Barriers to Transnational Passenger Rail Services in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina – A Qualitative Perspective
Railway infrastructures and services in the countries of former Yugoslavia have been in a downward spiral since the early 1990s. There have been scattered investments to lift services up to appealing levels after the war, but a continuous downward trend persists in all important performance indicators. After war-attributed abandonment, numerous lines lost services permanently, numbers of services dwindled, especially across borders, and service speeds decreased. This research takes Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina specifically as survey objects. It aims to identify the barriers in these two countries that withheld passenger rail from a positive development as in other European countries during the same period. For this purpose we carried out 11 interviews with stakeholders in various railway-related institutions. The transcripts are analysed qualitatively with thematic analysis to gain an overview of organisational and institutional barriers for development of railways. This is followed by a cause-effect analysis with Causal Loop Diagramming. The result: ad-hoc decision-making is clearly connected to the insignificance of railways. As immediate measures to counter the downward spiral by means of strategic long term planning, we identify (1) service benchmarking, (2) a clear vision for improvement of service quality, and (3) empowerment of ministries in a long term.
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