Wildlife crossings stop roadkill. Why aren’t there more?

Wildlife crossings stop roadkill. Why aren’t there more?


When you’re driving down the highway it’s hard to avoid a deer because you never know when it’s coming. By the do time you see it, it’s often too late. But what if there were crossings for animals
just like the ones used by humans? In some places, planners have built exactly that and data shows that animals are using them, which means that close calls like this are far less likely to happen. Hitting an animal is a risk anywhere roads
are built through animal habitats. And as more roads are built, there are more
opportunities for collisions. According to a 2008 study commissioned by
the US Congress, the number of animal vehicle collisions was increasing. Experts blamed the rise on more vehicle miles traveled combined with a growing North American
deer population. But the official tally excludes accidents
that have less than $1,000 in property damage. If you account for minor collisions, unreported
accidents and other variables, experts estimate at least one million
collisions with large animals meaning deer, elk, and moose occur every year in the United States. And while animal vehicle collisions rarely
cost lives, they do cost money. In the US, wildlife vehicle collisions cost
over $8 billion dollars every year. Money that is spent on vehicle repairs, medical
costs, and other expenses. And although humans tend to survive, animals
often get killed. In the same report, researchers found that
vehicular traffic threatened 21 endangered including the bighorn sheep. In some places, highway planners
have solved the problem by building fences to keep animals off the road. A relatively cheap solution
that has been proven to reduce roadkill by over 50%. But although fencing reduces roadkill,
it neglects a wider problem: Besides the risk of collision, roads harm
animals by dividing wildlife populations and limiting their ability to find mates, food,
and other necessities of life. In Canada, wildlife scientist Tony Clevenger has been studying how road construction affects animals in Banff National Park. “It can have important impacts
on the reproductive success because females aren’t being
able to access important spring habitat because they are not crossing the highway, So it’s important that we maintain these
movements and we maintain this access to the important biological resources
throughout the year and wildlife crossing structures do that.” Beginning in the 1980s, authorities began installing a system of underpasses and overpasses in Banff. The structures were for animal use only and were located where animals were likely
to cross the road. “The data speaks for itself, for example here on the Trans-Canada Highway
in Banff National Park there were on average more than one hundred
elk-vehicle collisions per year before the fencing and the wildlife crossing structures and now it’s down to less than a half dozen. So these are huge reductions by having these
mitigation measures in place that are improving motorist safety, they are saving lives, and also, in a protected area like Banff National Park, it’s important because the objective of this National Park is to protect wildlife.” Instead of blocking the road entirely, planners used fences to funnel wildlife
towards the crossing structures, which were planted with native vegetation. A few species, like deer, elk, and moose,
immediately started using them and were followed by more skeptical species,
like wolves and grizzlies. Within a few decades, even the most reluctant species, like lynx, had adapted to using the crossings. In 2012, a male grizzly was recorded crossing
the structures 66 times in one summer. By crossing the highway, the bear’s habitat
expanded to include potential mates on the other side of the road, which decreases the
likelihood of inbreeding. “What we’ve been able to show is that, by
having these overpasses and underpasses in place, we’ve restored genetic connectivity across the highway
here in Banff National Park.” Wildlife crossing structures are fairly common
in some parts of the world, particularly in Western European countries
like the Netherlands. But there are relatively few in North America and the success of the Banff crossings has
encouraged similar projects in The United States, like this rendering of an overpass being built
in Washington State. And in 2012, The Wyoming Department of Transportation built an overpass that reconnected an ancient migration route
of the pronghorn antelope. So, if these crossings are improving safety
and restoring habitats, why aren’t they everywhere? “Probably the biggest factor that would limit
construction of wildlife crossings is cost and having the funding within the
transportation agency budgets to build these wildlife crossing structures.”. Structures can save money in the long run, but the initial investment is significant. Constructing an overpass like this one in
Banff typically costs several millions of dollars. So to create more cost-effective solutions, Clevenger organized a design competition with a group of experts that included
ecologist Nina-Marie Lister. They named it “ARC”: short for “animal road crossing”. Instead of adapting traditional plans
from highway engineers, ARC encouraged different stakeholders
to collaborate on structure design. “There had to be a landscape architect, an architect, and an engineer, as well as ecologist. And so for the first time ever, you had a very different way of designing a structure and we asked for them to be ecologically sustainable. They had to consider materials that were recyclable, reusable, or modular and moveable. The contest was a success and ARC generated
groundbreaking solutions, including a winning design that reduced costs
and improved safety by removing the need for pillars on the highway. “The cost of that overpass was about 30-35%
cheaper than overpasses that were being built at the same time
in Banff National Park.” The state of Colorado agreed to build the
design, but more immediate needs, including a flooding event in 2013,
have prevented development. “…you can see entire roads washed out.” The design was never built, but
that doesn’t mean it won’t be. As climate change strains ecosystems
and reduces habitats, animals will change their patterns of movement and the need for effective crossings
will become even more acute. To solve the problem, Lister hopes that
planners will return to the ARC designs, which remain viable solutions. “These things work and they solve the problem
once and for all.” “It’s done. Problem solved.”

