Grand Paris or Île-de-France? Comparing two institutional models for transitioning to sustainable transport in the Île-de-France region

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Since 2000, the Paris region has seen a substantial transition in transport governance, as the regional transport authority shifted from the control of the state to the region. Additionally, the state created a new entity, the Société du Grand Paris (SGP), to develop a rail network, the Grand Paris Express. This research explores these institutional changes, seeking to understand both how the new institutional forms came about and what these new forms enable and constrain, particularly with respect to creating a more just and sustainable city. This research is a comparative historical case study from the 1990s to the present, looking at two processes of institutional change occurring at different scales within the same place. It uses Kingdon’s three-streams model to assess the opportunities and moments for institutional change. The two processes reveal many of the tensions in governance debates, with the more formal regional authority having greater democratic accountability than SGP. Additionally, as SGP began shifting to the construction phase, its public engagement came to resemble that of a more formal and accountable transport provider, as the agency encountered communities that would feel real material changes from its projects.
governance, sustainable transport, political windows, institutional analysis