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The relationship between formal and informal institutions for governance of public transport

Rye, Tom; Monios, Jason; Hrelja, Robert; Isaksson, Karolina


Tom Rye

Jason Monios

Robert Hrelja

Karolina Isaksson


The purpose of this paper is to understand the relationship between the formal (governance established in law) and informal institutions (governance not established in law) that underpin the planning, operation and improvement of local and regional public transport, by using case studies of four countries: Britain (more specifically England, outside London); the Netherlands; Germany; and Sweden. The paper uses a framework drawn from the literature on institutional change to analyse the interplay between the formal governance structures and the other actors and organisations that have an influence on public transport, the formal and informal relationships between them, and how informal institutions emerge to increase the effectiveness with which public transport is delivered.

By selecting countries with some similarities in institutional structure, it is possible to explore how relationships can differ even within a relatively similar overall framework for public transport. Drawing on qualitative research with actors in the different countries, the research explores how informal institutions help actors negotiate the constraints of formal, statutory institutions. Findings reveal that informal institutions smooth the critical interfaces where formal institutions were producing sub-optimal public transport, thus providing evidence that the two modes of governance are, in fact, highly complementary.


Rye, T., Monios, J., Hrelja, R., & Isaksson, K. (2018). The relationship between formal and informal institutions for governance of public transport. Journal of Transport Geography, 69, 196-206.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 25, 2018
Online Publication Date May 2, 2018
Publication Date 2018-05
Deposit Date Jun 11, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 11, 2018
Journal Journal of Transport Geography
Print ISSN 0966-6923
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 69
Pages 196-206
Keywords Geography, Planning and Development; General Environmental Science; Transportation
Public URL


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