Open Access to Infrastructure Networks: The Experience of Railroads
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Many countries have restructured their railroads and other network industries to require that network providers grant access to independent companies. The potential benefit is to introduce competition among the access users, while the potential cost is to reduce coordination between the network provider and the access users. The experiences of railroads in Australia, Europe, and North America caution that coordination costs are likely to be high when the access provider/user interface is technically complex, the network is close to capacity, the access users are heterogeneous, there is little reciprocity between providers and users, and the access grants are broad.
KeywordsRailroads Access Vertical unbundling Infrastructure Networks
The author is grateful for comments from the editors of this special issue on railroad economics Richard Schmalensee and Wesley Wilson, two anonymous referees for this journal, his colleague Mark Fagan, and Stephen Baines, Darryl Biggar, and Peter Kain, as well as for the research assistance of Raphael Barcham and Yifei Chen. This research was supported in part by a grant from the University Transportation Centers (UTC) program of the U.S. Department of Transportation that resulted in three more detailed working papers: two by the author (on Europe and North America) and one by Mark Fagan (on Australia).
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