The city of Lyon in France is constantly evolving and moving towards becoming an innovative, sustainable and vibrant smart city.  Lyon Métropole is working along with local stakeholders and residents to provide leverage for innovation and creative force in the metropolitan area to meet: urban challenges, support new urban practices and create a Lyon lifestyle. By transforming the Lyon into a smart city, the local government’s final goal is to create economic, social and societal value for the city and its inhabitants.

Innovation in Lyon

The dynamic of the city of Lyon embraces growth and innovation. The city of Lyon has a long history with great innovations in the field of science, art, and creation. As this city has always embraced innovation, it is not a surprise that the city continued to develop research centers and scientific clusters, cutting edge of life sciences, green tech and ultimately digital technology. This continuous innovation has made the city of Lyon the 1st smart city in France and the 2nd digital cluster in France.

The Lyon Smart City project started over 10 years ago, the first step in the smart city journey was the partnership with large firms. The foundation stone for this city in the smart city journey was the rollout of the bicycles self-service Vélo’v. The introduction of this service was groundbreaking as regards of the self-service bicycle idea. To introduce this service, the city partnered up with the advertising firm JCDecaux. Later on, the innovation in the city started other projects in energy renovation for older buildings and projects related to transportation around the Lyon area.

Smart City Projects in Lyon

To make the city smarter, local government is participating in different smart city projects. Ultimately, the idea is that each of the products contributes to the smart city vision of the city’s Mayor Gérard Collomb.

The city’s Mayor has already invested in smart power grids and smart mobility projects. These projects were created to enabled the 1.3 million inhabitants of the Lyon agglomeration to live in a real smart city. The city of Lyon is currently working on 40 major experiments in partnership with over 100 diverse public and private partners. The city’s smart city projects focus on the following 4 themes: new mobilities, digital services, energy smart grids and innovation & initiatives.

New Mobilities Smart City Project

Mobility is a very important factor in a city, especially when the expectation is that over 70% of the world population will be living in cities by 2050. Therefore, the city of Lyon perceives mobility in an urban setting as a social, environmental and economic challenge.

This smart city project focusses on responding to both population shifts (density, residential zones, economic centers) and stakeholders’ needs to provide travel structures that are ergonomic. The new mobilities project is composed of several smaller projects that contribute to the bigger picture of the city. Furthermore, the city is also working with several partners to make these projects possible. These are a few of the examples of the projects the smart city projects in Lyon:

Optimod Project

The Optimod project focusses on changing the individual’s relationship with in-city travel by embracing the different methods of transportation. This project involves the use of bicycle, shared electric vehicles, mass transit, etc. Furthermore, the Optimod project functions as a central control system for mobility forecasting. This system makes use of three original components: an integrated approach to passenger urban freight transport, service development based on ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) and private-sector partnerships to develop an innovation-focused policy.

The aim of the Optimod project is to collect, centralize and process the whole urban mobility data on a unique platform. This enables the creation of an innovative service that facilitates the traveling and life of all its users. Furthermore, this project also enables the reduction of the share of private car use. This comes due to the credible alternatives offered which help to facilitate urban travels of both individuals and freight professionals.

Navya Project

One of the projects launched by the city of Lyon is the Navya project. This is a totally autonomous and electric shuttle service. The free shuttle service offered by the city is a driverless bus. The city of Lyon introduced this city in partnership with the French Agency for Environment and Energy and the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy. The service itself is called Navly. The Navly features a 1,350-meter route that consists of 5 stops around the neighborhood Confluence. This neighborhood was previously an industrial area but is currently being urbanized.

The can each hold 15 people and run autonomously. For now, the shuttles still have a human operator on board. However, the shuttles do not have any pedals or steering wheels. The autonomous equipment of each of the shuttles includes LiDAR, stereo vision cameras, GPS and motion sensors to prevent running into pedestrians. The maximum speed of the shuttles is of 45km p/hour. The current route of the shuttles does not have any intersections, crosswalks or stoplights. Therefore, the likelihood of an accident is relatively low.


The Sunmoov project is a car sharing service that makes use of solar energy. This project was a partnership between Transdevwhich is a mobility solution company, Proxiway a company specialized in car sharing and the Toshiba group. This project will use carbon-neutral energy and charge stations. The renewable energy for charging the cars is supplied by the Compagnie Nationale du RhĂ´ne and from the solar panels installed on buildings in the Confluence district. The Sunmoov project uses 30 shared vehicles, 6 stations, 33 charging stations of which 3 are for a quick charge. With this project, the local government aims to stimulate the sharing economy.


The city of Lyon is a great example of a city that is implementing the use of technologies and different projects to improve the quality of life in the city. The above-mentioned projects are just a few examples of the examples that are currently taking place in the city. The city of Lyon has clearly set its goal to become a smart city. The local government divided its projects into different categories and each of them aims to work towards the end goal of the view for this city.