Lyon paves the way to sustainable mobility and inclusive urban spaces 

24 April 2024

From 9-11 April 2024, partners from the REALLOCATE project experienced first-hand the ambitious projects deployed in Lyon and the bold approach adopted by the city and metropolis in a series of site visits.  

Let’s walk in their footsteps and follow in their cycling tracks to discover how Lyon is making sustainable mobility and inclusive urban spaces a reality! 

The reclaiming of urban space for children and teenagers 

Since 2020, the city and metropolis have been collaborating on the ambitious school street programme, ‘rues des enfants,’ which aims to make school surroundings safer, greener, and more inclusive. This initiative translates to ‘streets for children’. As of now, the programme has conducted more than 60 interventions in primary and secondary schools, including systematic co-design with students, traffic calming measures, greening solutions, and the reallocation of urban spaces to pedestrians.

Across all interventions, 15,000 children were involved in participatory planning activities, the greening of their school surroundings and the design of frescos and street light shades. 22 sites have been entirely pedestrianised while the rest were transformed into shared zones using traffic calming measures like implementing 20km/h speed limits and the introduction of one-way streets. 

Rue des enfants
School street where a shared space has been created with traffic calming measures and new green spaces copyright: Ville de Lyon

Melissa Bruntlett, Urban Mobility Advocate and Advisor of Modacity, reflects on the visit: “The beauty of the programme? While the execution of each project is different, the overarching vision is consistent: working closely with children to reclaim and reimagine a small piece of their city—keeping cars at a distance and giving them the space to thrive.” 

A bold vision for public spaces 

Another stunning urban transformation has been taking place in the Danton district, a historically car-centred business district. Inspired by Barcelona’s superblocks, the ‘ilot’ has benefitted from greening solutions, traffic calming measures like the 20km/h speed limit and a circulation plan to reduce ‘through’ traffic.  

The transformation started with the implementation of a school street on rue Léon Jouhaux before turning the main square, in a second phase, into a shared space, putting pedestrians and cyclists at its centre. New trees and greenery have also been planted, making it a more pleasant environment for residents as well as more resilient to climate change using permeable surfaces, planting trees and vegetation to reduce heat islands.  

Super-ilot Danton
Super-ilot Danton Copyright Metropole de Lyon

Not far from the Danton district, the boulevard Garibaldi, a historical 8-lane road dedicated to car traffic, is also undertaking a major transformation. The two first phases of the project, covering 2.6 kilometres of the boulevard, have reduced car traffic to three lanes, created a lane dedicated to public transport, a separated cycling lane and extended pavements for pedestrians while adding trees and greenery. The third phase of the project has just started. It continues this ambitious transformation by reducing car traffic, adding a separate cycle path and bike parking facilities, and extending pavements while removing 110 car parking spaces.  

An ambitious metropolitan-wide cycling network 


Les Voies Lyonnaises
Les Voies Lyonnaises
Copyright Ville de Lyon

The new cycling path on Boulevard Garibaldi will be incorporated in the ‘Voies Lyonnaises’ a high-quality cycle network which aims to provide 250 kilometres of continuous and safe cycle lanes over the territory of the metropole by 2026. 


The cycling paths are 3-4 metres wide, separated from other forms of traffic. The objective is that by 2026, three out of four inhabitants in Lyon will live less than 10 minutes from one of the lanes.  




A forward-looking vision for road safety and parking 

Following a rise in accidents between 2014 and 2019, Lyon adopted a Vision Zero approach regarding road safety. In 2022, it acted very concretely with a 30km/h speed limit policy across the city area. A recent evaluation showed the concrete benefits of the policy: the reduction of road accidents by 35% in the city of Lyon and by 21% in the metropolitan area between 2019 and 2023. 

Implementation of 30km/h speed limit policy
Implementation of 30km/h speed limit policy
Copyright: Metropole de Lyon

Lyon is also pioneering a new tariff policy for parking based on the weight and type of energy used by vehicles rather than location-based rates. The policy includes reduced tariffs for residents in special cases, such as those with low incomes or families with three or more children. The plan also allows for specific tariffs for professionals, such as companies delivering goods or services.  

An inspiring visit to Lyon! 

The REALLOCATE team departed from Lyon truly inspired by the city’s and metropolis’ approach, efforts and ambition in reaching their climate targets while making the city a better place to live for everyone. 

Other REALLOCATE cities are transforming their streets into inclusive, green, safe and future-proof urban spaces, where communities live and thrive. Find out more on the project website.


Justine Gangneux Project Coordinator