The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


TTAP Newsletter: RoadTalk

Build a Better Mousetrap Competition Submissions Due January 31

by Matt Cate P.E.

TTAP still wants to hear about your creative solutions to common problems. As we told you in the Summer issue of RoadTalk (, the annual LTAP Build a Better Mousetrap competition gathers best practices, tips from the field, and innovative answers. The competition allows LTAP centers across the country to share these ideas so others may benefit from different concepts and perspectives. The competition also provides well-earned recognition for the hard work and creativity of these city, county, and tribal transportation workers.

TTAP is looking for projects that you, your employees or crew designed and built.   Potential Build a Better Mousetrap projects include the development of tools, equipment modification, and/or processes that increase safety, reduce cost, improve efficiency, and improve the quality of transportation. These ideas don’t have to be complex or high-tech – sometimes the most effective approach is to keep things simple.

To get you started, we included some examples from previous competitions in the Summer 2013 RoadTalk article referenced above. For more examples, please visit the Build a Better Mousetrap page at the Local Technical Assistance Program Clearinghouse website (

If you have developed a unique solution to a common problem or have found a faster/better/cheaper way to serve your community’s transportation needs, we want to hear from you! Submissions will be judged on five criteria, including:

  • Cost
  • Savings/benefit to the community
  • Ingenuity
  • Transferability to others
  • Effectiveness

Each submission will be assigned points within each category using a five-point scale. The winner will be the project with the highest point total. Tennessee’s winner will be included for consideration in the national Build a Better Mousetrap competition.

If you have a project that you would like to submit for the 2014 Tennessee Build a Better Mousetrap competition, visit the TTAP website at If you have questions about the competition or know of an innovative solution that has been implemented by another Tennessee local agency, please call Matt Cate or Airton Kohls at 1-800-252-7623 or send us an email at