Mobility observatory

Telephony at the service of mobility and urban planning

Since 2015, Pully has been setting up a pilot project in collaboration with Swisscom and the EPFL. By picking up anonymized cell phone signals on Swisscom’s antennas, the system can visualize how residents move across the city. A valuable “smart” tool to understand the city of today and to design the city of tomorrow.

Designed in the second half of the 20th century, when the car was king, Pully’s main routes are now overloaded. Where do people come from and where do they go? Do they stop in the city’s downtown? The City broke new ground by developing a “mobility observatory” with Swisscom and the EPFL, measuring the movement of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation users.

Using the anonymized and aggregated connection data in the operator’s antennas, the Mobility Observatory determines Pully’s magnet sites in the form of statistical indicators. As a result, in 2017, 85% of the movement measured in downtown Pully was transit. This was a very local transit, however, since the big generators of this movement are the cities of Lausanne, Lutry and… Pully itself!

The next steps will be to enrich the Mobility Observatory with in situ measurements using sensors. The Mobility Observatory is at the service of a broader objective: to make downtown Pully more attractive, by providing adequate infrastructure and amenities that are pleasant for residents. This initiative will also help evaluate the success of public space developments by comparing downtown attendance before, during and after this work.

The Mobility Observatory is of national and international interest: the City of Pully and Swisscom were invited to present the project and its progress in 2016 at the General Assembly of the European Union for Research and Innovation, in Eindhoven (Netherlands).




The City of Pully is mindful of protecting the data of its residents and commuters. The data does not come from the cell phones themselves, but from the traces left on the telephone antennas. The data is stored by Swisscom and, in accordance with the agreement signed with the operator, Pully only has access to statistical indicators, which does not identify a person in any way. Thus, although the program determines subscriber’s movement throughout the city, it does not reveal their identity or make it possible to access the information stored in their telephone devices.

Extract of the JT, RTS - 19h30 to 10.09.2016


Mobility flow in Zürich - Swisscom Video - March 2014