Securing public values in public transport projects: Four Dutch cases on innovation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - bus rapid transit, mode - tram/light rail, economics - appraisal/evaluation, organisation - competition


Public transport, Innovation, Project management, Public values


Public transport projects, like its operations, most often have a substantial dependence on public funding. The rationale behind the public contribution is that governments on different levels want to secure certain public values by supporting public transport, e.g., mobility, accessibility, sustainability, social inclusion. These are all public values that public transport, projects and operations are expected to support. Evaluations show that the outcomes of the projects are often different than expected. The goal of the research described here was to understand what happens to the public values during the process of project realisation. Four Dutch projects were researched: ZuidTangent (a bus rapid transit project near Schiphol); ParkShuttle (a people mover near Rotterdam); Phileas (guided bus rapid transit near Eindhoven); and RandstadRail (a light rail conversion near The Hague). All the projects were initiated with innovation as one of the key elements/values. Moving away from the traditional ante-post analysis, we saw patterns in the way in which public values shift during the project. First, the projects under study show how too much focus on innovation can harm the project. Second, we see crowding out of values; high ambitions of key values during the early phases of the project lead to neglect of values which were not key to the project. Third, although more innovation was a key reason to introduce competition in the governance of Dutch public transport, it became apparent that introducing competition has complicated execution of these innovative projects significantly.


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


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