Path dependence in urban transport: An institutional analysis of urban passenger transport in Melbourne, Australia, 1956-2006

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - history, land use - planning, place - urban


Urban transportation, Urban transit, Urban highways, Transportation planning, Organizations, Organizational effectiveness, Organisations, Melbourne (Australia), Intracity transportation, Institutional issues, History


In order to deepen understanding of path dependence in urban transport, this article presents a case study of urban passenger transport institutions in Melbourne, Australia over 50 years. The institutional capacity of the roads and public transport sectors are explored separately and the trends are then compared and contrasted. The main components of the analysis are: structural changes to the organizations, participation on planning committees, access to financial resources, accountability frameworks, membership of forums and relationships with other actors. The conclusion is that, whilst the historical picture is complex, the trend is a strengthening of road planning institutions, and weakening public transport planning. This situation appears to be out of alignment with current needs.


Transport Policy Home Page: