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PennDOT Announces Regional Innovations Challenge Winner


Uniontown, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a team of students from the Norwin School District, Westmoreland County has been selected as the PennDOT District 12 winner for its second Innovations Challenge.

Mentored by Tom Harskowitch, team members include: Emily Jumba and Hannah Jackson.

Since last fall, students have been working hard to solve this year’s challenge, which asked students to look at innovative methods, aside from laws and educational campaigns, that can be developed in the next five to 10 years to get drivers to slow down in work zones.

“Every day, construction workers on Pennsylvania roadways face a dangerous threat in work zones,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Despite increased enforcement efforts, work zone signage and smartphone alerts, drivers continue to commit traffic violations in work zones, which can lead to crashes or tragically someone being killed. We challenged our next generation of leaders to become an active part of the solution by developing innovative ways to tackle this transportation issue.”

The winning regional team’s innovation was “Laser Technology Solution to Speeding and Safety for Construction Workers”.

Now in its second year, the PennDOT Innovations Challenge invites high school students in grades 9-12 to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges. The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore actual transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation.

“The Innovations Challenge allows teams to use imagination, ingenuity, and technology to develop innovative concepts to help motorists to slow down and abide by the laws for work zones, said District 12 Executive, Joseph Szczur. Protecting the safety of our workers is of utmost importance.”

Regional winners will now move on to compete in Harrisburg on April 10 for the state championship. The statewide winning team will be awarded $1,500 from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) to be divided among team members.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Jay Ofsanik, 724-439-7135