The fourth role of government in the railways industry is to establish regulatory systems to protect or advance public interest. Government is responsible for developing the regulatory framework, administering some of the regulations, and delegating the rest to specialist administrative bodies.
This toolkit addresses economic, safety, environmental and technical regulation (Figure 6.3). Regulatory systems must be designed to suit industry policies and structures. For example where there is a high degree of competition between railways and other transport modes, or between different railway operators, economic regulations may be minimal or aimed merely at sustaining that competition. Similarly, if infrastructure access rights are granted it requires a national system to regulate infrastructure access and ensure that rights are respected.
Theoretically ideal requirements of any regulatory system are: the regulator must be independent from the organizations and/or agreements it is regulating; deliberations should be open and transparent; regulators should be accountable for their decisions; and regulatory principles must be known and consistently applied. Regulatory models that aspire to these principles are described in Section 4.
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