Dec. 31, 2015 – $25K Find a New Way” Innovation Contest

Caltrans Innovation Contest

About the Contest

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will award $25,000 to the Californian with the best unique idea about how to improve the state’s transportation system. The concept that best addresses the contest criteria within Caltrans’ area of responsibility and has the highest likelihood of being successfully implemented, will be selected as the winning entry and announced by December 31, 2015.


The contest is open to any individual who is a California resident, except for current and retired State of California employees and their immediate family members. Any contestant under 18 years of age must have his/her parent or guardian’s permission to enter the contest. Each entry is limited to an individual submitting a single idea.

Deadline & details

The Caltrans Innovation Contest has concluded, please click to see a list of the finalists.

Caltrans – who we are and what we do

Caltrans manages more than 50,000 road and highway lane miles, funds three intercity rail lines, maintains more than 12,500 state bridges, and inspects more than 400 public-use and special-use airports and heliports. Under the Active Transportation Program (ATP), Caltrans partners with local communities to develop and maintain safe, healthy, and convenient daily travel options. We are broadening our scope of projects to benefit active transportation users including pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit riders. The mission of Caltrans is to provide a safe, sustainable, integrated, and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.

Caltrans Goals

  • Safety and Health: Provide a safe transportation system for workers and users, and promote health through active transportation and reduced pollution in communities.
  • Stewardship and Efficiency: Money counts. Responsibly manage California’s transportation-related assets.
  • Sustainability, Livability and Economy: Make long-lasting, smart mobility decisions that improve the environment, support a vibrant economy, and build communities, not sprawl.
  • System Performance: Utilize leadership, collaboration and strategic partnerships to develop an integrated transportation system that provides reliable and accessible mobility for travelers.
  • Organizational Excellence: Be a national leader in delivering quality service through excellent employee performance, public communication, and accountability.

Evaluation Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Innovation: Is the idea innovative and unique? Is its goal clearly stated? Is there potential to produce a breakthrough or a major change that will improve Caltrans’ operations, increase safety or efficiency, save money, or improve California? (Worth one half of the overall score.)
  • Potential Benefit(s): Does the idea solve an important issue? Could it significantly improve or potentially replace current practice(s)? Will the innovation contribute to furthering a Caltrans goal/objective? (Worth one quarter of the overall score.)
  • Implementation: Is the idea practical and effective? Is it economically feasible? If selected, could Caltrans realistically put the idea into action? (Worth one quarter of the overall score.)