Transit workers and passengers share their insights on the growing system in its early years.

Welcome to the latest installation of “Public Access,” where CityLab shares its favorite videos—old and new, serious and nutty—that tell a story about place.

In 1982, Milan’s transit authority wanted to show off its young and expanding Metro system.

The 30-minute-long In Metrò, made by ATM (Azienda Transporti Milanese), shows the budding transit system through the eyes of drivers, control center officials, electricians, board members, and passengers during a nearly 24-hour cycle while Europe’s coolest song of 1982—“Da Da Da” by the minimalist German electropop outfit Trio—plays throughout.

Metropolitana di Milano opened in 1964, starting with its red-branded Line 1, which was designed by Bob Noorda and Franco Albini along with engineer Franca Helg. The three were awarded the Golden Compass Award, Italy’s highest industrial design honor, that same year for the project. Their design principles were used for the green-branded Line 2, which opened five years later.

Towards the end, footage from a board meeting sends a message to viewers that a better system is eventually coming. At the time of In Metrò, Line 3 was still eight years away, Lines 4 and 5 even further, but Milanese straphangers in the film universally praise Metro’s speed, comfort, and safety. An older passenger even proclaims it to be Milan’s best public service.

With nearly every minute detail of the system’s inner workings already put on display, the sun sets as the film closes, a Line 2 train pulls away from the station, and its time for everyone to bob their head to “Da, Da, Da” yet again.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California's Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over unoccupied homes in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  3. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  4. A syringe sits on top of a car. Houses are behind it.
    Life

    The Changing Geography of the Opioid Crisis

    A new study shows that the country faces different opioid challenges in urban and rural areas.

  5. Environment

    The City Known for ‘Sewer Socialists’ Actually Has Great Sewers

    Milwaukee now averages a mere 2.4 combined sewer overflows a year, thanks to a massive underground tunnel, green infrastructure, and flood-control measures.

×