Rail Economics, Policy and Regulation in Europe

Rail Economics, Policy and Regulation in Europe

Edited by Matthias Finger and Pierre Messulam

The European railway sector has undergone profound and predominantly institutional changes over the past 20 years, due to the initiatives of the European Commission. This book constitutes a first systematic assessment and account of the recent transformations of the industry along a series of critical yet contentious issues such as competition, unbundling, regulation, access charging, standards and interoperability, and public–private partnerships. It also covers the main railways sectors including passenger transport, high speed and freight.

Chapter 15: Looking beyond Europe

Fumitoshi Mizutani

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, politics and public policy, regulation and governance, urban and regional studies, transport

Extract

This chapter summarizes regulatory structure and reforms in the rail industry in non-European countries. Four regions have been selected for analysis – East Asia, Oceania, North America, and the former socialist countries; with Japan, Australia, the USA and Russia chosen for each region, respectively. Although the structure of the rail industry in all four countries will be summarized, this chapter focuses primarily on Japan because its rail regulatory structure is quite different from that of European countries. Because of its uniqueness, the experience of regulatory reforms in Japan could provide useful lessons for policy makers and practitioners in Europe. One distinctive feature of regulation in Japan is its relative moderation. Second, its competition policy is different: instead of direct rail-track competition, a yardstick regulation (or competition) scheme is applied, resulting in indirect competition (that is, competition among different rail service markets). Third, most rail operators are privately owned in Japan. Fourth, with respect to structure, rail operations and infrastructure are integrated. Of course, there are cases in Japan of vertical separation, but the purpose of this separation is quite different from that of Europe. Finally, in Japan, passenger services are dominant, and freight services are more limited than in Europe. This chapter is composed as follows. The first section will describe regulation and regulatory reforms, market structure and competition policy in the four above-mentioned countries.

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