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Metro Line 12

Since its beginnings almost fifty years ago, the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo metro service has dramatically shaped Mexico City’s development, changing the dynamics of public spaces and reconfiguring the distribution of services and industries. The addition of the metro system has fostered a mixture of urban culture that has encouraged citizens of diverse socio-economic backgrounds to coexist within the same urban space. Aligned with other social welfare policies, the metro was conceived and presented, not only as a socially progressive and efficient solution for massive urban transportation, but also as a way of testing and implementing the latest in Mexican civil engineering. Local engineers at the time had been experienced in challenges posed by the adverse geographical conditions of the Valley of Mexico, which is comprised of wetlands, crossing geological fault lines and flooding. The project was a major bid for the nation’s scientists, one that would enforce the idea of a progressive city on its way to modernization.

Over the decades, it has become a seminal part of daily life for millions of Mexican citizens. The system transports an average of 5 million people everyday, radically transforming the city’s perception of distances and commuting times. It has altered the dimensions of neighborhoods, the limits of the city as a whole and the general experience of mobility within a highly dense urban territory. The design of its signage was developed by Arturo Quiñónez, Francisco Gallardo and Lance Wyman—the latter was also in charge of designing the identity of the 1968 Olympic Games that took place in Mexico City. It’s simple and abstract iconography represents the fluid and interconnected ways of moving through the city. The icons make allusion to local historical references particular to their area and communicate the city’s history by connecting it with its modern transport infrastructure.

Since the creation of the first subway line, the metro system has been adapted and extended several times. Today, it includes 12 lines, 195 stations and more than 200 km of route coverage. Line 12, known as the Gold Line/Bicentennial Line was inaugurated in 2012 and is currently the most recent extension of the metro system. Since its public proposal in 2007, this project has intended to solve the urgent issue of connecting the eastern suburbs of the city with a sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation solution. In contrast to the construction of freeways and other car-based infrastructures that have proven to be wasteful and inefficient alternatives to mobility, the design and construction of this Line 12 aimed to address issues other than those of displacement, including that of water scarcity, reduction of CO2 emissions, and resilience to natural disasters. The local government of Mexico City commissioned a public consultation encouraging citizens to participate in the design process for the urban integration of the metro line and its stations. The creative process of Line 12 thus represents a collaboration between Mexico City’s citizens, urban designers and public policy agents and is emblematic of a contemporary vision of the city.

Project name Metro System - Line 12
Period 2012
Author Sistema de Transporte Colectivo
Location South of the city