The USDOT defines public-private partnerships (P3s) as “contractual agreements formed between a public agency and a private sector entity that allow for greater private sector participation in the delivery and financing of transportation projects.” These arrangements may involve a government agency contracting or working collaboratively with a private entity to renovate, construct, operate, maintain, finance, or manage a facility or system. While research has been conducted to identify examples of P3 initiatives and why they may or may not be applicable for public transportation, such research is limited because the examples tend to be for large-scale P3 initiatives. Little information has been gathered to describe small- and medium-sized P3 initiatives associated with public transportation or to offer best practices for identifying, planning, and implementing such efforts. Information is also needed on the factors that appear to support success and the challenges and barriers that may be encountered for small- and medium-sized P3 initiatives. Research is needed on the different types of small- and medium-sized, planned, and implemented P3 initiatives associated with public transportation. Initiatives may be relatively simple, such as privately sponsored signage on a local bus or shelter, or more complex such as co-development of a transit center for transit-oriented development. While small- and medium-sized P3s may be similar in some ways to large P3 initiatives, there may be important differences that should be recognized. This research should develop a resource offering practical approaches and methods for identifying, initiating, planning, and implementing small- to medium-size P3 initiatives associated with public transportation.
The objective of this research is to prepare a resource for public transportation providers in the United States to better understand, evaluate, initiate, plan, and implement small- and medium-sized P3 initiatives. The resource should address why and when to consider P3s for small- and medium-sized initiatives, what types of initiatives may be undertaken, and how to effectively undertake these initiatives. Drawing in part on existing and planned initiatives, the resource should at a minimum address the following pertaining to small- and medium-sized P3 initiatives associated with public transportation:
- Define the different types of small- and medium-sized P3 initiatives;
- Identify the potential benefits and risks of different types of small- and medium-sized P3 initiatives, including but not limited to value for money;
- Assist public transportation providers to identify, evaluate, and screen opportunities for small- and medium-sized P3 initiatives, including whether conditions are favorable for attracting private sector interest;
- Address the criteria for building a business case for P3 initiatives;
- Address how local, state, and federal legislation and regulations may affect P3 initiatives for public transportation;
- Address the roles and responsibilities of public and private participants, including required expertise and the need for leaders and champions;
- Address funding and financing options for P3 initiatives; and
- Identify barriers and challenges to planning and implementing P3 initiatives and how they may be overcome.