PENNSYLVANIA (WETM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is giving high school students the opportunity to show off their problem-solving skills with a competition.

PennDOT’s Innovations Challenge asks students to develop a plan for a hypothetical transportation problem. This year, teams of two to four students must work together to write a plan to replace an aging multi-lane roadway that will connect separated neighborhoods. The plan must consider the community’s needs and the project’s cost. The description of the plan should be no more than 750 words long.

“The transportation planners of the future are key to reestablishing communities that have been disconnected by infrastructure,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “I’m confident we will see some fresh and creative solutions to this issue.”

Regional PennDOT offices will select up to five teams from school districts that fall within their regions to present their plans to a team of judges. These regional finalists will each be invited to give a slideshow presentation of their plan to the judges. The presentations should have 15 slides or less and last for 15 minutes or less. Regional winners will be invited to present their plans to the PennDOT secretary and a panel of judges. The statewide winning team will be awarded $4,000.

The Innovations Challenge is open to all students in grades nine through 12 who live in Pennsylvania. Each team of students will need a faculty advisor, and the faculty advisor will need to upload a release form for every student on the team. Competition submissions can be made using this form until 11:55 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2024.

More information about the Innovations Challenge can be found on PennDOT’s website.