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PennDOT Announces Regional Innovations Challenge Winner


Indiana, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a team of students from the Seneca Valley School District, Butler County, has been selected as the PennDOT District 10 winner for its third Innovations Challenge.

Mentored by Dean Walker, team members include: Ty Brinkley, Darius Zalnasky, Sydney McMurray, Brady McConnell, Kathleen Monahan.

Since last fall, students have been working hard to solve this year’s challenge: Aside from laws, programs and educational campaigns, what cost-effective, innovative solution can be developed in the next five to 10 years to help PennDOT more efficiently, effectively and safely control litter along roadways?

“Last year, PennDOT spent nearly $13 million cleaning up roadside litter across Pennsylvania,” said Acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “These dollars could have otherwise been spent on delivering a better transportation network and making Pennsylvania a better state in which to live.” 

The winning regional team’s innovation was “Litter Gitters,” which are specialized trash receptacles that would be installed at strategic locations where motorists could dispose of trash that has accumulated in their vehicle.

Now in its third 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.

“We congratulate Seneca Valley on their selection and wish them luck as they advance in the competition,” said Brian Allen, PennDOT District Executive. “We continue to be impressed with the creativity of the participants in this challenge and are excited to see it grow in 2021.”

Regional winners will now move on to compete in Harrisburg for the state championship.

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) organization are providing a combined total award of $3,000 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Timothy Nebgen, 814-765-0598