Numerous studies indicate that the transport factor significantly affects economic development and the development of market institutions. The history of mankind demonstrates that transport has always stimulated the socio-economic development of countries and regions, while changing the changing economic relations and people's needs, scientific and technological progress, in turn, contributed to the development of transport. In this regard, a special scientific interest is the study of the mutual influence of institutions and transport. Historical analysis has revealed a strong interdependence between transport and the establishment of institutions, primarily market ones. Water transport had been the catalyst for the market institutions development up to the time of industrial revolution. At the same time, the development of oceanic navigation in the XVI–XVII centuries had a different impact on the socio-economic development of the major maritime powers of that period (Portugal, Spain, Dutch republic, England). The industrial revolution strengthened the interdependence between transport and the factors of institutional development of advanced countries. The formation of the transport network and particularly the railway network as an innovative and the most «institutional» kind of transport in the most developed countries of that period (England, USA, France), has led these countries despite significant differences to very high positive economic results. This is explained by the essential coherence of the different variants of the capitalism existed in these countries, based on inclusive institutions. At the same time, private financing of the railway business required the consolidation of the efforts of many entrepreneurs. It stimulated the development of corporate institutions and the growth of joint-stock capital. Institutional features of the Russian Empire predetermined a special model of the railway network creation in the XIX century. One of these key features were personalized relations as the basis of the institutions of the «closed access society». The dynamic expansion of the Russian railway network was carried out through a railway concessions. It is quite progressive institution of public-private partnership. But the low level of the country's fundamental institutions that supported the archaic «closed access society» had a negative impact on the development of railway transport. This resulted in corruption in decision-making related to the concessions assignment. In turn, it was the main reason for irrational choice of new lines, ineffective procedures for determining concessionaires, overestimated construction costs and costly operation of many railway lines. Despite this, the creation of the railway network had a significant impact on the development of the industrial economy and institutions of capitalism in Russia. The development of transport infrastructure in conjunction with the development of socio-economic and public institutions can provide a huge synergetic effect, a powerful impetus to the development of the economy and society within the framework of current institutional modernization.