -> Metro4all -> Clear data
    Make sure you have internet connection and run Metro4All again. The app should start and suggest to download data from scratch.
    Also check if any application on your mobile device (anti-virus or firewall) blocks the access to

  • Your iOS app has very basic functionality compared to Android application. Why is this?

    We started working on iOS app much later that on Android app. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a bit more before we develop it up to the level of Android app.