Gain national attention for your tribe’s commitment to
safe and well-maintained roadways


Have you dreamed up a new way to tackle a transportation problem?

Has a member of your crew created a new tool or gadget to help make roads safer?

Has a staff member discovered a better way to get the job done?

Then you’ve built a better mousetrap. 

We want to help you show off your innovative solutions to problems faced by tribal transportation workers. It might be a new tool, equipment modifications, or a new way to increase safety, reduce costs, or improve efficiency.

That’s why the FHWA’s Center for Local Aid Support sponsors the ‘Build a Better Mousetrap’ competition every year. It’s a great way to share your creative transportation solutions. Check out previous winners: 

Pavement Repair Tracking Software App (Arapahoe County Road and Bridge Department, Colorado)
“Don’t be afraid to try new things. It helps us stay ahead of the curve”
Keith Runyon, Paving Supervisor

Screen capture. Courtesy: Arapahoe County Road and Bridge Department, CO

To be as responsive as possible to resident requests for paving and pothole repairs, Road and Bridge staff worked with the GIS mapping department to create a tracking app. Work plans and scheduling are now presented visually, with the tracking system using icons to indicate status and other project details. Crews know what they’re going to see before they get to the site, and can determine the best repair method ahead of time. The app is now being used by other departments.



Repurposed Guardrails for New Building Construction (Clearwater County Road and Bridge Department, Idaho)
“It looks good. It performs well. Our constituents are very pleased that we were able to take something old and recycle it.”
Rick Winkel, County Commissioner

Courtesy: Clearwater County Road and Bridge Department, Idaho

With the goal to build a barn-size recyclables storage building, the county tapped into the maintenance yard’s large amounts of old aluminum guardrails to create durable, “forklift-proof” walls. Using the guardrails as siding, the county saved an estimated $30,000 on new building construction.




Portable Manhole Cover for Confined Space Training (Highway Department of Beacon, NY)
“Having something that is built, portable, and can be used indoors makes scheduling training so much easier.” 
Reuben Simmons, Working Supervisor

Courtesy: Beacon, NY Highway Department

To provide safer, more flexible training for its maintenance workers, the department invented a portable manhole - a mobile structure that is a simulation of a complete confined space manhole. Strapped in a harness hooked up to a tripod, employees can safely review all hazards and complete a confined space safety checklist. The strucutre provides safe training for large groups in one session, and eliminates the unpredictability of training outdoors.

Tribes are invited to submit their ‘build a better mousetrap’ ideas to the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) competition. The winning TTAP entry will compete with winning entries from Local Technical Assistance Programs (LTAPs) from across the country.  

The winning submission will be announced at the 2019 National LTAP/TTAP Conference being held in Stowe, VT on August 12-15. Compete for national recognition and bragging rights!   

For more information about the TTAP competition, contact or call 833-484-9944 toll free. 

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