Build a Better Mousetrap Competition – Iowa

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.

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

  1. Cost savings/benefits to the community
  2. Ingenuity
  3. Ease of transferability to others
  4. Effectiveness
  5. 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 2020.

Those that place first to third in Iowa will be announced in the Iowa LTAP newsletter along with other recognition and receive free workshop registrations. The ideas submitted may also be presented to attendees at various conferences and the annual city and county research focus groups.

Submission Instructions

If you have something you think would qualify for this competition, submit your entry by June 3, 2020. The competition is open to employees of any city or county agency.

You can submit you entries online using the form below, or, if you prefer, you can submit your entries by mail (see instructions to the right).

Photo and video guidance: FHWA provides some guidance for any photographs and Spotlight Videos. PDF

Release form: In addition, FHWA requests that you obtain a release form for each person you photograph, record, or video. Please include a copy of all release forms in your entry by attaching the following PDF in the “File” section of the form. PDF

Enter the Competition
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, doc, docx, jpeg, png, jpg.
    A photo is required. The file is limited to 10MB. Don't forget to include the FHWA release PDF here, if applicable.
  • Spotlight Videos are encouraged (and get you more points) with your submission. Include links to your videos here.