In the 1960s, the urbanisation of society resulted in the development of transport networks connecting city centres with the suburbs. Jean-Claude Decaux made a new product available to local authorities - the advertising bus shelter - giving them the opportunity to finance street furniture through advertising. He embarked on a journey around France to convince mayors to adopt this new street furniture, explain the prototype advertising bus shelter to them and promote its advantages, especially for public finances.
 
Advertising bus shelter prototype for the city of Lyon, France - 1964

Lyon became the first city to be equipped with free advertising bus shelters in 1964 on the initiative of its mayor, Louis Pradel. Jean-Claude Decaux decided to ensure the cleaning and maintenance of the bus shelters in order to guarantee the satisfaction of his advertising customers and his company's reputation.

At that point, bus shelters became a highly-prized platform for advertisers as they were the only type of street furniture that enabled advertising to be displayed in city centres, where advertising space was strictly regulated.
 
Advertising bus shelter near the Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

Advertising bus shelters, which were now a permanent fixture, underwent a number of changes over the years. New equipment, such as telephone boxes, screens providing bus traffic information or integrated public conveniences, was added to the bus shelters.

Today, over 136,000 JCDecaux bus shelters have been installed throughout the world and this number is constantly increasing with each tender won by the Group. The latest successful tender is a true symbol: in December 2013, 50 years after Jean-Claude Decaux created the first advertising bus shelter, JCDecaux won, once again, the tender for Paris' bus shelters.

To mark the occasion, JCDecaux will inaugurate a new generation of advertising bus shelters in 2014 which is intended to become THE worldwide benchmark in this area, due to its numerous functions including maps of the local area, real-time traffic information, USB sockets, digital touchscreens and geo-localised services, etc.