A project to provide a set of nationally and internationally oriented platforms dedicated to innovation in the area of mobility in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region

Set up under impetus from the LUTB competitiveness cluster (of which IFSTTAR was a founding member) that has now become CARA, the Transpolis project is a response to a twofold need: consolidating and sharing existing test facilities owned by the partners that make up the CARA cluster, and meeting new requirements by creating additional test facilities. It consists of creating a new platform at Fromentaux (in the Département of Ain), which is due to be completed at the end of 2018, to join the existing one belonging to Renault Trucks at La Valbonne (in the same Département). This will bring together and extend the current test facilities for the transport sector at Saint-Exupéry airport, which we are forced to relinquish. The aim of the new platform is to facilitate the implementation of the demonstrators required in order to deploy innovations generated by R&D projects under a controlled environment an indispensable stage in order to move on more rapidly to deployment in real situations (living labs).

The platform will open before the end of 2018, after a 10-year period when needs were expressed, the project components were specified, and the financial, legal and technical arrangements for the entire project were settled. The site contains two experimental zones. The first is known as “I4C-M” (an abbreviation of “IFSTTAR Innovation for City Move”) and will focus on security and safety as well as urban systems. The second is known as “TEC” (an abbreviation of “Transpolis Engineering Centre”), and will investigate issues relating to architecture and comfort, ITS equipment and connectivity and will bring together offices, workshops and laboratories. The Transpolis project, as we have already seen, also includes the Renault-Trucks test centre in La Valbonne. This will investigate issues to do with reliability and functionality. It targets an open community of users, firms, in particular SMEs, and the outcomes of this project will be exploited by an independent entity, the simplified public limited company “Transpolis SAS” which will allow its users to successfully carry through R&D and innovation projects.  The ultimate aim of this set of platforms is to create a group of infrastructures that complement one another in the areas of roads, energy, ITS, telecommunications and connectivity, robotisation and advanced instrumentation and develop scenarios for implementing the demonstrators required in order to deploy innovations from the R&D projects of the CARA cluster partners, players from the public or private sectors, and, more broadly, the community of mobility stakeholders. The following topics will be explored:

  • Transport systems in the interconnected city: making secure and optimising every interaction between urban networks
  • Sharing the urban space: integrating transport systems within the urban road system, manoeuvrability, allocating roadspace, guided systems, etc.
  • The attractiveness, safety and security of the systems themselves (including user comfort)
  • Optimising systems with regard to environmental concerns: clean and energy efficient systems and vehicles (appraisal of the relevant public policies)
  • Innovative transport systems (new systems and new vehicles) and new facilities
  • Specific uses of the inclusive city (specific transport systems and facilities, and problems of physical, economic and cognitive accessibility faced by PRMs [1] and vulnerable passengers)
  • Stakeholder competitiveness: the project has been awarded the shared innovation platform label (PFMI), and its utility has been recognised as a means of converting technological and societal innovations into innovative products and solutions.
  • The Transpolis project has a budget of €18M. It receives its funding from the State via the DGE[2] and the DRRT, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, the Département of Ain and the Community of Municipalities of the Plaine de l’Ain, the metropolis of Lyon and private partners (major groups, mid-caps and SMEs). The project is supported by slightly under 45 public and private sector partners.


[1] PMR: Person of Reduced Mobility

[2] DGE: General Directorate for Firms, answering to the Ministry of the Economy and Finance