Iowa Build a Better Mousetrap Competition

It is the people on the front lines who often discover the latest and best practices, whether through new gadgets that improve the quality and safety of a project or innovative processes that reduce costs and improves efficiency.

Build a Better Mousetrap (BABM) highlights innovative solutions to everyday challenges that local and tribal transportation professionals encounter. Iowa’s BABM Competition provides a great opportunity to share your new ideas with others!

We are looking for submissions from Iowa’s local public agencies (e.g., cities and counties) that 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 point rating system. The criteria are listed below.

Judging Criteria
  1. Recognized importance/ impact
  2. Originality
  3. Applicability to others
  4. Cost effectiveness
  5. Time savings
  6. Agency or community benefit
  7. Overall quality of the application
  8. Spotlight videos receive extra points

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 2024.

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.

Contest Categories
  • Innovative Project – Any solution that addresses any or all phase(s) of the “project” life-cycle – Planning, Design/Engineering, Construction, Operations and Maintenance. This project shall introduce new ideas, is locally relevant, original, and creative in thinking.
  • Bold Steps – Any locally relevant high-risk project or process showing a break-through solution with demonstrated high-reward.
  • SMART Transformation – A locally relevant significant change in any transportation activity or process that is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound) in nature that results in improved efficiencies.
  • Pioneer – A locally relevant product/tool that is among the first to solve a maintenance problem with a home-grown solution.