Expanding transportation planning capacity in cities of the global south: Public-private collaboration and conflict in Chile and Mexico

In his dissertation, Onesimo Flores Dewey studied how the governments of cities limited by scarce fiscal resources and weak institutions enhance their transportation planning and regulatory capacities to provide the public with cleaner, safer, efficient, and reliable public transit alternatives. Such aims are particularly challenging for cities of the developing world, in part because a quasi-informal network of privately owned transport operators has been historically responsible for satisfying the public’s mobility needs with minimal state intervention. There are cities where a comprehensive approach to transport planning and regulation may be most urgently needed. Congestion, air pollution, traffic accident fatalities, petty crime, and mobility deprivation of the handicapped and the elderly already define what it means to live and move in most cities of the developing world. Yet many local governments in these locales seem ill-equipped to tackle such “second-order” transport-related challenges effectively, even as they continue to get worse. His dissertation uses the cases of Mexico City and Santiago, Chile to explore this question. Metrobus in Mexico City and Transantiago in Santiago disrupted the pre-existing private bus industry, composed of thousands of small-scale entrepreneurs, which were initially resistant to participate. Drawing on a historical analysis of the evolving relationship between public and private stakeholders as well as from 64 interviews with government authorities and transport operators, his dissertation analyzes the factors that account for the different outcomes and suggests that expanding planning capacity in the context of scarce resources and weak institutions depends on the ability to nurture and sustain accountable public-private collaboration. "Expanding transportation planning capacity in cities of the global South : public-private collaboration and conflict in Chile and Mexico" can be read here.