Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) released its Focus on Innovations publication, highlighting innovations recently piloted and implemented across the organization to develop more efficient processes and improve safety.
In his budget address, Governor Shapiro highlighted his commitment to ensuring Pennsylvania is a leader in innovation and using commonsense solutions to address Pennsylvania communities' most pressing issues. The Focus on Innovations publication builds on the Governor's commitment.
"Our ability to adapt and continuously stay ahead of new technologies and best practices has kept the Commonwealth at the forefront of innovation," said Mike Carroll, Acting PennDOT Secretary. "Our continued focus on identifying unique solutions to complex problems is critical to the continued success of Pennsylvania's multi-modal transportation network."
Innovation at PennDOT stems from many sources. Employee-driven innovation councils and committees, an employee suggestion system, a smart practice sharing tool, the State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC), and solutions identified and implemented by PennDOT employees all work together to build better, more efficient, and more intuitive systems to serve Pennsylvanians.
Highlighted innovations include:
- A cost-effective solution to convert a grader blade into an ice blade to more effectively loosen ice and snowpack that has bonded to the roadway into smaller pieces that can be plowed off.
- An innovative 110-foot-long Mobile Truck Barrier piloted by PennDOT's Fleet Management Division in Philadelphia County allows quicker and smoother lane transitions and closures and better protection of crews to improve worker safety.
- A groundbreaking video-sharing agreement that provides traffic camera access to more than 200 participating agencies to enhance public safety and improve situational awareness and response times.
These projects and many others featured in the publication are among the more than 60 continuous improvement initiatives and nearly 200 employee-driven innovations PennDOT has undertaken and implemented over the last few years, yielding a time savings of nearly 29,000 hours. These projects transformed processes, procedures, and programs that benefitted the department, its employees, transportation partners, and the traveling public.
The publication also features recent progress and successes of the STIC and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Every Day Counts (EDC) innovations that Pennsylvania is pursuing. Use of electronic ticketing, or e-Ticketing, for the receipt of aggregate, asphalt, and concrete materials for PennDOT projects entered its second year in 2022, moving from initial pilots in 2021 to small-scale implementation. An EDC Round 6 (EDC-6) innovation that Pennsylvania pursued, e-Ticketing creates efficiencies and promotes job site safety by cutting down on the number of lost tickets; time is taken sorting tickets and navigation of worksite hazards. The program will expand further in 2023.
Additionally, as PennDOT continues building on its commitment to ease traffic congestion, it has implemented two connected FHWA EDC-6 initiatives: Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations and Next Generation Traffic Incident Management. A PennDOT-produced software that uses crowd-sourced incident data gives the organization access to real-time travel information for roadway messaging to improve situational awareness and road safety.
The Focus on Innovations publication is available on PennDOT's website at www.penndot.gov/Innovations.