Strategic Innovation: Driver Perceptions and the Impact of Change Resistance on the Implementation of Variable Speed Limit Systems


This paper explores technical innovation and the impact of change resistance in the implementation of traffic management systems. Technology-driven change initiatives are often difficult to implement and failure rates are high. Lack of success is often linked to failures in understanding the change environment or failure to account for human factors in the implementation of the new technology. This study explores stakeholder perceptions in the implementation of a variable speed limit system (VSL) in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area. Survey data from the driving public and law enforcement officials were collected and analyzed during the first year that the VSL was operational. High levels of dissatisfaction were present in survey results and indicated significant levels of change resistance. Change management theory was used to link sources of dissatisfaction to common resistance factors. This is the starting point for developing strategies for the successful launch of innovative traffic management systems. Engineering managers involved with traffic engineering and traffic management will benefit from an understanding of the pervasive nature of change resistance and an awareness of strategies for designing change management processes into innovative traffic systems.

Meeting Name

30th Annual National Conference of the American Society for Engineering Management (2009: Oct. 14-17, Springfield, MO)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Second Department

Business and Information Technology

Third Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Change Management; Innovation; Intelligent Transportation Systems; Variable Speed Limit Systems; St. Louis , Missouri; Stakeholder Perception; Strategic Innovations; Traffic Management Systems; Highway Engineering; Highway Traffic Control; Surveys

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2009 American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2009

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