Description / objective
The institutional frameworks for passenger transport provision vary widely between cities, with the key variables being whether there is a passenger transport authority and, if so, to whom it is accountable and with what limits on its responsibilities. The structure of the operating sector can also vary from monopoly (or oligopoly) through to fragmented individual owners and small fleets, with the operator sometimes being integral with the transport authority. Finally, the enforcement agencies may well be external to the transport authority – and hence face different motivations and accountability.
The significance of the institutional framework lies in its impact on the resultant priorities for ITS development, the applications covered, and the implementation process – including funding.
An active passenger transport authority will be involved in all customer-facing functions in areas such as Fare Collection, Traveler Information, and Security, as well as in Traffic Management and the monitoring aspects of Operations Management; it may also co-ordinate a Demand-responsive Transport system for special-needs users. A passive transport authority will focus on monitoring Service-contract compliance, and leave the customer-facing functions to the operating sector. The operator sector will focus on the delivery aspects of Operations Management, and Driver Aids.
Advantages and cautions
Unless there is a specific contractual obligation, independent operators may neglect some or all of the customer-facing functions. Public investment will naturally be more readily available for the public-sector functions, depending on the institutional framework in place.