Iowa - 2018 "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.

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
  • Ease of transferability to others
  • Effectiveness
  • Spotlight videos also receive extra points (guidance from FHWA on these and photographs are available at the link in the right-hand column)

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 2018.

The Iowa winner will be included in the Iowa LTAP newsletter and receive a free workshop registration. The ideas submitted may also 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 1, 2018. 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
Please note: You'll need to download the fillable PDF to your computer to take advantage of the form features.

Photo(s) are required, and Spotlight Videos are encouraged (and get you more points) with your submission. The deadline to submit entries is June 1, 2018.

FHWA provides some guidance for any photographs and Spotlight Videos.

In addition, FHWA requests that you obtain a release form for each person you photograph, record, or video (include a copy of all release forms in your entry).

Please submit all entries by mail (e.g., a disk) or email to:

Institute for Transportation
Jonni Lenzini
2711 S. Loop Drive, Suite 4700, Ames, IA 50010
Phone: 515-294-4416