Wildlife-vehicle collisions have important impacts on both driver safety and biodiversity. To quantify the extent of this issue, identify affected species, detect spatial aggregation patterns, and inform road mitigation strategies, road mortality data have been collected more and more frequently in recent years and more often published in the literature. However, a large variety of data-collection methods and formats of data reporting have been used, limiting the application value of the data. For example, species of reptiles and medium-sized mammals are often not reported by highway patrol personnel. To allow for accurate replication of studies, consistent monitoring over long periods of time, and for comparison of results between different locations, road managers and researchers alike have highlighted a need for standardized data collection and data reporting (e.g., Collinson et al. 2014). This will allow for use of the results in international meta-analyses about road mortality and the effectiveness of mitigation measures. For example, in their meta-analysis on mitigation effectiveness, Rytwinski et al. (2016) were unable to include various studies due to ‘insufficient information’ provided. We address two research questions: (1) What are feasible and effective protocols for collecting road-mortality data that can be applied in a wide range of situations? (2) What characteristics of road mortality studies and survey results should be reported in a standardized format in reports and publications? We propose two standardized protocols, one by automobile and one by bicycle, which we developed for highways in Quebec, Canada. We explain the elements of the protocols such as survey frequency, equipment, safety measures (e.g., in relation to guardrails and sun glare), number of observers, vehicle speed, start-point rotation, carcass sizes, carcass removal, and highway access restrictions stated in permits. We discuss in what situations each protocol is suitable to be used and systematically compare their advantages, limitations, and weaknesses. For example, some important aspects of the vehicle protocol included using a vehicle at low speed (30 km/hour) in the emergency lane of a 4-lane highway, surveying on a regular schedule (10-day sessions) alternating between morning and evening surveys, and choosing different starting points at random. We propose a standard method to report study characteristics and survey results. We also compare our proposed standardized protocols with other protocols used in the literature and identify remaining research needs. We hope that these protocols address the call for a standardized data-collection method. – References: Collinson, W.J., et al. (2014): Wildlife road traffic accidents: A standardized protocol for counting flattened fauna. Ecology and Evolution 4(15), 3060–3071. - Rytwinski, T., et al. (2016): How effective is road mitigation at reducing road-kill? A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0166941.
Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC)