MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Horak, Martin

Geographical Areas

Vancouver, British Columbia, China


In recent years, public-private partnerships, which are commonly referred to as PPPs or P3s, have become increasingly popular in Canada. Within the context of public transit, PPPs involve the private sector designing, building, financing, and operating the facilities. This paper analyzes the potential benefits of P3s based on an in-depth case study of public transportation investment in Greater Vancouver. It compares a DBFO (design-build-finance-operate) project and two non-DBFO projects in Metro Vancouver using the three variables of efficiency, fulfillment of original purposes, and procedural transparency. Ultimately, there were very few apparent merits of PPPs in the Vancouver case and the actual effects of local governments using P3s for public transit depends on the broader political context. This finding is related to the PPP projects in China where, under the top-down political system, P3s experienced similar political constraints.