In the last years many countries started the reform of their legal and organizational frameworks for public transport, aiming to obtain better performances and improve the market shares of these services. Only a few cities succeeded in introducing effective change and overcome barriers to the reform process. Several background studies have exhaustively identified and assessed these barriers for different types of cities, but there is a deficit of analysis on the paths which were followed by those few cities which succeeded in the reform process.
In the background of this wave of reform is the evolution of urban areas that occurred in the last decades and changed patterns of mobility from a radial concentric shape towards a typical interaction spread across peri-urban areas and very often ignoring the city centre. This caused organized mobility services to extend beyond the administrative borders of the city and, consequently, the need to extend the scope of intervention of the mobility authority to all communities with a direct stake in the mobility system became more obvious, yet easier said than done.
The rationale behind this problem of extension of the scope of action and influence of the mobility system is relatively easy to understand but raises additional problems between that scope of action and the scope of intervention of the different institutions in charge of the several aspects of the system, such as territorial definition, financial autonomies, etc.
This paper aims to observe in a structured way the critical issues that surround this problem aiming to pursue in-depth research on institutional design and financing alternatives.