Shift in Public Transport Policy Perspective

Shift in Public Transport Policy Perspective

Source: adapted from I-95 Corridor Coalition.

The private sector plays a significant role in changing public policy, which is mimicking the changes that have taken place in the strategies of private transport corporations. The public policy environment is thus shifting towards the consideration of transport as a set of interacting modes instead of independent modes (silo mentality). There is a growing recognition that the scale at which economic processes are taking place is regional and global, as well as approaches seeking a consensus among those involved. Coalitions where private and public stakeholders related to a transport system are established to ensure consensus about proper policies are increasingly common.

Yet, the public financing of transportation infrastructure is getting problematic, implying that different forms of public/private partnerships are being sought. Over this issue, each case can implies a different balance of public and private actors, so different financing approaches have to be considered. Since privatization has been the dominant paradigm, users of the system are increasingly seen as customers to whom mobility subject to market forces is being offered. This implies a certain level of service at a price structure subject to accountability. Users reflect a public subsidy perspective, while customers are elements of a revenue generation strategy. A plan-based policy approach, which has commonly failed to capture the correct market and technological trends, is being replaced by a more liberal market approach where deregulation leaves transportation more subject to price signals.