Behind the Scenes of Coproduction of Smart Mobility: Evidence from a Public Values’ Perspective

The advances in information and communication technology (ICT) have extended the applicability of citizen coproduction in government service delivery and have entailed transformative changes, especially at the city level. City governments around the globe increasingly rely on the private sector to set ICT-based urban innovations, like initiatives to involve citizens in the coproduction of smart mobility. Although there are many benefits of ICT-based coproduction, there is nevertheless the potential for tension between private companies and the government with whom they are cooperating. Those tensions are built on the differences in interests and values of private and public actors, and the way of realizing them, and they can compromise the vision and duty of the government. We, therefore, aim to understand the potential impact of private companies’ involvement on the expectations and perceptions of coproducing actors towards social-oriented and service-oriented public values. We conducted an exploratory in-depth case study of the smart bike-sharing system in one of the major cities in Flanders, Belgium. Data were collected through official documents and 27 semi-structured interviews with key coproducing actors. These data were then qualitatively analyzed using Nvivo software. Our exploratory case study indicated that the private actor upholds the realization of values such as efficiency, reliability, and ease of access by bringing in resources and expertise to coproduce smart mobility. However, certain social-oriented values like citizen empowerment and engagement, and (digital) inclusiveness are not part of the private partner’s vision. The study highlights the potential assets and risks for the realization of public values when dealing with conflicting interests between coproducing actors, and in this way considers a different angle on private companies’ involvement in the coproduction of public services.

The advances in information and communication technology (ICT) have extended the applicability of citizen coproduction in government service delivery and have entailed transformative changes, especially at the city level. City governments around the globe increasingly rely on the private sector to set ICT-based urban innovations, like initiatives to involve citizens in the coproduction of smart mobility. Although there are many benefits of ICT-based coproduction, there is nevertheless the potential for tension between private companies and the government with whom they are cooperating. Those tensions are built on the differences in interests and values of private and public actors, and the way of realizing them, and they can compromise the vision and duty of the government. We, therefore, aim to understand the potential impact of private companies’ involvement on the expectations and perceptions of coproducing actors towards social-oriented and service-oriented public values. We conducted an exploratory in-depth case study of the smart bike-sharing system in one of the major cities in Flanders, Belgium. Data were collected through official documents and 27 semi-structured interviews with key coproducing actors. These data were then qualitatively analyzed using Nvivo software. Our exploratory case study indicated that the private actor upholds the realization of values such as efficiency, reliability, and ease of access by bringing in resources and expertise to coproduce smart mobility. However, certain social-oriented values like citizen empowerment and engagement, and (digital) inclusiveness are not part of the private partner’s vision. The study highlights the potential assets and risks for the realization of public values when dealing with conflicting interests between coproducing actors, and in this way considers a different angle on private companies’ involvement in the coproduction of public services.

File Type: 1007/978-3-030-27325-5_26
Categories: Case Studies, Current Issues, Ethics, Foundations of PA, PA Theory, Social Equity, Teaching PA