Preventing Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Researchers at Montana State University's Western Transportation Institute, way up in Bozeman, Mont., have developed a tool that could help state transportation officials take actions to prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions, such as installing wildlife fencing, crossing structures, or warning signs. More than a million such collisions occur across the country every year.

The researchers' Roadkill Observation Collection System consists of a rugged, waterproof, and dust-resistant handheld computer or personal digital assistant equipped with GPS technology and customized software to make it easy for road crews to collect accurate information about wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs). The resulting database was tested successfully in 2010 and 2011, according to DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, which supports the research and posted an article about it early this month.

The database benefits transportation and resource agencies by identifying high-risk road segments in a new way. (Departments that have collected WVC data have done so sporadically in written records, so this method is new.)

According to RITA, the WTI team recently completed a third phase of research, "which achieved goals related to managing, sharing, visualizing, and analyzing the data. New components include an internet-based means of storage and retrieval of data, and desktop software (via a browser interface) to place data on maps or download data to programs for analysis." Sponsors of this phase included FHWA and the Deer Vehicle Crash Information and Research Center, a 10-state pooled fund study. New York and Iowa, two of those states, tested the system during 2010 and 2011.

Posted by Jerry Laws on Mar 14, 2012