The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


TTAP Newsletter: RoadTalk

Build a Better Mousetrap Update

by Matt Cate, P.E.

TTAP's announcements of the "Build a Better Mousetrap" competition appeared in the Summer 2013 and Fall 2013 issues of RoadTalk ( However, most of you are apparently quite shy about your innovations, as evidenced by the fact that we received only one submission prior to the original January 31 deadline. We would like to thank Bo Mills and his maintenance crew at the Germantown Public Services Department for their excellent submission. At the same time, we would also like for their submission to be part of an inaugural group rather than a lone innovation.

To give everyone one last chance to submit an idea or innovation for consideration, we are extending the competition deadline to Friday, March 28. Our panel of impartial judges will select a winner and a runner-up from the pool of submissions, both of which will receive a prize package (including a certificate for a free seat in any of our one-day classes) and recognition in a future issue of RoadTalk. All submissions will be included in a 2014 TTAP Build a Better Mousetrap Entry Booklet to be posted on the TTAP website.

Please share your innovations, refinements, and solutions to help someone else address the same issues that led you to develop your own "better mousetrap"! Remember that we just need a few pieces of information from you, including: a problem statement; discussion of your solution; labor, equipment, and materials used; estimated cost; and a description of the resulting savings and benefits to your agency and community. Entries will be judged on five criteria: cost, savings/benefits to the community, ingenuity, transferability to others, and effectiveness.

To help simplify the process, we have posted a Build a Better Mousetrap entry form on the TTAP website ( If you have any questions about the competition, please contact Matt Cate ( or Airton Kohls ( by email or call us at 1-800-252-7623.