Transport Economics - Regulation & Competition

Regulation & Competition

Regulation of the supply of transport capacity relates to both safety regulation and economic regulation. Transport economics considers issues of the economic regulation of the supply of transport, particularly in relation to whether transport services and networks are provided by the public sector (i.e. socially), by the private sector (i.e. competitively) or using a mixture of both.

Transport networks and services can take on any combination of regulated/deregulated and public/private provision. For example, bus services in the UK outside London are provided by both the public and private sectors in a deregulated economic environment (where no-one specifies which services are to be provided, so the provision of services is influenced by the market), whereas bus services within London are provided by the private sector in a regulated economic environment (where the public sector specifies the services to be provided and the private sector competes for the right to supply those services - i.e. franchising).

The regulation of public transport is often designed to achieve some social, geographic and temporal equity as market forces might otherwise lead to services being limited to the most popular travel times along the most densely settled corridors of development. National, regional or municipal taxes are often deployed to provide a network that is socially acceptable (e.g. extending timetables through the daytime, weekend, holiday or evening periods and intensifying the mesh of routes beyond that which a lightly regulated market would probably provide).

Franchising may be used to create a supply of transport that balances the free-market supply outcome and the most socially desirable supply outcome.

Read more about this topic:  Transport Economics

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