Networks and Spatial Economics

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 299–319 | Cite as

Motorway Provision and Management in France: Analyses and Policy Issues



Motorways are one of the largest capital stocks of transportation infrastructure. It is therefore important to try to optimize their provision and management. This paper contributes to this goal by analysing France’s historical long term experience through the prism of economic theory, and by offering suggestions and perspectives for the future. The first section presents a short history of motorway provision in France. It shows how the general framework evolved from isolated links to an integrated network. It discusses how concerns have changed with the growing importance of external factors; these changes are analysed in terms of economic characteristics, namely the relative importance of uncertainty, externalities and network effects. Finally, it assesses how the political decisions have had a major influence, mainly through the privatisation process and through changes in regulations. The second section uses these characteristics to make suggestions and recommendations on how to provide motorways. The main issues considered are the scope of a concession, and the architecture of the contract regarding toll regulation and incentives. Hints about possible future evolutions are presented too, concerning the choice between concession and public provision of motorways, and concerning the separation between infrastructure provision and management. The third section concludes by suggesting some research tracks that may help improving international knowledge through comparison between countries.


Motorways Infrastructure Public private financing Regulation Infrastructure charges Quality of service 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.General Directorate for RoadsParisFrance
  2. 2.Université Paris-Est, Laboratoire Ville Mobilité Transport, UMR T9403, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech-INRETS–UPEMLVChamps/MarneFrance
  3. 3.Ecole Nationale des Ponts et ChausséesParisFrance
  4. 4.PSE-Ecole des Ponts ParisTechParisFrance

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