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With a population of 496,000, Lyon is the third largest city in France. It is situated in the eastern part of the country, close to the Swiss border. The metropolitan area has a population of 2.1 million people. Lyon is the biggest city of the Rhône-Alpes region, one of the most attractive economic areas in Europe. The city has four metro lines, six tram lines and a bus system. Overall, the ranking found Lyon to be particularly active in the promotion of public transport and cycling.

Overall Grade: D 67%

Pie Chart 67
  • Graph Reduction Success Local Emissions
  • Graph Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters
  • Graph Public Procurement Clean Cars
  • Graph Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources
  • Graph Use of Economic Incentives
  • Graph Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split
  • Graph Promotion of Public Transport
  • Graph Promotion of Walking & Cycling
  • Graph Transparency & Communication Policy


Reduction Success Local Emissions

There is no consistent reduction trend concerning daily PM10 exceedances of limit values and only a slight reduction of annual mean PM10 concentrations at the traffic station Sud Lyonnais. PM10 exceedance days increased from 70 to 73 between 2008 and 2012 – after an intermediate high of 95 exceedance days in 2011. At the same time, annual mean values decreased and complied with EU limitations in 2012.

Concentrations of NO2 are far above the annual limit values. Between 2008 and 2012, NO2 concentrations only slightly decreased from 79.2 to 76.7 µg/m³. An intermediate high of 90.9 µg/m³ was monitored in 2010.

Emissions from transport make up a large share of local emissions. In 2012, these were responsible for 70% of NO2 and about 30% of emissions of particulate matter. The Rhône-Alpes region (including Lyon) is subject to an infringement proceeding for not respecting the European ambient air quality legislation due to many exceedances for PM and NOx.

Air Rhône Alpes (Fr.):

Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters

There is no Low Emission Zone (LEZ), as this measure has to be decided at national level. Nevertheless, Lyon is one of eight French cities taking part in an experimental approach for an LEZ called ZAPA: Zone d’Action Prioritaire pour l’Air (Priority Action Zone for Air). A feasibility study on ZAPAs had the result of reducing PM10 by 10% and NO2 by 17% on average. This voluntary initiative was abandoned in December 2012.

The 2008 “Plan de protection de l’atmosphère” (PPA) includes several small measures, like restrictions against most polluting large goods and heavy goods vehicles in the PPA area. According to the revision of the “Plan de Protection de l’Atmosphère de l’agglomération Lyonnaise” of January 2014, NO2 emissions should be reduced by 40% and PM10 by 30% by 2016.

In Lyon, there is no sign the local authorities have taken new steps toward a binding regulation. The only specific measure is a ban on heavy duty vehicles with emissions standards below Euro 5 at the end of the year 2016. This ban will, however, only be activated when there is a persistent breach in air pollution levels. In order to declare a ban both on passenger cars and heavy goods vehicles, there must be a breach of at least a 6 consecutive days of air pollution limits. For light commercial vehicles, bans are being discussed in relation to the progress and impacts of other measures.

Public Procurement Clean Cars

No information could be retrieved about the public transport and municipal vehicle fleets and their emissions standards. In the last ranking in 2011, the city reported a very low share of 12.6% that either was equipped with particle filters or met minimum Euro IV standards.

Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources

Non-road mobile machinery is a national responsibility, meaning that Lyon does not have measures in place. In the revised PPA from January 2014, they have given some information on the city’s future road map on this matter. An emission reduction target of 10% in the construction sector has been developed. To achieve this target, a guide on clean construction sites was published and must be respected by companies working on public construction sites. An obligation to use filters for machinery has not yet been considered.

Further investigations to quantify the effects of construction sites have been announced.

