Research Grant Awarded: Responsive Infrastructure Through Responsive Institutions (RITRI)

Update: We are Hiring!

The vacancy for a PhD Student at the University of Groningen, to be working in the research project, has now appeared online. The vacancy can be found here.

Research Grant Awarded

Last week, we received the great news that our research proposal Responsive Infrastructure Through Responsive Institutions (RITRI) will be awarded a €500,000 grant from NWO, in cooperation with Next Generation Infrastructures. The project has been granted to, and will be led by, Dr. Andreas Hartmann (University of Twente), Dr. Tim Busscher (University of Groningen) and myself. Two PhD-students will be hired on the project. One will be based at the University of Twente and one will be based at the University of Groningen. Together with Tim Busscher, I will supervise the PhD-student in Groningen.

Summary of the Research Proposal

Infrastructure administrators have been confronted with considerable investment needs in their infrastructure networks that mainly stem from an increased demand encountering an aged and deteriorated infrastructure stock. Since these investment needs can overlap in time and geographically, they can become cross-sectoral investment opportunities for increasing the responsiveness of the infrastructure system as a whole. However, for investment opportunities to be seized, infrastructure administrators have to be able to align their individual decision-making processes: the institutional system has to be responsive as well. The research project “Responsive Infrastructure through Responsive Institutions (RITRI)” addresses this challenge. It is guided by the following research question:

What are investment opportunities to make infrastructure systems responsive now and in the future, and what institutional rules need to be adapted so that these investment opportunities can be seized?

In order to answer the question, the research adopts an engaged scholarship approach bringing together in-depth scientific and practical knowledge on infrastructure planning and management and institutional analysis and design. It deploys multiple methods including scenario building, institutional analysis, stress-testing, and serious gaming to gain insights into the infrastructural opportunities and institutional requirements for increasing infrastructure responsiveness. By introducing responsiveness as the capability of a system to anticipate and shape future societal and technological changes, the research is particularly interested in how infrastructure administrators can play a more constitutive role in change trajectories. With its focus on cross-sectoral decision-making, the research also studies how infrastructure administrators can take up such a role in a joint manner.

The research will be conducted in close cooperation with the following infrastructure administrators: Alliander, the Port of RotterdamRijkswaterstaat, ProRail, and Schiphol.

Public Private Partnerships In Transport: Trends And Theory

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) continue to attract considerable attention worldwide as a governance model for delivering public services, particularly in the transport sector: in Europe, the transport infrastructure sector represents about 60% of the PPP market. PPPs are popular with policymakers since they allow the public sector to benefit from private sector capacities and resources, leading to increased quality of transport infrastructure development and management, for lower prices, and with faster delivery times. Compared to traditional procurement of transport infrastructure services, however, PPPs are complex governance arrangements involving many stakeholders with often conflicting interest, and are hence challenging to implement. Unsurprisingly then, the increasing popularity of PPPs is accompanied with calls for more research into their functioning and performance. The edited volume Public Private Partnerships in Transport: Trends and Theory (2016) addresses these research gaps. In this book review, I have discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the book.

Publication | Verweij, S. (2017). Public private partnerships in transport: Trends and theory. Transport Reviews, 37 (5), 685-687.

DBFM: Van Efficiëntieoptimalisatie Op Projectniveau Naar Meerwaardecreatie Op Netwerkniveau

De gezamenlijk door Rijkswaterstaat en haar partners ontwikkelde Marktvisie nodigt uit tot een kritische beschouwing van DBFM-contracten (Rijkswaterstaat 2015). Lange tijd hebben Rijkswaterstaat en de markt zich vooral gericht op kostenoptimalisatie. Daardoor lag er veel nadruk op Publiek-Private Samenwerking (PPS) aan de hand van DBFM-contracten. In DBFM worden de Design, Build, Finance en Maintain fasen geïntegreerd. Dit leidt, in ieder geval op papier, tot betere afstemming tussen de verschillende projectfasen. Daarnaast wordt er aan de voorkant scherper nagedacht waardoor minder meerwerk nodig is en er strakker financieel gestuurd kan worden. Tot slot, omdat de markt meer ruimte krijgt, komen creatieve oplossingen vanzelf opborrelen. Rijkswaterstaat heeft zich echter ten doel gesteld om naast kostenoptimalisatie ook maatschappelijke meerwaardecreatie te realiseren (Rijkswaterstaat 2015). De vraag is echter: hoe kan deze ambitie worden meegenomen in de huidige manier van werken met DBFM?

Publicatie | Lenferink, S., Verweij, S., Leendertse, W. & Busscher, T. (2017). DBFM: Van efficiëntieoptimalisatie op projectniveau naar meerwaardecreatie op netwerkniveau. Verkeerskunde, 68 (3), 14-15.

Themanummer: Publiek-Private Samenwerking

Het themanummer Publiek-Private Samenwerking: Slim Combineren in het Ruimtelijke Domein is nu verschenen! Het themanummer is te vinden op de website van Rooilijn.

Samenwerking wordt doorgaans beschouwd als iets positiefs. In het ruimtelijke beleidsdomein krijgt het vaak de vorm van publiek-private samenwerking. Hoewel het nastrevenswaardig is en populair is onder politici en beleidsmakers, blijkt PPS vaak makkelijker gezegd dan gedaan. Er wordt dan ook veel onderzoek gedaan naar hoe PPS succesvol kan worden georganiseerd. Welke inzichten levert recent PPS-onderzoek hierover op? En hoe dragen de artikelen in dit themanummer bij aan de kennisontwikkeling over PPS? Lees er meer over in het themanummer. Het overzichtsartikel, waarin de opbrengsten van het themanummer worden besproken, is vrij toegankelijk op de website van Rooilijn of via deze link.

Publicatie | Van den Hurk, M. & Verweij, S. (2017). Reflectie op PPS-onderzoek in Nederland. Rooilijn, 50 (2), 134-139.

Implementing Public-Private Partnerships: How Management Responses To Events Produce (Un)Satisfactory Outcomes

PWMP Front 2Most research on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure development focuses on phases prior to construction. The implementation phase itself has received less attention. However, sound public-private agreements and project preparations can fail during project implementation because of, for example, unforeseen events and ineffective responses to them. We conducted case studies on two infrastructure projects to examine which management responses to events during implementation produce (un)satisfactory outcomes. We found that externally oriented responses or a cooperative stance between the public and private partners produce satisfactory outcomes in responding to events. In practice, however, management responses are often internally oriented and non-cooperative, resulting in unsatisfactory outcomes. We identified three explanations for this, related to time pressure in implementation, the organization of the involvement of external stakeholders, and project culture in the PPP. The article concludes with implications for management and policy of infrastructure PPPs.

Publication | Verweij, S., Teisman, G.R. & Gerrits, L.M. (2017). Implementing public-private partnerships: How management responses to events produce (un)satisfactory outcomes. Public Works Management & Policy, 22 (2), 119-139.

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