The governance of attractive public transport: Informal institutions, institutional entrepreneurs, and problem-solving know-how in Oslo and Amsterdam

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, policy - sustainable, organisation - governance, planning - integration, land use - planning


Public transport, Governance, Institutional analysis, Informal institutions, Institutional entrepreneurship, Agency


Public authorities are under mounting pressure to promote more sustainable urban mobility, including a modal shift from cars. With an empirical focus on Oslo and Amsterdam metropolitan areas, this paper analyses how the interplay between formal frameworks, informal institutions, and individuals’ agency can contribute to making public transport more attractive in relation to other modes. Findings indicate that formal frameworks, informal institutions, and key actors co-exist and interact in complementary, substitutive, and accommodating manner; they work alongside each other to facilitate collective decision-making on issues ranging from integrating land use and transport to dealing with budget constraints. By identifying these types of interaction, this study shows that, to advance transport sustainability, authorities not only need insight on what policies to design, but can also benefit from understanding how policy-making and implementation unfold. A broader insight offered by the paper is that financial performance goals appear as a main policy driver in public transport, eclipsing sustainability concerns.


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


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