The PennDOT Innovations Challenge is a statewide competition that challenges teams of students in ninth through 12th grade to use their problem-solving, creative, and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges. Regional winners will be selected by PennDOT's Engineering Districts. Those winners will move on to a statewide competition where an overall winner will be selected.
The multi-lane, state-maintained roadway going through your town has reached the end of its useful life and must be rebuilt. When the roadway was initially constructed, it separated one of the neighborhoods in your community and required people and businesses to relocate. Before finalizing plans for reconstruction, PennDOT wants to collaborate with your town to overcome the separation caused by the roadway.
Your Challenge: Develop an innovative and implementable solution to meet the needs of your community, which includes accommodating bicycle and pedestrian traffic, connecting the separated neighborhood, allowing for new business development and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic. The proposed solution should also consider additional costs to restore your community.
Your Award: The statewide winning team will be chosen from among regional winning teams across the state. Each PennDOT regional office's winning team members will receive certificates. The regional winners will be invited to present their innovative solutions to the PennDOT Secretary and a panel of judges, who will determine the statewide winner. The statewide winning team members will receive certificates as well as their school receiving a traveling trophy and permanent trophy engraved with the school's name.
In addition, the Transportation Policy and Education Foundation, an educational arm of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) organization and the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) are providing a
combined total award of $4,000 to the statewide winning team.
Think you have an innovative solution? Give the PennDOT Innovations Challenge your best effort!
Project & Submission Guidelines
Students must work together in teams
(minimum of two up to a maximum of four individuals) to develop their innovative solution that addresses the identified challenge.
To enter the challenge, teams must complete the
PennDOT Innovations Challenge Submission Form, which includes attaching a description of
no more than 750 words outlining the innovative solution and its benefits.
Note: Each team must identify a faculty adviser who will need to submit the form on the team’s behalf.
The submissions will be reviewed by regional PennDOT offices, and up to five teams will be invited to
present their solutions to a team of judges from the
PennDOT regional office depending on where their school district is located.
Note: If your team is selected as a regional finalist, a PowerPoint presentation (or similar presentation software), consisting of no more than 15 slides must be created. Presentations must be no longer than 15 minutes. In addition, models, diagrams, videos, and other visual aids or supporting materials can be used as part of your presentation to demonstrate your team's innovative solution to the PennDOT regional office judges.
Winners will be selected from the PennDOT regional offices; regional winners will move on to compete in the statewide competition, where one statewide winner will be selected.
The challenge is open to
Pennsylvania high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors in public, private or charter schools, and homeschooled students.
Note: PennDOT employees and their family members (siblings, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews) are ineligible to enter.
The regional and statewide judging events may be held in person or virtually.
Submissions must be received by PennDOT's Bureau of Innovations by 11:59 PM
January 26, 2024.
Process and Timeline
January 26, 2024, at 11:59 PM, complete and submit the PennDOT Innovations Challenge Submission Formto PennDOT's Bureau of Innovations.
February 9, 2024, PennDOT regional offices will review initial submissions, select up to five finalists and invite them to present their innovative solutions either in person or virtually to a panel of judges.
Note: These presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes and include a PowerPoint (or similar presentation software), consisting of no more than 15 slides. Models, diagrams, videos, and other visual aids or supporting materials to demonstrate the team's innovative solution can be used as part of the presentation to demonstrate the team's innovative solution to the PennDOT regional office judges.
March 15, 2024, PennDOT regional offices will select winners for the
statewide judging in
April 2024 to present, either in person or virtually, their innovative solutions to the PennDOT Secretary and a panel of judges, who will determine the statewide winner.
Effectiveness – 10 points
Does the solution holistically address the challenge?
Could the solution be used by PennDOT without substantial revisions?
Does the solution address a problem that can be solved with tools, techniques and/or technologies that are available today or being discussed as possible within the next five to 10 years?
Does the solution include a plan for continued operation and maintenance after implementation?
Benefits to the Community – 10 points
Does the solution connect previously separated neighborhoods and meet the needs of the community, e.g. recreational opportunities?
Does the solution consider and allow for new business development and employment opportunities?
Does the solution include and address impacts to the community and the local road network?
Does the solution take into consideration bicycle and pedestrian traffic as well as other modes of transportation?
Does the solution allow for the smooth flow of traffic?
Cost-Effectiveness - 10 Points
Is the solution cost-effective to implement and maintain?
Does the solution identify and effectively address any additional costs to restore the community?
Does the solution take into consideration any grant or similar type funding that could be used to help offset project costs?
Innovation – 10 points
Does the solution inspire transportation progress?
Does the solution introduce an original or advanced concept?
Does the solution show promise as a catalyst for continued development?
Could the solution be implemented on other similar projects statewide?
Presentation – 10 points
Were the presentation materials submitted completely?
Is the solution presented in a captivating manner?
Is the solution presented with clarity and forethought?
Did the presenters discuss all aspects of the solution from formulation through execution?
Did the group members answer questions from the judges completely, logically, and personably?
Did the brief write-up on the solution contain a clear, complete, and well-organized summary of the project?
For questions or more information, email PennDOT's Bureau of Innovations at
DOTInnovations@pa.gov. The above project and submission guidelines are also available in