The Voter Initiative as a Form of Citizen Participation in Swiss Transportation Policy

  • Chester Hartman
Part of the Environment, Development, and Public Policy book series (EDPE)


With few exceptions (notably bond issues to finance capital expenditures for public transit), transportation questions almost never come before the electorate in the United States. Yet the potential for a significant form of broad-based, innovative citizen participation in transportation policy—namely, the voter initiative—exists in a substantial portion of the United States. Thirty-two states (plus Guam) currently have initiative provisions for local and/or state levels of government.1 While specific provisions vary from state to state, in general signatures of anywhere from 3 to 5% of the electorate voting in the previous election (sometimes with geographic distribution requirements) can place most any matter on the ballot, which then becomes law if passed by the voters.


Public Transportation Public Transit Voter Turnout Citizen Participation Voter Approval 
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  1. 2.
    Hans Werder, Die Bedeutung der Volksinitiative in der Nachkriegszeit (Bern: Francke Verlag, 1978), and interview with Hans Werder, September 1979.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    See Wolf Linder, Beat Hotz, and Hans Werder, Planung in der schweizerischen Demokratie (Bern: Verlag Paul Haupt, 1978).Google Scholar
  3. 19.
    As noted in the opening sentence of this article, transportation issues do come before the voters with some regularity in the form of bond issues and other funding decisions that require voter approval; in such cases, the matter is placed on the ballot not via voter initiative but by the government. For an interesting discussion of five such transportation-related voter decisions in California, see J. Allen Whitt, “Toward a Class-Dialectical Model of Power: An Empirical Assessment of Three Competing Models of Political Power,” American Sociological Review 44 (February 1979), 81–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chester Hartman

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