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PennDOT Announces Regional Innovations Challenge Winner


Pittsburgh, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a team of students from the South Fayette School District, Allegheny County has been selected as the PennDOT District 11 winner for its third Innovations Challenge.

Team members include Tanush Shrivastava, Himanish Kolli, Daxen Prajapati, Niveidhan Praveen and were mentored by James Hausman.

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 is known as “CashCan,” which utilizes a smartphone app and camera technology to incentivize throwing away trash by earning credits that can be turned into prizes.

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.

“District 11 received great submissions by all participating teams.  We are very appreciative of the students and their advisors taking time to come share their ideas with us.  We congratulate the winning team and are excited to have them represent our region with their CashCan innovation at the statewide judging later this year,” said Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, P.E., District 11 Executive.

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: Joel Morris, Community Relations Coordinator, 412-429-5011