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Federal Lands Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Data Coordination

Project #: 4w6425
Start Date: 09/01/2016
End Date: 09/01/2017
Status: Completed

The final report summarizes the Phase I effort to develop a Federal Lands Wildlife-Vehicle Collision (WVC) Database for the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service. The agencies are seeking to coordinate the use of a WVC Data Collection System with other federal land management agencies (FLMAs) and with non-federal transportation agencies and other organizations and entities. Phase 1 of this project developed a pilot WVC system using an existing commercial mobile device application and its data storage and serving capabilities; this commercial system is available to all Department of Interior (DOI) agencies, but not to most other potential partners. It was customized for Phase I to collect WVC roadkill observations. Called ROaDS – Roadkill Observation and Data System – one of the capabilities of note is that the mobile device application includes, for experts, an auto-filling species list using the scientific names of all mammals, birds and herpetofauna found in the U.S. It has a simpler common name species list for non-experts. ROaDS has a safety feature that allows an observer to quickly lock in the exact location of the dead animal along the road and then move to a safer site, if needed, to fill in the data fields. It has an option to take one geo-synched photo of the animal. For quality assurance, a data field was created so the observer could indicate his/her confidence in species identification, so that NPS/FWS experts could review low confidence observations as well as all non-expert observations to assure the species identified were correct. Interviews of volunteers who conducted the beta-test of the system indicated, among other likes and dislikes of the ROaDS app, that they “liked” that they were not required to fill out every data field (many were optional) before their observation was accepted by the system, the geo-synched photo was easy to use, and they want the number of data fields (11) reduced in a Phase 2 version.


Although the NPS and FWS do not systematically collect road-related wildlife mortality data, a 2007 NPS service-wide survey of resource managers indicates that road-caused mortality significantly affects wildlife populations (Ament et al. 2008). In addition, based on the most recent NPS vehicle crash data that is available, nationally, the NPS experiences a higher rate of crashes involving wildlife as compared to other jurisdiction’s public roadways.

This project will facilitate coordination of FLMA and stakeholder WVC data collection by understanding existing processes and identifying data collection needs. The project will result in an assessment of existing data collection systems and the development of an Implementation and Sustainability Plan including FLMA recommendations for coordinating WVC data collection, reporting and analysis.

(This Phase 1 research effort comprised two projects led by separate researchers.  This project represents the research component led by Mike Wittie.)



The goal of the project is to facilitate Federal Land Management Agency (FLMA) coordination, specifically between the National Park Service (NPS) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), for collecting, storing, mapping, sharing, and analyzing WVC data, in coordination with surrounding transportation networks and entities.