100 Replies to “Wildlife crossings stop roadkill. Why aren’t there more?”

  1. I used to always cry whenever I saw a dead animal on the road. I really hope they build more if those wildlife roads.

  2. Can’t auto insurance companies be encouraged to chip in? I mean, it will likely reduce claims and god knows that reduction won’t be passed on to the customers through cheaper rates.

  3. You could spend 50% less and get it done in half the time if you didn't have to use union workers.

  4. I only saw those in eastern germany yet. I thought they are build to prevent the wild living east germans to run in front of our precious west german cars, causing scratches in the paint.

    Thanks for clearing that up!

  5. The statement in this video and although the vehicle collisions don't cost lives they do cost money.
    And that's where the tax man comes in and doesn't care about it because all those collisions there is a tax collected on them at the body shop or auto dealership.

    They have blinking lights setup in Texas on this roadway where if an animal crosses a certain line these lights come on and warn people that there's animals in the area.

  6. For all of those complaining about Republicans and Democrats in the government not building enough of these structures, you do realize that roads are a locally funded thing right? And you do realize that it comes in the form of taxes right? If you want more of these structures builds, then you need to be willing to pay more taxes. Part of the reason those structures aren't being built in Colorado is because Colorado has an unique law where the state congress can't raise taxes without consent from the people. Well who the hell wants to pay more taxes? As a result we have some of the worst roads in America because taxes keep going down but they won't go back up. Sometimes doing the right thing means being willing to pay more for it.

  7. Because they are animals you cant train all of them to go over or under a crossing. Additionally id rather have better healthcare coverage than have this be eating up my taxes.

  8. I'd rather use that money building animal bridges to build more car/pedestrian bridges. They're way more useful

  9. the biggest hinderance in building these crossings is cost??!! BUT CAN WE AFFORD TO LOSE THE ANIMALS THOUGH????????

  10. you know that animals still get hit regardless, right? barely any of them use these, i'd rather see tax money go to improving the roads than something animals don't use

  11. what do you mean "don't cost lives" then you just say "animals often get killed" sounds like it's costing lives to me

  12. I feel bad for the animals, they look like theyre the one borrowing the space and just force to deal with humans.

  13. It's pretty said they're so obtimistic about the one they ALMOST built in Colorado. You know how many roads the US has…?

  14. Those crossings can be smaller, cheaper bridges too. The crossing does not have to have a forest on top of it, just suitable cover, like gravel. It's a crossing after all.

  15. We got some of those awesome bridges. and placed that dont got signs wich most of the time u have to slow down and watch out extra carefull

  16. I live in Canada and I’ve seen those animal bridges and have wondered what they’re for but now I know 🙂

  17. I love those wildlife crossings in Banff. They're beautiful as well as useful. I'm very proud to live near them.

  18. I feel like insurance companies would be into funding these. It can probably save the alot of money if they built these

  19. Why don’t we just shoot the animals before they even make it to the road?

  20. Or just build tunnels underneath the earth's crust, add wifi and full electric driven cars. Less accidents from wildlife, and weather.

