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PennDOT – Most Innovative Company of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Harrisburg, PA
Company Description: PennDOT oversees programs and policies affecting highways, urban and rural public transportation, airports, railroads, ports and waterways. More than three-quarters of PennDOT’s annual budget is invested in Pennsylvania’s state and local highways and bridges. PennDOT's 12,000 employees work in central headquarters in Harrisburg and 11 engineering districts, with facilities in all 67 counties.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Most Innovative Company of the Year - 2,500 or More Employees

Nomination Title: PennDOT

Tell the story about what this nominated organization has achieved since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

With an annual budget of more than $9 billion and 11,900 employees, PennDOT is one of the largest and most innovative transportation agencies in the United States. PennDOT maintains 40,000 miles of highway and 25,400 bridges, registers 11.9 million vehicles and licenses 8.9 million drivers.

In 2016, PennDOT’s innovations have been unique and unmatched. Developing state of the art approaches to safety has been a priority in 2016.

To capitalize on the significant safety aspects of highly automated vehicles, the Secretary convened an Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force of government, research, and industry stakeholders to develop and recommend policies to safely conduct on-road testing. The report will be key in drafting legislation for adoption in 2017 to encourage industry innovation and the expeditious deployment of these safety-enhancing technologies.

PennDOT partnered with Waze, a real-time crowdsourced navigation app, to share road conditions, a feed of real time data including information on road closures, lane restrictions, bridge outages and construction, allowing drivers to navigate quicker and safer routes. PennDOT is the first Waze partner in the Western Hemisphere to install beacons in two significant tunnels, so Waze users do not lose their connection while driving through.

PennDOT installed AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locators) on its snow plow fleet of over 2200 trucks, and created a web site for travelers to see where the trucks are in their area, allowing drivers and commercial vehicle drivers to plan safe routes in advance. AVL will also help to manage salt usage on a constant basis so that the correct amount of salt is used in the appropriate conditions to allow for better passage.

In 2016 PennDOT created advanced driver license and photo license centers that reduce customer wait times by an average of 30 minutes. In one location in Malvern, PA, wait times decreased by 93 percent from 90 minutes to less than 6 minutes. As an innovative public private partnership, PennDOT is co-locating 16 new photo centers with other businesses, such as AAA, saving PennDOT an estimated $600,000 annually in rent.

PennDOT has introduced several state-of-the-art programs within the last year, including IdeaLink 20/20, a program for PennDOT employees to share innovative ideas. The new system has over 40 percent of employee-submitted ideas on efficiency, safety, customer service, and morale in the process of being implemented. PennDOT’s Office of Administration has used this as a model for other state agencies to replicate, and other states are looking to emulate the program.

This year PennDOT also initiated WorkSmart, an innovative system for employees to share their best practices to allow tasks to be accomplished in a faster, easier and ultimately better way. The program allows employees to submit ideas that are then reviewed for compliance with PennDOT work rules, policies and procedures. Once approved, employee suggestions are shared through postings to the website, where they can be searched by all other employees, fostering a collaborative and more efficient work environment.

In addition, a first-ever metric driven strategic investment approach for allocating funding toward structurally deficient bridges and roadway reconstruction in each District has been developed.

PennDOT is undertaking a new maintenance initiative, termed County Transformation of Maintenance, to review each county’s work processes and bring best practices across all 67 counties.

PennDOT is bringing a new approach to project planning and development, known as PennDOT Connects; it will transform the capital and maintenance project development process and ensure that community collaboration is an early critical feature in project development where bicycle facilities, pedestrian accommodations, and environmentally friendly infrastructure can be considered as part of a larger project the department is undertaking. It is leveraging resources to save money and time to create a more sustainable and livable PA.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this organization since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

-Uber partnership: first state to test-drive commercial autonomous vehicles on Pittsburgh’s roads.
-PennDOT Connects focuses on early community collaboration and leveraging resources.
-Developed E-construction mobile app for 1600 PennDOT and third party construction inspectors; saving $17.5 million annually.
-Providing Waze a feed of real-time incidents from the Road Condition Reporting System: including special events and construction. Beacons installed in Pittsburgh’s Fort Pitt and Liberty Tunnels.
-GIS – interactive mapping and data-capable system used to collect and show data involving highway and bridge conditions, system performance, and use.
-Strategic Safety Plan improves highway systems and reduces fatalities.
-Driver's license test now on iPad mobile app, increasing efficiency.
-I-76 Schuylkill Expressway project reduces traffic with peak hour shoulder usage and variable speed limits.
-State of the art testing laboratory for construction materials, including one of the country’s certified labs, performing Falling Weight Deflectometer tests for pavement structural capacity, performance, and special circumstances.

Of the following types of innovation, which ONE do you want the judges to most appreciate about your organization's story of achievement since the beginning of 2016?

Overall Innovation