Keywords: sustainable transport, organisation, governance modes, modal shift, UK, United Kingdom, Greater Manchester, local transport planning, LTP, intermodal transportation, NPM reforms, bus transport, sustainability, new public management, bus passengers, public transport
The impact of governance modes on sustainable transport – the case of bus transport in Greater Manchester, UK
'Sustainable transport' has become a priority for transport planning and policy making around the world. Sustainable transport plans often promote efforts to shift passengers from private cars to other modes such as public transport. However, the actual success of such efforts is likely to depend on how the transport sector is organised and governed. In this paper, we study the impacts of new public management (NPM) reforms in the British local transport sector on the attraction of passengers to buses. Britain is an interesting example since high level sustainable transport policies have been pursued in a deregulated context. We focus on bus transport in Greater Manchester as the case in point. First, we study the effects of the NPM reforms on modal shift. We find that the reforms generally have contributed to a decline in bus passengers, while some reform elements have made positive contributions. Second, we apply theoretical notions of 'governance modes', to examine whether the strengths and failures of 'market', 'hierarchy' and 'network' governance respectively can help to explain the results we observe. We find that these concepts are particularly useful to clarify the conditions under which public transport can attract travellers.