Date of Award

8-2015

Document Type

Capstone-Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Program Name

Environmental Policy and Management

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Elizabeth D'Andrea

Abstract

In 2008, collisions were estimated to be between one and two million per year. In 2012, over 1.2 million insurable claims were filed for automobile damages resulting from wildlife vehicle collisions with ungulates. The wildlife collision problem continues on our highways. Collision data does not include uninsured claims, medium or small vertebrae, birds, amphibians or reptiles. Mitigation programs to reduce collisions are difficult to develop and assess with existing collision data, and collisions have increased since 2008. Eco-logical transportation planning and adaptive conservation management disciplines both require comprehensive information for improved decision making. This paper developed strategies for measuring quantitative losses as well as defining qualitative consequences of wildlife vehicle collisions. Pearson product moment analysis demonstrated a high correlation between hunting harvest takes and wildlife vehicle collision rates. A historical trend index, or C-Value, was developed for analysis of collision and harvest rates for each state. The index values demonstrated states where collision and harvest rates increased, decreased, or stabilized from 2007 to 2012. Examples from selected states whose index showed collision rate improvements provided insights for harvest management as a mitigation strategy. This analysis also demonstrated the need for additional data on collision occurrences, specifically for road and highway collision locations. Geospatial tools with enhanced collision location data points will facilitate essential collaborative conservation management and transportation planning mitigation efforts. Enhanced data will provide the means for targeted mitigation programs to increase compatibility of automobile transportation within our ecological system, ultimately, increasing public welfare and safety.

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