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Build a Better Mousetrap

A celebration of local innovations

Build a Better Mousetrap celebrates innovative solutions for challenges that local and tribal transportation workers encounter. These innovations can range from the development of tools and equipment modifications to the implementation of new processes that increase safety, reduce cost, and improve efficiency of our transportation system.

Build A Better Mousetrap
508 version:

Contact your state's LTAP Center for additional details.

2022 Winners

Innovative Project Award - Sidewinder. Courtesy: South Manheim Township, Pennsylvania

Innovative Project Award:

South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County (PA) for the 'Sidewinder', a truck attachment tool to improve the maintenance of water flow along the roadways. For more information

Bold Steps Award - Guardrail Maintainer. Courtesy: Walsh County Highway Department, North Dakota

Bold Steps Award:

Walsh County Highway Department (ND) for the Guardrail Maintainer, a truck attachment tool that helps clear away debris from around the guardrails, keeping the roads safe. For more information

Smart Transformation Award - Public Survey Tool for Emergency Events. Courtesy: Autonomous Municipality of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

Smart Transformation Award:

Autonomous Municipality of Toa Baja (PR) for the Public Survey Tool for Emergency Events. This e-tool allows residents to report their damages via social media, which help emergency workers prioritize their response during an emergency event. For more information

Pioneer Award - Culvert Cleaner. Courtesy: Washington County Department of Public Works, New York

Pioneer Award:

Washington County Department of Public Works (NY) for the Culvert Cleaner, a tool to safely, clear out dirt build-up in the culverts caused by beavers. For more information

How does the Build a Better Mousetrap work?

* 'Centers' refers to Local Technical Assistance Program Centers (LTAP). For complete information, download PDF.

  • Centers solicit their own nominations within their state.
  • Centers select nominations they would like to move forward. Multiple nominations in multiple categories may be submitted.
  • Centers submit their nominations to the Build a Better Mousetrap at CLAS@DOT.GOV under one of four categories:
    1. 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.
    2. Bold Steps– Any locally relevant high-risk project or process showing a break-through solution with demonstrated high-reward.
    3. 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.
    4. Pioneer– A locally relevant product/tool that is among the first to solve a maintenance problem with a home-grown solution.

How are the honorees selected?

In each category, we are looking for original, innovative projects that provide long-term value to the transportation community. In making the selections, the following criteria are considered:

  • recognized importance/ impact;
  • originality;
  • applicability to others;
  • cost effectiveness;
  • time savings;
  • agency or community benefit;
  • and the overall quality of the application.
  • For additional guidance on submitting your nominations, please download the Build a Better Mousetrap Booklet.
Explore LTAP

National Entry Booklets

The National Entry Booklet is a compilation of all entries submitted for Build a Better Mousetrap, representing LTAP/TTAP Centers from around the country.

View National Entry Booklets from prior years.

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