For a long time, the winter maintenance of the Swedish road and railway network had been performed in-house by Swedish Transport Administration, Swedish local authorities i.e. municipalities and Stockholm public transport. During the last 15 years the winter operation and maintenance of these state infrastructures have been performed by public procurement and contracting from independent contractors, where in practice the lowest price is the dominating selection criteria. The aim of this paper is to investigate and identify how these contracts are designed and how satisfied the parties are with the contract and the quality of the performed work during the winter and point our directions for improvement.
The study was conducted by a literature review and followed by semi-structured interviews and electronic questionnaire.
The results of the study which are based on the interviews and the online questionnaire show that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the contracts among both clients and contractors.
The article prepares a basis showing how a contract affects the quality of the performed winter road and railway maintenance services.
The findings lead to a number of suggestions about how to improve the contracts, e.g. having a separate winter maintenance contract to increase the quality of performed winter maintenance measures, a more partnering-like structure where consultations and adjustment can be made during the contract period. A partnering structure also makes it less important to get all the details right in the contract.
The authors would like to thank the Swedish Transport Administration which has financially supported this study. The authors would also like to thank most sincerely all the contractors and clients who participated in this investigation and contributed with their knowledge and experience by responding the questionnaire and by taking part in the interviews.
Abdi, A., Lind, H. and Birgisson, B. (2014), "Designing appropriate contracts for achieving efficient winter road and railway maintenance with high performance quality: A survey of the state of practice in Sweden", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 399-415. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQSS-06-2014-0033
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