The Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction and Habitat Connectivity Pooled Fund Study

 (PFS), TPF-5(358), seeks to identify cost-effective solutions that integrate highway safety and mobility with wildlife conservation and habitat connectivity.

Wildlife Vehicle Collision banner
Seasonal warnings signs reduce AVCs 9-50%

Animal vehicle collision reduction and habitat connectivity
Pooled Fund Study – Literature review

Objective

The objective of this project is to identify cost-effective solutions to reduce wildlife vehicle collisions, for implementation by state departments of transportation.

Abstract

The objective of this project is to identify cost-effective solutions to reduce wildlife vehicle collisions, for implementation by state departments of transportation. Through a Transportation Pooled Fund, the WTI team will synthesize current knowledge from the US, Canada, and internationally; improve the cost benefit analyses of mitigation measures; field test improved designs and technologies; and coordinate and provide outreach to TPF partners and their stakeholders. Deliverables will include a Best Practices Manual for state DOTs.

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Presentation Recording:

Direct road mortality is a major threat to the survival of 22 threatened or endangered species in the U.S. or certain populations of that species

Incorporating wildlife passive use values in collision mitigation benefit-cost calculations

This document addresses the potential use of passive use economic values for wildlife to inform the mitigation of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Passive use, also known as non-use values, are the values individuals place on the existence of a given animal species or population as well as the bequest value of knowing that future generations will also benefit from preserving the species. This report provides a summary of the current literature of wildlife passive use value estimates and provides per-animal passive use values for selected species and populations. Additionally, an example of applying these values to a Montana road segment is outlined. Finally, a discussion of regional economic impacts of mitigation structure spending is outlined.

Incorporating deer and turtle total value in collision mitigation benefit-cost calculations

Objective

This project will develop total value estimates for wildlife in a collision mitigation context. Total values include not only direct use such as hunting and viewing but also passive use values (biological conservation values).

Abstract

Wildlife-vehicle collisions and the associated damage and economic costs that result have been increasing in recent years . Damage caused by collisions with large ungulates (deer, elk, and moose) represent substantial costs in terms of vehicle damage as well as human injury and death. In ongoing efforts to mitigate these collision-caused damages and costs, there has been significant research aimed at identifying and estimating the extent of these collision costs. While the costs of adopting or constructing collision mitigation structures is generally easily measured, estimating the benefits of successful mitigation measures is less so. Factors necessary to understand the benefits of collision mitigation include considerations of the type of animal(s) involved in collisions, average costs associated with vehicle damage, human injury and death, as well as any lost value of the animal killed. In past studies the values associated with collision avoidance related to the injured/killed animals has been limited to easily identifiable direct use values of the animals, such as the value of the animal as hunted species. A second component of wildlife value heretofore omitted from the cost-benefit analysis of the cost-effectiveness of mitigation measures is passive use value for the animals. This project will develop total value estimates for wildlife in a collision mitigation context. Total values include not only direct use such as hunting and viewing but also passive use values (biological conservation values). The proposed research will focus on two specific species groups within the state of Minnesota: deer and turtles. Minnesota has been identified as a state providing a site with both widespread aquatic habitat and turtles, as well as being one of the states with the highest rate of damage from deer-vehicle collisions.

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A comparison of elk-vehicle collisions patterns with demographic and abundance data in the central Canadian Rocky Mountains.​

Objective

The objective of this project is to describe the patterns and processes that result in highway accidents involving elk, in order to provide transportation planners with the design of effective mitigation strategies in areas where elk is a dominant species.

Abstract

Since the mid-1970s, collisions between vehicles and large herbivores on the major roads in Canada’s mountain parks have been a concern for Parks Canada management. In response to increase collisions, Parks Canada initiated the construction of wildlife crossing structures and wildlife-exclusion fencing along the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) in the 1980s. These measures have been successful in reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs), but WVCs involving elk (EVCs) in unmitigated areas remain a problem. EVCs contribute to 27% of wildlife related accidents in the Central Canadian Rockies, and are expected to increase as traffic volumes increase. The objective of this project is to describe the patterns and processes that result in highway accidents involving elk, in order to provide transportation planners with the design of effective mitigation strategies in areas where elk is a dominant species. The research team will explore age and sex patterns in EVCs, demography and condition of elk that were killed, seasonality of EVCs, EVC rates, traffic volumes, elk abundance, and other data to identify patterns and characteristics of these collisions.  

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Additional Resources

Fiber-reinforced polymer wildlife crossing infrastructure​

Objective

The research will identify cost-sensitive and environmentally friendly fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) materials and systems suitable for bridge superstructure elements that can be used for both wildlife and bike/ped crossings.  The project will seek to develop a system whereby the foundation and the FRP superstructure is interchangeable with different treatments of decking that specifically addresses the needs of wildlife, bicyclists and/or pedestrians. This research will reduce the impact of wildlife collisions in rural areas and improve motorist safety through the use of innovative FRP materials for the superstructure of the bridge. The modularity of FRP bridges will also make safer travel for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Abstract

Ecologists and engineers are constantly exploring new methods and adapting existing techniques to improve mitigation measures that increase motorist safety and wildlife species conservation. Crossing structures, combined with fences, are some of the most highly effective mitigation measures that are employed around the world due to their ability to not only reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) with large animals and increase motorist safety, but they also provide an additional benefit that other measures don’t, they help maintain habitat connectivity across transportation networks for many types and sizes of wildlife. Published research on bridge designs and materials for wildlife crossings is limited and suggests relatively little innovation has occurred. Given wildlife crossing structures are a critical contribution to highway mitigation strategies for reducing WVCs while also providing for habitat connectivity, species movement and migrations, the need for new, resourceful, and innovative techniques is warranted. This research explores the promising application of fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) to wildlife crossing structures. If FRP structural designs can meet all bridge specifications set by transportation agencies and prove to have less expensive life cycles, they will provide a new approach that is more efficient, more quickly deployed, lasts longer, requires less maintenance and is ultimately more adaptable than traditional materials. This project explores what is know about FRP bridge structures and materials that can be adapted for use in crossing structures over highways for wildlife and, by extension, for bicyclists and pedestrians as well.

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Efficacy and cost-savings of fencing and wildlife crossings to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions in the Bow River Valley, Alberta Canada​

Work In Progress

Wildlife barriers at fence ends and at access roads, and wildlife jump-out design ​

Work In Progress

Long-term responses of an ecological
community to highway mitigation measures​

Work In Progress

Final Report, TPF-5(358) Task 1 Project SYNTHESIS​

Work In Progress

Best Practices Manual

Work In Progress

Permeability of large underpasses to wildlife: effects of ledges and addition of structure for facilitating movement of small mammals and herpetofauna (USGS)​

Work In Progress

The effectiveness of an elevated road segment to reduce road mortality and maintain connectivity between wetlands and uplands: Case study with the Yosemite toad (USGS)​

Work In Progress

Partners