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PennDOT Announces Regional Innovations Challenge Winners

03/09/2021

King of Prussia, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced the student teams from Lower Moreland High School, in Lower Moreland Township, Montgomery County, and The Hill School, in Pottstown Borough, Montgomery County, have been selected as the PennDOT District 6 winners for its fourth Innovations Challenge.

The Lower Moreland High School team, mentored by Nick Solomon, includes students Misha Bankulla, Gopiga Doss, and Daniel Porotov.

Mentored by Christopher Chirieleison, The Hill School team members include Edward Proffitt, Rohan Dondeti, Andres Arevalo, and Juan Hinostroza.

Since last fall, students have been working hard to solve this year’s challenge that asked students to develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address Pennsylvania’s transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls, or mileage-based user fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future.

“With vehicles becoming more fuel efficient and electric vehicles becoming more affordable, gasoline-based revenues can no longer generate the funds needed,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “To meet the needs of our aging infrastructure, Pennsylvania needs to establish a funding stream that will inject an additional $5 billion per year into our transportation system.”

Lower Moreland High School team’s innovative idea consists of using piezoelectric plates on heavily traveled roadways and transportation networks. The students persuaded that PennDOT could then potentially generate large amounts of sustainably sourced energy, which may prove economical.

The Hill School presented the PA Road Rewards for the challenge. This creative idea would utilize an app and website where user’s sign-up for a membership subscription to gain access to games testing their transportation safety knowledge, in return for rewards, while also allowing sponsored advertisement within the app to help generate funding.

Now in its fourth 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 6’s eight finalist teams presented outstanding innovative ideas to help with the future of Pennsylvania’s transportation funding needs,” said Mike Rebert, District 6 Acting District Executive. “It’s hopeful that our youth will improve the future of transportation.”

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

The Transportation Policy and Education Foundation, an educational arm of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) are providing a combined total award of $5,500 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and like the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation and Instagram at www.instagram.com/pensylvaniadot.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robyn Briggs, 610-205-6799


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