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Rail infrastructure management: transaction cost theory applied to a French case study
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Many changes have occurred since 1997 in the French rail institutional system. Réseau Ferré de France (RFF) was created as rail institutional network owner but delegates almost all its functions as infrastructure manager to the state owned railroad corporation called Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF). This reform results from the implementation of the EU directives concerning the introduction of free competition on the rail transport market in order to improve the economic efficiency of the sector.

The French reorganized hybrid structure with RFF as owner of the network and SNCF as subcontractor for most issues influences the way investment projects are managed while RFF has restrictive commitments towards the French state concerning the modernisation and the renewal of the national network.

Since 2008 new actors appear in the rail engineering sector. They are involved in the delegation of contracting ownership and technical master design of investment projects for RFF. Their introduction adds interactions in a framework where transactions are highly complex, uncertain and human specific. But so far they have shown improvements on productivity on specific types of projects.

Today the idea of creating a unique infrastructure manager is shared by all stakeholders and supported by theoretical underpinnings. A consensus is however not reached on the details of a possible new reorganisation. Production costs representing by far the biggest part of the total costs must in any case be reduced. A further development of free competition in the rail engineering sector can help in this direction while safety issues connected to the railroad system might need specific regulation. Gathering the responsibilities of the infrastructure manager within a new independent institution might be the best compromise despite of social and cultural issues. It would moreover anticipate a reorganisation that might be soon required by the European Union.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 56 p.
SoM EX, 2012-43
Keyword [en]
railways, infrastructure management, transaction costs, production costs, organisation and institutions
National Category
Infrastructure Engineering Economics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-102328OAI: diva2:552370
Subject / course
Regional Planning
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Urban Management
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2014-02-11 Created: 2012-09-13 Last updated: 2014-02-11Bibliographically approved

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