3D model of an Urbanloop capsule in use
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Sustainable transit: Keolis Nancy, a partner of the Urbanloop light rail pods

3D model of an Urbanloop capsule in use
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PostedJAN. 21, 2022
Words byKeolis, Barcelona, 08019
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Urbanloop is a personal light rail pod aiming to provide efficient and sustainable transit. This university program supported by the Keolis Nancy network in northeast France and other partners may revolutionize urban mobility of the future.

Context: Rethinking urban mobility of the future to limit road congestion  

As cities become more and more congested with personal cars, the need for new mobility solutions is pressing. Businesses and universities are already working on efficient individual transit solutions with low carbon footprints to overcome the challenges linked to the ecological transition. 

Nordine Lazeregue

Head of Developing New Mobilities at Keolis

"The Urbanloop project, which is revolutionary and disruptive in my eyes, opens up the horizon of mobility and will make it possible to reduce the use of cars"
Ubanloop - Parking gare Thiers

Innovation: Urbanloop, a versatile and sustainable transit system for the city  

Behind the name Urbanloop are autonomous pods that can carry one or two passengers on light rail loops around buildings, city blocks or neighborhoods. These loops are interconnected by exchange stations where passengers only stop if it is their destination, thus ensuring a continuous speed throughout their journey.  

This mode of sustainable transit, although public and shared, is similar to a personal vehicle. This ecological "mini-metro" runs on low-voltage rails, which require no heavy infrastructure and also eliminate problems relating to range, recycling and sourcing batteries. Urbanloop can be built above ground, like a tramway; semi-underground with a transparent roof; or completely underground, like a subway.  

Nancy has dedicated a one-hectare area to testing Urbanloop, where it has rolled out two loops of 400 and 800 m, on which a pod achieved the world record for the lowest energy consumption per kilometer in May 2021. 

Jean-Philippe Mangeot

Jean-Philippe Mangeot

Founder of Urbanloop

"We are now aiming to roll out a demonstrator for the 2024 Olympic Games, and we hope that this international showcase will spark new interest beyond our borders."

The partners involved in the project

Urbanloop emerged from a student project led by Jean-Philippe Mangeot, professor of computer science and industrial networks at the University of Nancy. Other institutions such as the École des Mines de Nancy quickly joined the project.  Keolis is taking part in this project by supporting and advising Urbanloop's engineers on defining the service and its operation, as well as the safety and maintenance aspects.

“Keolis and Urbanloop have been working together for two years to integrate the operational dimensions directly into the DNA of this project. In concrete terms, Keolis has set up expert workshops on specific issues such as defining the service offer or exporting maintenance and security to the operator. We are now aiming to roll out a demonstrator for the 2024 Olympic Games, and we hope that this international showcase will spark new interest beyond our borders and enable other Urbanloop rollouts,” explains Jean-Philippe Mangeot, founder of Urbanloop. 

Several shareholders have committed to Urbanloop in order to promote the rollout of this innovative mode of transport, such as the University of Lorraine, the Greater Nancy metropolitan area and the Grand Est region. 

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2024

An Urbanloop demonstrator will be showcased during the Olympic Games in Paris.

Benefits: Improved urban mobility and reduced travel times for residents    

With many pods available, future Urbanloop users will have no wait time and can proceed directly to their destination with no intermediary stops. Simply put, they will save time on their journey. 

Several uses for Urbanloop are conceivable, for example in semi-urban areas or on unused SNCF railroad tracks. Additionally, the pods can be used for other functions, such as carrying packages or household waste. 

“The Urbanloop project, which is revolutionary and disruptive in my eyes, opens up the horizon of mobility and will make it possible to reduce the use of cars. Jean-Philippe Mangeot—who is behind this innovative mode of sustainable transit—and his teams are the real driving forces behind this project,” says Nordine Lazeregue, Head of Developing New Mobilities at Keolis. 

Urbanloop - Nancy Thiers Station

Next steps: continuing to roll out Urbanloop across the region  

The project was selected in the context of the "Mobilities JOP 2024" call for innovations, launched by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and set to be presented at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Urbanloop is thus researching potential routes for the Olympic sites. 

The Greater Nancy metropolitan area has commissioned a study for four potential routes and would thus become the first region to offer Urbanloop pods to passengers.  

Olympic Games Paris 2024 - 3D model - Ephemeral Opera House at the Trocadero
Olympic Games Paris 2024 - 3D model - Ephemeral Opera House at the Trocadero