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INDOT Employees Win Innovation Competition

Aug. 2022

Five winning ideas for improving INDOT’s processes and projects statewide have been chosen from the 2022 call for entries by INDOT’s Innovation and Process Improvements Division. In its third year, the in-house competition received 154 separate ideas from INDOT employees for improving the agency.

The winning ideas represent five of INDOT’s six districts.

CRAWFORDSVILLE DISTRICT

Employee: Fort Harrison Unit Crew Leader Thomas Case

Innovation: Tailgate prop.

Details: The tailgate prop keeps the tailgate open while crews work out of the standard INDOT truck bed. The tailgate prop slides over the pin on the tailgate and a piece of square tubing in the middle latches securely into the factory tailgate latch on the truck, ensuring that the tailgate will not move.

Quote: “The innovation keeps the tailgate up and enables us to walk underneath it without any chance of the tailgate falling on anyone since it’s latched in,” said Case. “This keeps everyone safe while being under the tailgate.”

GREENFIELD DISTRICT

Employee: Technical Services Systems Asset Manager Amy Groff

Innovation: Virtual van trip application.

Details: This app pulls projects that are entered into the 20-year plan for roads and bridges and creates a separate Microsoft SharePoint list with notes from district partners as part of INDOT’s call for projects process. A Microsoft Power App has been created that is shared with district personnel, and the user enters in comments that are pertinent to the projects. As part of the app, a link to a GIS map shows the location of the projects; through the GIS map, a link takes users to PathWeb information. This gives other members in the district the opportunity to submit comments before the virtual van trip. During this virtual trip, the app will be used as the primary source of project data and maps. Roads will be “driven” by using the PathWeb links; additional data will be entered into the app, and associated costs assigned. All this information then gets put into a Microsoft Word document, and a PDF is automatically created and can be added as an attachment to the project scoping document.

Quote: “Gone are the days of spreadsheets on desktops,” said Groff. “Data governance is a huge push at INDOT, and the more ways in which we can streamline data and processes, the better.”

LAPORTE DISTRICT

Employees: Lab Technicians Rodney Bergeron, Rhonda Giggy, and Michelle Wilson

Innovation: Testing lab dump station enclosure.

Details: To improve air quality in two INDOT labs next to two material drop-off stations used for sampling, Bergeron had the idea to enclose the stations with cardboard to help limit exposure to silica dust. Wilson helped with the initial cardboard enclosures to the dump stations by conducting numerous trials, which were successful. The next step was to use old road signs to create a permanent enclosure. By boxing in all four sides of the dump station with exhaust systems installed by Facilities Coordinator Mike Shrader, a down-draft system, like that of a kitchen-range top, was created. With improved air quality, the lab could now safely conduct sample analysis.

Quote: “I have prior experience as a hazmat manager,” said Bergeron. “This low-budget innovation uses road signs, self-tapping screws, two magnets, a handle, a piano hinge, and metal tape.”

VINCENNES DISTRICT

Employees: Linton Unit’s Tashina Watson, Jason Anderson, Sara Smith, Richie Chubb, Odus Ball, Jacob Gregory, Ryan Martin, Mike Ridge

Innovation: Air compressor hose arm.

Details: The unit’s idea is to create a removable arm to support and reduce wear damage to air compressor hoses. Unit workers routinely must cut and repair air compressor hoses because they drag on the ground while crew members use the compressor during crumb-rubber or bridge-cleaning activities. The crew wanted the arm to be removeable because members must periodically remove it to fuel up the air compressor. Unit workers designed the hose arm with hooks to hold the hose and it can slightly swivel for better movement.

Quote: “This innovation will also be easier on the crew because they normally have to hold up the weight of the hose while they are blowing out cracks or blowing off the bridges,” said Watson.

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