Iowa - 2017 "Build a Better Mousetrap" Competition

People involved in the transportation industry often find better ways to do their jobs. Whether it's through a new gadget that improves the quality and safety of a project or an innovative process that reduces costs and improves efficiency, it is often the people on the front lines who discover the latest and best practices.

Mousetraps are unique solutions to common problems—they can include the development of tools or software, equipment modification, and/or a new process or approach. They might increase safety, reduce costs, improve efficiency, and/or improve transportation quality.

Cartoon image of mice examining a mousetrap

Iowa's Build a Better Mousetrap Competition provides a great opportunity to share your new ideas with others! We are looking for submissions—see the instructions at right—from employees of Iowa's local public agencies (e.g., cities and counties) who have created different solutions to problems or found better ways of doing things.

A fabulous Iowa LTAP prize is being offered for submittals.

We will gather the best ideas from around the state and judge them using a five-point rating system. The criteria are listed below.

Judging Criteria

  • Cost
  • Savings/benefits to the community
  • Ingenuity and/or innovation: Ingenuity is about how a problem is solved or the process, while innovation is about the "new thing" or the outcome.
  • Ease of transferability and likelihood of implementation
  • Effectiveness

Based on these criteria, a state winner will be selected from all of the local public agency entries, and that entry will be submitted to the National Local Technical Assistance Program/Tribal Technical Assistance Program (LTAP/TTAP) Build a Better Mousetrap Competition. National winners will be announced at the annual National LTAP/TTAP Conference in July 2017.

The winner and applicants will also be included in the Iowa LTAP newsletter and may be presented to attendees at various conferences and the annual city and county research focus groups.

Previous Entries

Looking for examples of entries from previous national competitions? Below are the summary booklets for 2011 to 2015:

Submission Instructions

If you have something you think would qualify for this competition, submit your entry by June 28, 2017. The competition is open to employees of any city or county agency.

A PDF entry form can be found here

Or a fillable PDF entry form can found here

If possible, please include a photo(s) or sketch of your mousetrap with the submission (it's not required, but it's encouraged). The deadline to submit entries is June 28, 2017.

Please submit all entries by mail or email to:

Institute for Transportation
Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program
2711 S. Loop Drive, Suite 4700, Ames, IA 50010
Email: kknapp@iastate.edu
Keith Knapp – 515-294-8817