Urbanloop station - Computer graphics

Sustainable transport: Keolis teams up with Urbanloop rail capsules

Urbanloop station - Computer graphics
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PostedMAY. 21, 2024
Words byKeolis
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The Urbanloop project uses individual rail capsules for high-performance sustainable transport. This university project backed by Keolis and other partners will be tested for the first time during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. It has the potential to revolutionize the future of urban mobility.

Context: Rethinking urban mobility to avoid road congestion

Efforts to reduce private car use in cities are prompting the search for new mobility solutions. Between public and individual transport, companies and universities are working on low-carbon solutions to meet the challenge of the ecological transition.

Innovation: Urbanloop, versatile and sustainable transport for cities

Urbanloop consists of autonomous capsules designed for one or two people, which operate on rail tracks around buildings, city blocks or neighborhoods. These journeys form loops and include “branch stations,” as well as parallel lanes for passengers to get on or off. Similar to a freeway, this setup allows passengers to stop at their destination without disrupting others’ journeys. The capsules at the station then become available for subsequent passengers. Although it is public and shared, this mode of sustainable transportfeels very similar to a personal vehicle: it’s like a “mini-metro” with an average speed of 30 km/h and a top speed of 50 km/h. 


Urbanloop offers multiple cabins, reversing the usual concept of public transport: now, it is no longer the passenger who waits for the vehicle, but rather it’s the vehicle that waits for the passenger. With no waiting time, no stops and no connections, urban mobility becomes as smooth as it is reliable.


With a minimal land footprint – just the width of a sidewalk for a single lane and half a street for a double lane – there can still be room for greenways. This way, Urbanloop can coexist with other forms of soft mobility, such as walking or cycling. Urbanloop is versatile as well: it can be deployed in semi-urban areas or on unused SNCF railroad lines. Capsules can also be used for other functions, such as carrying packages or household waste.


In Nancy, France, one hectare is currently dedicated to testing two loops of 400m and 800m, where one capsule achieved the world record for lowest energy consumption per kilometer in May 2021.

Eric Calle

Eric Calle

Innovation & Industrialization Director

"The Urbanloop project, to which we are contributing our operating know-how, opens up new horizons for mobility. Experimenting with this innovative sustainable mode of transport is an opportunity to introduce our passengers to a different mobility solution that could then be offered to new transport networks."
Two passengers in a moving Urbanloop capsule

Paris 2024 Olympics: testing in real-life conditions

During the Paris 2024 Olympics, the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines agglomeration, which will be hosting five Olympic venues, will be the first to test Urbanloop. The tests will begin at the end of May, starting without passengers and then progressing to normal and emergency situations. Service will begin once the public authorities give their approval.


“Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Terre d'innovation,” a partner in the project with Keolis, will provide the land and infrastructure, and Keolis is deeply involved in deploying and operating Urbanloop. The Group is training staff to handle station openings and closings, power management, infrastructure upkeep (e.g., ensuring there is no waste on the tracks) and capsule maintenance right from the start of the trials.


During the Paris 2024 Olympics, there will be hospitality staff available to guide passengers in how to use this new mode of transport as well as remote supervision will be from Paris. If a passenger encounters an issue, an operator can respond and fix the problem remotely, sending a field agent only if necessary, similar to elevator maintenance.

Three passengers and a stroller in an Urbanloop capsule
Three passengers and a stroller in an Urbanloop capsule


An Urbanloop prototype will be presented during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.


capsules will circulate in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.


adults can travel in a capsule at one time. Or: 1 adult and 1 bicycle, 1 adult with reduced mobility, 1 adult and luggage or 1 adult and 2 children.



A 2 km track will link the Île-de-Loisirs in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to a fan zone.


stations will be served: the equestrian center and the Relais des Canardières accommodation area.


The system will be available free of charge all week long.


people per hour: the maximum output expected from Urbanloop.

The partners involved in the project

Urbanloop originated from a project led by Jean-Philippe Mangeot, a computer science and industrial networks professor, with his students at the University of Nancy. Other institutions like the École des Mines de Nancy quickly joined. Keolis supported and advised Urbanloop's engineers on defining the service, operation, safety and maintenance aspects.


As Jean-Philippe Mangeot explains: “Since the start of the project in 2021, Keolis set up expert workshops on specific issues such as defining the service offer or exporting maintenance and security to the operator. Through this partnership, we were able to develop a prototype for the Paris 2024 Olympics. We hope that this international showcase will spark new interest beyond our borders and enable other Urbanlooprollouts.”


Several shareholders have joined the project, including the University of Lorraine, the Greater Nancy metropolitan area and the Grand Est region.

Jean-Philippe Mangeot
Jean-Philippe Mangeot
Urbanloop team

Next steps: rolling out Urbanloop across the region

After the Paris 2024 Olympics, Urbanloop will continue real-life testing in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines for 17 months. This will enable the concept to be verified and improved before it is scaled up. The Greater Nancy metropolitan area has already expressed interest. In early 2027, a 7 km loop will carry 40 capsules around the city. 


Urbanloop is particularly suited to serving outlying and suburban areas, so studies are underway with local authorities to connect industrial zones and business parks. 


Finally, international expansion is planned in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. 


Urbanloop promises safe, sustainable transport that is set to revolutionize urban mobility!

Urbanloop capsule interior view - Computer graphics
Urbanloop capsule interior view - Computer graphics
Urbanloop project for Greater Nancy - Computer graphics

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