Vegetation Management for Reduced Wildlife-Vehicle Conflict
Wildlife & Ecosystems
Wildlife-vehicle conflicts (WVC) are a major safety, mobility, and sustainability concern for transportation infrastructure. Cross-referencing WVC data across states with right-of-way (ROW) vegetation management may yield ROW maintenance recommendations that can benefit both the traveling public (safety) and wildlife (sustainability). Research could focus on particular widths of cleared ROW that may discourage ROW passage from various species, as well as the effectiveness of tapering vegetation towards potential wildlife passages (i.e., culverts, bridges, etc.) to maintain habitat connectivity and reduce the need for expensive fencing options.
According to a 2013 US DOT study, a single WVC occurrence limited to only property damage averaged $17,343. A possible human injury associated with WVC averaged $105,228 and skyrocketed to $9,395,247 with a human fatality. Fencing is an effective but expensive solution (installation and maintenance) for preventing WVC. Data-driven vegetation management may yield a much more cost effective solution for many states to reducing WVC and allow a more comprehensive solution to managing wildlife along state ROW.
Georgia Department of Transportation
June 4, 2019
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