BERWYN, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that the student team from Conestoga High School in Tredyffrin School District, Chester County, has been selected as the PennDOT District 6 winner for its sixth annual Innovations Challenge.
The Conestoga High School team, mentored by James Moran and Jacqueline Gontarek, includes students Faizaan Siddique and Andrew Hunter.
The PennDOT Innovations Challenge invites high school students from around the Commonwealth to develop creative solutions to real-world transportation challenges. The goal of the Innovations Challenge is to help students explore actual challenges PennDOT and the transportation industry is facing as well as consider the possibility of working in the industry following graduation.
Since being announced last October, students across the state have been diligently developing creative and strategic solutions to a real-world transportation challenge. This year, teams were tasked with selecting one of Pennsylvania’s interstate corridors where truck parking is a known issue and develop an innovative approach to increase commercial truck parking availability in that area and offset costs incurred for construction.
“Pennsylvania is a critical freight corridor for commercial drivers bound for destinations across the continent,” said Mike Carroll, Acting Secretary of Transportation. “It’s inspiring to see the next generation of problem-solvers approaching the issues of today with the creativity and ingenuity of tomorrow.”
The winning regional team designed a “truck oasis” where commercial vehicles would have their own designated rest area offering gas stations, restrooms, food facilities and long-term or short-term parking options. Their model also included expanded shoulder areas along the highway for short-term parking to help when a driver felt fatigued. In addition, the Conestoga team designed a mobile application called “TruckPark PA”, where drivers could log in to book an available parking space.
“District 6’s five finalist teams presented innovative ideas to create more access for commercial truck parking along our state corridors,” said Lou Belmonte, PennDOT District 6 Executive. “Their thoughtfulness in developing designs for a safer transportation network is energizing.”
Regional Innovations Challenge winners will present their solutions to the PennDOT Acting Secretary and a panel of judges in Harrisburg next month, where a statewide winner for 2023 will be determined. For this year’s challenge, the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) 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.
For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit www.penndot.gov/innovation and click on Innovations Challenge.
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