Use of Economic Incentives

There is no congestion charging system or urban toll, although a feasibility study on congestion charging and environmental road pricing was called for in the Air Action Plan of 2008. Mayor Collomb plans to introduce a charge (péage urbain) from 2020 onwards. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of parking spaces increased by 25%, but the number of parking spaces with obligatory parking fees was raised from about 15,000 in 2004 to 34,000 in 2011, meaning that about a third of all parking spaces are paid. Fees differ between residents and tourists. There is the option to creating combined subscriptions between public parking lots and public transport.

A national bonus-penalty system focussing on CO2 emissions is in place. For low-emission vehicles, people will receive between €4,000 and €6,300 of subsidies in 2015, for environmentally harmful vehicles people have to pay between €150 and €8,000.

Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split

The modal split changed from very high personal motorised traffic in the 1990s (>50%) towards a slow but continuous reduction trend. In the city centre, the modal share of cars and motorcycles is 36%, in ‘”Grand Lyon” it is 49%. The city has managed a slow increase in public transport (16%), walking (33%) and cycling (2%).

The area covered by a 30km/h speed limit has been approximately tripled over the last years and is today in force on 210 km of the city. Further speed limit reductions are set on several highway sections, including further reductions in case of ozone pollution peaks. There are several car sharing schemes in Lyon, one of them operating only electric cars with 100% renewable energy.

Promotion of Public Transport

In the last eight years, two new tram lines, two metro line extensions out of the four existing ones and two trolleybus lines have been built, and the bus system has been reorganised. Also, new Park & Ride sites have been installed. Accessibility has been improved for people with reduced mobility. Customer information has been increased with several measures on information, and real time travel plans, including 500 visual terminals and broadcasting information. The city has a wide range of projects and investments. The current investment costs for public transport amount to €130.50 per person. The extension of Metro Line B to 1.8 km was finished in 2013, the tram network was extended by 50 km within ten years by 2014 and new regional bus connections (Lignes Express de l’Ouest) were set in operation. Furthermore, investment in hybrid buses has become another focus of clean public transport.

To promote public transport, the city offers free public transport use at specific dates of the year.

Promotion of Walking & Cycling

Between 2004 and 2009, bike lanes increased by 33% and until 2014 by another 60%. There are plans for another 75% increase between 2014 and 2020. The cycling network in the streets of Lyon was expanded to 320 km in 2008 and 520 km in 2014. The 2020 target is 920 km (vélo ciblée).

The number of safe bicycle racks was raised from 4,000 in 2008 to 10,000 in 2014. An increase to 16,000 is planned by 2020.Bicycles are only allowed on funiculars and on one metro line. In 2005, the city launched the very innovative bike sharing programme Vélo’v with 4,000 bikes, 343 stations, 60,000 members and between 15,000 and 25,000 rentals per day. There are also plans for long-term bike rental. There are awareness-creating actions including poster campaigns, bike-route maps, websites, newsletters and an annual bicycle festival.

With regard to pedestrians, the city promotes Pédibus, an initiative to walk children to school, which exists in 37 communities, 73 schools and 142 daily routes and involves more than 2,000 children daily. Furthermore, 210 km of 30km/h zones have been installed, 8 km of 20km/h zones de rencontre (encounter zone) and 15 km of pedestrian zones.

Transparency & Communication Policy

There are two official websites on air quality, one website provided by the city of Lyon and a regional website. The city website on air quality provides very limited background information as well as a phone and email contact to the department. Its main operation is to forward visitors to the regional website. The regional website on air quality offers extensive background information on, among other things, pollutants, their legislation and health implications. There are interactive maps with current and forecast pollution levels as well as download sections for reports and data. Additionally, there is a pollution alert, a 24/7 air quality query service via phone or email, and a calculator for personal emission impact according to daily vehicles usage. A phone and email contact to the Air Rhône-Alpes association is also available. Generally, the website is a bit chaotic and sometimes counterintuitive.

Official website of Lyon on air quality (Fr.):…

Official Air Rhône-Alpes website on air quality (Fr.):…

Response to Questionnaire

The City did not reply to the questionnaire.