Steps to leading change. A Transportation Agency's Business Plan Approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - north america, organisation - privatisation, organisation - management


change management, bus, North America, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)


Today's uncertain economic environment and changing demographics and land use patterns challenge transportation agencies to transform how they do business. Like some of its counterparts throughout the country, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in Northern California has faced these challenges and is leading organizational change. This paper refines the process developed by John Kotter for successful organizational change in the private sector and applies the process to the public transportation industry. Examples from the development of VTA's Express bus business plan show how Kotter's private-sector organizational development concepts can be put into practice by a transportation agency. The paper also identifies the threats to change and opportunities for improvement based on lessons identified during interviews of external stakeholders and VTA staff. By presenting the approach used and the lessons learned, this paper can serve as a reference for transportation professionals whose strategic goal is to lead and implement change successfully within their agencies.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.