Opticities: official launch of the smart urban mobility European project in Lyon in December 2013

4 December 2013

Opticities, the European project dedicated to smart urban mobility, was officially launched in Lyon, on Monday 2 December 2013, with the signing of the partner charter.

Using the 1st results from Optimod'Lyon, Opticities is aimed at making urban travel in Europe as good an experience as possible and at optimising urban logistics. To do this, Opticities aims to develop and test interworking ITS services which may be provided to any conurbation in Europe.

Through its active cooperation between the partner cities service providers, manufacturers, research laboratories and the largest European mobility networks, Opticities intends to play its part in the leap in technology that tomorrow’s cities will enjoy in terms of mobility and the digital economy.

The creation of the European project Opticities

As part of the European strategy for the Lyon conurbation and following on from the initial results of Optimod'Lyon, Greater Lyon responded in 2012 along with 5 other European cities, industrial and academic partners, to a call for projects from the European Commission as part of its 7th research and development program (the so called FP7). The principal networks of European and global partners in mobility are also actively involved in this project.

The proposed European project, which was given the name Opticities, was preselected on 21 February 2013 by a panel of independent experts and the departments of the European Commission; the negotiation phase was successfully completed at the end of July 2013.

Amid intense competition between the European conurbations, the fact that the Opticities project was chosen from among something like 10 proposals (so potentially 50 other cities), with a technical merit score of 14.5/15, is a sign of just how influential the Lyon conurbation is on the European stage.

The objectives of the Opticities European project

The objectives of the Opticities European project are ambitious:

  • new plans for meaningful public-private cooperation focussing on access to quality public and private mobility data;
  • the development of European standards for accessing information services on travel for whatever city one happens to be in;
  • systems for optimisation traffic management using real time and predictive data;
  • a real-time multimodal navigator which communicates with the GPS systems used in cars;
  • a navigator for the transport of goods in the city, using new data sources which can be used in different cities.

Greater Lyon, the leader for a new European project dedicated to smart urban mobility

The Opticities European project which is coordinated by Greater Lyon has a total budget of 13 million Euros and will run for 3 years (November 2013 to October 2016).

As of 2014, for Greater Lyon itself, Opticities will make it possible to build on the results of Optimod'Lyon, notably in respect of the multimodal information systems in vehicles, efficient car-sharing and traffic light regulation systems:

  • standardization of the systems so that multimodal navigators can be used in the European cities which are partners to the project;
  • continuity of service service for the user between the car and his/her smartphone by developing the communication between the Optimod'Lyon multimodal navigator and the GPS systems provided on-board by carmakers (Renault, Peugeot, and the Vedecom institute);
  • incorporation of the 1 hour ahead traffic prediction system developed with Optimod'Lyon as part of the "CRITER" traffic management system, in order to regulate the management of traffic light controlled crossroads as a result. This work will be carried out in conjunction with the company SPIE, based in Feyzin, which is the leader in France in this field. What’s more, Birmingham will be doing the same with its traffic management system as part of the project;
  • development with Renault Trucks of a navigator for urban logistics which will allow people who use the road network for their job to have access to enhanced information in respect of traffic regulations (speed limit, maximum height, unusual goods transportation, weights allowed, etc.) in the project partner cities.

Financing of the Opticities project

The project enjoys major European Union finance, to the tune of 9 million euros, with the partners also contributing their share to the 13 million Euros that the project costs.

A financing agreement has been reached between the European Commission and Greater Lyon, which is the project leader, as well as consortium agreement between the local authority and the 24 other project partners.

The Opticities consortium

The Opticities project brings together 25 partners from 8 European Union countries:

  • 6 cities (supported on a case by case basis by affiliated organisations):
    • Greater Lyon (project leader),
    • Birmingham City Council (United Kingdom),
    • City of Gothenburg (Sweden),
    • City of Turin (Italy),
    • City of Madrid (Spain) and the regional Madrid transport Consortium (CRTM),
    • City of Wroclaw (Poland);
  • 5 research academies:
    • Polytechnic University of Madrid,
    • Turin Polytechnic,
    • University of Chalmers (Gothenburg),
    • University of Lyon II / CNRS,
    • VeDeCoM (new Institute for energy transition for the Investment plan for the future);
  • 9 manufacturing and service companies:
    • Volvo (the leading truck supplier in Europe),
    • SPIE (European leader in transport systems),
    • CityWay (leader in France for mobility information systems),
    • Hacon (leader in computer based mobility solutions such as CityWay but in Germany),
    • ICCA Spanish (SME which develops ITS solutions),
    • Neurosoft (leader in artificial intelligence in Poland),
    • 5T (opérateur ITS operator in the Piedmont region),
    • Renault and PSA (members of the VeDeCoM Institute);
  • 2 experts:
    • Algoé (Lyon based consultancy with expertise in the field of transport and innovative projects),
    • Berends Consult (expert in ITS projects);
  • 3 networks:
    • Eurocities (1st European network for cities, linking up the major European cities),
    • UITP (the global network for public transport operators),
    • ERTICO / ITS Europe (one of the three global associations for ITS with ITS America and ITS Asia),

LUTB Transport & Mobility Systems (competitiveness cluster for mass public and goods transport in urban areas) is an associated partner of the Opticities project.

Find out more

So, during the three years of the project, each city, assisted by the 19 other partners will try out the new transport technology (ITS) to improve its urban mobility.

The networks and associations which are partnering the project will make it possible to give extensive publicity to the results of the project.

This project, once its results are put to use, will enable service operators, to build systems which can be used in different cities which in turn will be able to benefit from the savings generated.