  21. It's a great idea, but keep in mind; so far it's not even proven yet that these work. I live in the Netherlands and the government spent about half a billion on I think like 80 of these crossings. Over here there were a lot of complaints and doubts too about spending this much money, extensive research has been going on, but a decade later there is still no scientific proof that it actually helps. This video shows 1 guy talking about a specific group in a specific park so I can't judge on that; in general, there's plenty of doubt of the effectiveness.

    As far as just the road kills go; cheap fencing reduces road kill by 54% and there are options to make the fencing better. These costly crossings without fencing DON'T reduced road kill, fencing is WAY more effective. A crossing + fencing reduced road kill more (quite a bit for larger animals, slightly for smaller animals), but for that it's a very expensive option, with better alternatives.

    One of the sources: SAFEROAD (Final report)

  22. Ok, the first example is straw picked. That is a horribly designed road with multiple distractions outside of deer. Take it from a guy who lives in a state with more deer than people (wyoming) there are easier and cheaper ways of protecting roads against wildlife strikes. Step 1: make a path wider than the road. The first example the trees come right up to the road, meaning drivers have absolutely no idea either or not an animal is coming. 2: reduce speed limits if the trees/obstructions cannot be removed, give drivers more time to react. 3: don't punish people for using their brights. A vast majority of animal strikes happen at dawn or dusk, and allowing the use of bright headlights increases the chances of drivers being able to see the animal, and react appropriately. (Night speed limits are also am option, forcing drivers to reduce speed, again giving them more time to react)

  23. But what if some lion blocked that Bridge in hunt of deers and eat them when they cross . This will force the deer to cross from a different road . Can't we humans can make Flyover their instead of roads ?

  24. The idea of building a bridge for animals to cross in a great and smart idea!
    This saves a lot of money from accidents and insurances and most of all it saves
    both people and especially the animals because they have no forms of protection at
    all unliked people are protected in cars.

    I'm so happy for the ideas and for the animals.
    Thank you sir and hats off to you!

  25. It's weird that in USA you can even build highway without overpasses or underpasses for animals. Here in the EU you wouldn't even get your plans approved if there are no proper passes for animals and no fencing. Both are mandatory for all highways and less, but still required on expressways.

  26. How about we just make every road covered by natural domes and 1 way glass for us to see out and filters for clean air in spaces where animals will cross?

  27. How about just build the roads underground so the sourface won't be affected

    We did it boys animal colluisons is no more

  28. I wish they had these in my area. One of the most gruesome things I ever saw was a dead deer on the road. It was near a stop light, and my mom had stopped in just the right place in line for me to get a closer look. My window was down, and I saw that it was hit by a car. Its guts were spilled, and there were flies all over it. It’s obvious my city doesn’t care about these types of things.

  29. '
    oh no…
    stop watch this at 117…

    why why put currency numbers in here video…
    wild life animals are always fully FREE FREE

  30. I think underpass would be less costly.and it doesn't have to be too wide. Just 10feet in large and 10feet in height.

  31. The animals and people aren’t the client. They are the subject. The client is the government or who is paying. No?

  32. If only countries would be more mindful when dividing borders by just drawing lines in the sand like the way we build roads across animal habitats…… Looking at you, Arab States. Time to redraw the borders better, or have no borders if that's best for everyone.

  33. The problem is that they put all the deer crossings on the busiest roads in the US. Why can’t they just put them on less busy roads?

  34. As a resident of Washington state, I did not know there was an animal road crossing here but that makes me very happy.

  35. Im not sure exactly how all that government tax stuff works, but should the people get to take votes on what things to spend at least a portion of our tax money on?

  36. Since this video Colorado has built multiple of these crossings. I’ve seen a few of them not sure if they were the specific design mentioned in the video though.

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