Exploring Public Procurement of Swedish Railway Infrastructure Maintenance

Abstract: In 2002, Sweden started to outsource its railway infrastructure maintenance. Through gradual exposure (i.e. outsourcing one contract area at a time), the Swedish Transport Administration has developed its competence of being a client towards its contractors. The last contract was outsourced in 2014. In the last decade, the development of governance techniques and maintenance cost has not matched the increase in traffic. Due to an increased awareness in environmentally friendlier transportation, traffic is only expected to increase further in the coming years. Governance techniques and maintenance cost ultimately depends on the client-contractor relationship through public procurement. Hence, there is a need to understand public procurement of railway infrastructure maintenance. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the knowledge of public procurement of railway infrastructure maintenance. Three separate studies were conducted. Study 1 was a literature review to explore and determine the state-of-the-art for the field of public procurement of railway maintenance. Study 2 was a linear regression analysis to examine the relationship between contract design and the output of maintenance in Sweden. Study 3 was an interview study in Sweden that explored what factors that supports or hinders collaboration in railway maintenance.The main results of these studies are that asset knowledge is important for both the client and the contractor. Through reliable asset knowledge, incentives and contracts can be designed to support governance and collaboration. Today, railway infrastructure maintenance is dominated by informal relationships that lack the support of formal partnering activities. When an informal relationship is supported by a formal structure it provides a basis for innovation. This formal structure should be centralized around gaining and sharing asset knowledge. By establishing such a system to increase the asset knowledge and supporting collaboration, public organizations of maintenance can provide a basis for the improvement of maintenance.