People involved in the transportation industry often find better ways to do their jobs. Whether it’s a new gadget that improves the quality and safety of a project, or an innovative process that reduces costs and improves efficiency, it is typically the people on the front lines who discover the latest and best practices.
The FHWA’s Office of Innovative Program Delivery – Center for Local Aid Support sponsors the ‘Build a Better Mousetrap’ competition every year. The competition highlights innovative solutions to everyday problems and issues that local and county transportation workers and other LTAP/TTAP clients encounter. They can be anything from the development of tools, equipment modifications, and/or processes that increase safety, reduce cost, improve efficiency, and improve the quality of transportation.
Judging for the competition incorporates (1) cost, (2) savings or benefits to the community, (3) ingenuity and innovation, (4) ease of transferability, and (5) effectiveness. Each state’s LTAP is eligible to submit its state winner to FHWA for the national competition. The Nevada state winner for 2018 comes from the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority’s Blake McBroom. Blake’s submittal is for improvements to a pavement striper machine. Improving on a manual adjustment that was awkward, time consuming and erratic, Blake and his team installed an electric screw assembly that allows the operator to adjust the paint spray using a switch. A brief video shows the Electrically Actuated Paint Gun Adjustment System.