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Whether it’s a new gadget that maximizes efficiency or an innovative process that increases safety, reduces costs, or ensures quality of road maintenance and improvement projects, it’s typically the people on the front lines who discover the latest and best practices. 

New Jersey’s Build a Better Mousetrap Competition provides a great opportunity to share those new ideas with others! We are looking for submissions from employees of local or state public agencies (municipalities, counties, parks commissions, NJ Department of Transportation, NJ Transit) that have come up with innovative problem solutions or found better ways to do certain tasks.

Submissions must involve implemented products, procedures, or processes. We will gather the best ideas from around the state and judge them using a 5-point rating system.

Check out 2023’s Winner below!

State Winner

Judging Criteria

Based on the following criteria, a state winner will be selected from all of the local public agency entries, and that entry will be elevated to the National Build a Better Mousetrap Competition.

  • Cost
  • Savings/benefits to the community
  • Ingenuity and/or Innovation (innovation is more about the “new thing” or outcome, while ingenuity is more about how a problem is solved or the process)
  • Ease of transferability and likelihood of implementation
  • Effectiveness

Winners will be chosen in two categories: Operations and Organizational Improvement. This competition is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration’s Local Technical Assistance Program and Tribal Technical Assistance Program, and local public agency winners will be entered in the annual National LTAP/TTAP Conference. A state winner winner in each category will be selected from the NJDOT/NJT entries. and be presented at the Annual NJDOT Research Showcase.

How to Enter

If you have something you think would qualify for this competition, submit your entry by May 1. **The 2024 submission deadline has been extended to August 15, 2024.**

Please include a photo(s) or sketch of your project with submission.

Remember, this competition is open to employees of any local, county, or state public agency, including New Jersey Department of Transportation and New Jersey Transit. Two winners will be selected; one for the best local agency and another for the NJDOT/NJT Submission.

Download the entry form here!

The 2024 BABM Guidance book is also online. Check it out here!

Submit all entries by mail or email to:

New Jersey Local Technical Assistance Program
Rutgers CAIT
100 Brett Road • Piscataway New Jersey 08854

Questions? Contact: Janet Leli848-445-2906

Previous competitions

Looking for examples of innovations submitted in the past? Check out these previous entries from around the country!

2023 Mousetrap Entries Booklet

2023 Mousetrap Entries Video

2022 Mousetrap Entries Video

2021 Mousetrap Entries Booklet

2019 Mousetrap  Winners

2018 Mousetrap  Winners

2015 Mousetrap  Winners

2014 Mousetrap  Winners

2013 Mousetrap Winners

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