Workshop report – Public policy and transport

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

policy - sustainable, organisation - competition, economics - appraisal/evaluation, planning - integration


Competition, Integration, Realist evaluation, Economic welfare, Accessibility, Sustainability


This workshop considered the wider public policy goals of a range of transport interventions. Particular attention was paid to assessing the role of integration of the different components of the transport system and of the integration of transport with other economic sectors. This assessment was informed by Ray Pawson’s realist evaluation approach, with its emphasis on the inter-relationships between context, process and outcome. The context was provided by case studies covering small urban areas, large urban areas and inter-urban corridors. The three key processes identified related to a regulated system with public ownership and control, a deregulated system with private sector ownership (‘competition in the market’) and a system in which there was public planning of the transport system but private provision (‘competition for the market’). Outcomes can be assessed using cost-benefit analysis tools to determine impacts on economic welfare or more qualitative approaches can be used to determine the extent to which accessibility or sustainability goals have been achieved. The evidence provided suggests that wider public policy goals are more important for urban than for inter-urban transport and it thus in urban areas where integration should be pursued with most vigour. The most relevant process for achieving this would seem to be variants of the competition for the market model. Some policy recommendations are made and implications for further research and for future conferences assessed.


Permission to publish the abstract given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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