Mapping Public Transportation Ecosystems (PTE) in Israel


  • Amnon Frenkel Technion - Israel Institute of Tchnology
  • Sigal Kaplan Technion - Israel Institute of Technology


Public Transportation, Capabilities, Processes, Strategic Plan, Decision-making




Emerging 15m cities prioritize sustainable urban planning combining public transport, cycling, and walking to encourage a mobility behavior shift from private car to sustainable modes. Scenario building enables envisioning new futures with radical changes in planning policies, when continuing the current trends, no longer suffice2.  Scenario building enables to design mobility policies accommodating middle-out actors to foster non-traditional thinking2,3,4,5. Facilitating processes are proposed as pathways1 (Auvinen and Tuominen, 2014). System barriers are identified expert-based assessment of the probability of policy measures (e.g., Shiftan, 2003) and by mapping background institutional, economic, spatial and sociological conditions to identify transport technologies in agreement with preferences and expectations (Nijkamp, 1997). Yet, system capabilities and processes acting as transition facilitators and barriers remain unaddressed.

This study proposes a new method for a thorough analysis of the Public Transportation Ecosystem (PTE) comprised of identifying key transition goal challenges and identifying missing/existing capabilities and processes that empower resolving the challenges. Differing from the back-casting scenario approach, we take a transition driven approach for system analysis. The method is applied in the national strategic public transportation plan 2025-2045 in Israel. The primary goal of the strategic plan is to motivate a modal shift from private to public transportation. The deriving challenges are enhancing travel satisfaction, embracing technological innovation, increasing efficiency and competitiveness. 

The process involved dozens of stakeholders and middle-out actors including urban planners, transportation engineers, data scientists, civil society, transit operators, academicians, government and local authorities. The interactions between these different groups of planning actors assisted in the formulation of policy recommendations by identified key system capabilities and processes influencing the ability to address the core challenges of the strategic plan. The process generated 43 capabilities and 48 processes. An expert-based cross impact analysis was conducted to analyze the impact of existing and missing capabilities for supporting or impeding the identified transition processes. The process enabled to identify 13 core capabilities, whose utility is highest as derived from the supported processes, and 18 key processes to which priority and precedence should be given in the strategic plan. The capabilities include organizational, operational, technological, and passenger service, capabilities such as leadership, multi-year planning management, metropolitan transport authorities, big-data analysis, information and service center, advanced technologies for system management, monitoring and seamless operation. Among the transition processes are network planning and development, public transport optimization, service profile proliferation towards mobility as a service, passenger experience management, changing the public transport image, quality bids and government commitment. The proposed method enables to delineate the existing and the desired system, leading to insights and recommendations for upgrading the system and enhancing its attractiveness to promote the shift from private to public transportation.


Auvinen, H. and Tuominen, A. (2014) ‘Future transport systems: long-term visions and socio-technical transitions’ Transp. Res. Rev.6, pp. 343–354 available at:

Nijkamp, P., Ouwersloot, H., and Rienstra, S. A. (1997) ‘Sustainable urban transport systems: an expert-based strategic scenario approach’ Urban Studies, 34(4), pp. 693-712.

Shiftan, Y., Kaplan, S., and Hakkert, S. (2003) ‘Scenario building as a tool for planning a sustainable transportation system’ Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment8(5), pp. 323-342.

Soria-Lara, J. A., Ariza-Álvarez, A., Aguilera-Benavente, F., Cascajo, R., Arce-Ruiz, R. M., López, C., and Gómez-Delgado, M. (2021) ‘Participatory visioning for building disruptive future scenarios for transport and land use planning’ Journal of Transport Geography, 90, 102907.

Soria-Lara, J. A. and Banister, D. (2018b) ‘Evaluating the impacts of transport backcasting scenarios with multi-criteria analysis’ Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice110, pp. 26-37.