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 photo of an encampment of homeless people outside Minneapolis,
    Equity

    Why Minneapolis Just Made Zoning History

    The ambitious Minneapolis 2040 plan will encourage more dense housing development in single-family neighborhoods.

  2. The opulent anteroom to a ladies' restroom at the Ohio Theatre, a 1928 movie palace in Columbus, Ohio.
    Design

    The Glamorous, Sexist History of the Women’s Restroom Lounge

    Separate areas with sofas, vanities, and even writing tables used to put the “rest” in women’s restrooms. Why were these spaces built, and why did they vanish?

  3. A photo of skyscrapers in Nashville.
    Equity

    The Big Stakes in a Fight Over a Little Park in Nashville

    Church Street Park is a small downtown space known to draw people experiencing homelessness. Now it’s slated to be replaced with a condo tower.

  4. A screenshot of Cambridge University’s map of murders in medieval London.
    Maps

    Mapping the Gruesome Murders of Medieval London

    Using coroners’ records from the 1300s, Cambridge researchers reveal what violence looked like in a dangerous city with little law enforcement.

  5. Tesla vehicles sit in a parking lot in California.
    Transportation

    America’s Power Grid Isn’t Ready for Electric Cars

    The challenge isn’t just about how much energy electric vehicles will need. A more important question is when they’ll need it.