The Marshrutka Video Quest

Project Details

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Project Dates: project ended

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A group of travel guides from Lancaster have arrived in Volgograd just as the city is starting to prepare for 700,000 extra visitors during the 2018 Football World Cup. With Lancaster one of the top UK Utopia football teams, their question is: How would visitors use marshrutka to get to the games?

Marshrutka’ zoom up and down Universitetskyi Prospect in Volgograd. The battered vans adapted for passenger transport form a system of flexible semi-informal public transport, critical to the lives of many in this 100km long city stretching out along the Volga.

Marshrutkas travel along a (more or less) fixed route, with (more or less) flexible stops, and (more or less) flexible prices. They may alter the route if stuck in a traffic jam, they may charge different rates depending on the distance, the time of day, and the driver.

For the uninitiated, marshrutka travel is full of uncertainties passengers must interact to request stops, to ask about routes and fares, to find a seat quickly, to pass fares to the driver, and to hand change back along the seats. Interaction is complex, with the driver often complaining ‘I’m not an octopus!’ as he joins the traffic and twists his arm backwards to return change to the outstretched hand of a passenger behind him.

The experiment takes the form of a video quest, where the travel guides use the marshrutka system and encounter moments of uncertainty. They must make choices to continue their journey. As they experiment with the marshrutka system, their task is to find the key to guide Lancaster’s football fans through Volgograd city planners’ utopia of a modern transport system fit for the 2018 World Cup fit for the real living culture of Volgograd.

Image Credits: FIFA