Lay summary
The project analyses the impacts of market liberalization policy on the sustainability of major transport network industries in Switzerland. It aims to analyse the concrete impacts of the recent and ongoing liberalization processes in two sectors, i.e. civil aviation and the railways, on the sustainability of network industries. To this end, the project will implement a new theoretical framework, “the institutional network regime” (combination of policy and property rights analysis), and which has been specifically designed for analysing the impacts of institutional regulations on the various public and private actors involved in the management and exploitation of network infrastructure, as well as on the various regulatory tasks or functions that must be fulfilled in a liberalized network industry (e.g. conditions of access to and use of the network infrastructure, definition of public service obligations, definition of the rules of competition between operators, definition of technical rules and standards concerning the interconnection to other networks, (contractual and technical) conditions of access to natural and energy resources).The central hypothesis which is tested in the research is that there exists a strong causal relationship between (1) the characteristics (e.g. coherence or incoherence) of the institutional network regime, (2) the impacts of the regime on the actors’ configuration and the regulatory framework and (3) the technical, ecological, economic and social sustainability of the network industry.In order to test these hypotheses empirically, a comparative research design has been developed for the project which encompasses six case studies in the two sectors, the perimeters of which are: (1) three metropolitan railway stations (Bern, Lucerne, Zürich); (2) inter-metropolitan lines (Lausanne-Geneva, Basel-Olten, Olten-Biel-Neuchâtel); (3) Switzerland’s two transalpine axes (Lötschberg-Simplon and Gothard); (4) national airports (Geneva-Cointrin, Zürich-Kloten, Basel-Mulhouse); (5) regional airports (Lugano-Agno, Bern-Belp, Sion, Payerne); (6) national airspace and lanes.These comparative case studies will establish the impacts on sustainability of the recent changes prompted by the market liberalization within the two specified network industries. This will be carried out by comparing the situation of the network industry sectors during two different periods: i.e. before (i.e. 1970s and 1980s) and after (today) the (first step in the) liberalization process.