Innovative Ideas Contest

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Innovative Ideas Contest

Innovative Ideas LogoThe Illinois Department of Transportation’s Innovative Ideas Contest is an annual challenge that encourages employees to share original ideas that result in improved service for the traveling public and potential savings for taxpayers.

In 2018, the contest’s inaugural year, more than 100 Operations ideas were submitted to the internal selection committee. Submissions were evaluated by size and scope of the problem, creativity in coming up with a solution, ability to implement statewide, and potential to save time, money or other valuable resources for the state.

The first year was so successful that the contest was expanded department wide, and in 2019, more than 180 ideas were submitted. Forty finalists showcased their work in March at the Central Office in Springfield and an awards ceremony honored the winners.

For 2020 and 2021, the showcase was successfully transitioned to a virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Innovations were exhibited via videos and posters on the department’s intranet site, and all staff were invited to participate by voting for their favorites.

2021 Winners

Grand Champion

Rotating TMA Sign Holder, D3: Rotating sign holder improves safety while maintaining the integrity of the TMA.



Second Place

Mobile Plow Racking Emergency Stand System, D7: System of wheeled jacks provides for safe and efficient plow installation.



Third Place

Improved Paint Sprayer System, D6: Improved pressure delivery system increases efficiency by decreasing paint clogs and backups.



People’s Choice

Mobile Plow Racking Emergency Stand System, D7: System of wheeled jacks provides for safe and efficient plow installation.


Grand Champion

Electronic Plan Circulation Process, D6: New process eliminates paper waste, streamlines circulation process and enables real-time review.



Second Place

Programming Tools for MYP Development, D3: Excel workbook tools optimize annual program management and funding decisions statewide.



Third Place

Adobe Lab Inspection Documentation, D1: Digital form vastly reduces paper waste and storage needs while streamlining inspection process.



People’s Choice

Payroll Calculator, CO: Calculator provides employees with exact estimates for changing withholdings, deferred compensation and other benefits.


2021 Finalists