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Rail liberalisation in Europe and lessons for Thailand: Policy makers vs. academic views

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  • Charanwanitwong, Thanaphon
  • Fraszczyk, Anna

Abstract

The ongoing rail liberalisation process in European Union is presently considered as a credible model for rail transport development for Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The paper reviews background and literature on rail liberalisation policy in European Union (EU), ASEAN and Thailand. Since Thailand is now facing a fast approaching rail reform initiative the paper shows an example of how the rail sector reform might be tackled at the very beginning, starting from analysing various rail models, identifying the knowledge of existing actors and the environment where these reforms need to be implemented. Three case studies of different EU liberalisation models, as adopted in the United Kingdom, Germany and France, are presented. Next, the perception of 18 Thai policy makers and 15 Thai academics toward rail liberalisation implementation in Thailand is examined based on the data collected via a questionnaire. The findings of the study indicated that rail liberalisation could be applied to solve some of the key problems of railway sector in Thailand and some other ASEAN countries. Statistical analyses of the results emphasize the differences between the opinions of the policy makers and the academic experts, where for example the majority of the first group is split between the partial separated rail model (33.3%) or none of the three models’ (33.3%) analysed while the majority in the second group prefers the integrated rail model (66.7%) as an option for Thailand. The findings suggest that Thai rail transport problems should be solved by knowledge exchange, dialogue and integration between professional and academic views. Similar to several prior studies, it is recognised that there is no one solution that will fit all the countries involved in restructuring of national railways. However, this study has identified the possibility that, according to the opinions of the experts surveyed, the combination of an integrated model and regulatory body under the ministry could potentially be applied in a Thailand’s context. In addition, this research also suggests application of several practices, such as introduction of assessment indicators and supporting policies and consideration of possible obstacles to the further development of rail market in Thailand. Moreover, the results of the study could be applied in ASEAN and any other developing country with a similar context, e.g. in Africa (Kenya) or South America (Brazil).

Suggested Citation

  • Charanwanitwong, Thanaphon & Fraszczyk, Anna, 2018. "Rail liberalisation in Europe and lessons for Thailand: Policy makers vs. academic views," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 421-440.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:113:y:2018:i:c:p:421-440
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2018.05.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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