Examining patterns of animal-vehicle accidents in Alabama, USA
Animal-vehicle accidents (AVAs) cause animal death, human injury and vehicle damage. How to avoid or minimize AVAs is an open question. A systematic approach to uncovering the general patterns and mechanisms of AVAs with the consideration of roads, animals and drivers is necessary.
AVAs records in Alabama during 2001-2011 were used to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns.
The results indicate that there was a seasonal pattern with more than 50% of AVAs in winter time. There were two peaks in the frequency of AVAs in the diurnal pattern. Most AVAs happened on County highways but Interstate and Federal highways had higher number of AVAs per mile. Counties within metropolitan areas had more AVAs. After analyzing 1,000 cases randomly, it was found that approximately 74% of AVA sites were forested landscape on both road sides. At county level, there was a positive relationship between human population and the number of AVAs and a negative relationship between roadless volume and the percentage of AVAs. The implications for mitigating human and wildlife confliction are discussed.
For future road construction and planning, ecological knowledge should be applied.