Innovative Strategies To Mitigate Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Montana is known for it’s beautiful wildlife, which is a major drawpoint for tourists. Wildlife-related activities generate around $100 million in tax revenue for the state.

Sadly, collisions with motor vehicles are common. According to State Farm Insurance, Montana ranks second for vehicle collisions with deer, elk and moose. Around 13,300 deer are hit by a car in Montana each year, adding up to around $79.8 million in car repairs and other costs, or $6,000 per collision. Costs are even higher per vehicle for elk and moose at $17,000 and $30,000 respectively.

Wildlife organisations are advocating more overpasses and underpasses for wildlife to reduce this risk, which are around 86% effective. These generally cost around $1 to $2 million to build and help animals migrate across the country safely. When compared to the cost of lives and vehicle damage over the years, it makes sense to invest in this area.

During the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation, the science behind wildlife-vehicle mitigation tactics was discussed. Speakers presented on ways to improve the coexistence of road infrastructure and wildlife habitats.

Innovation and research is necessary to further mitigate wildlife-vehicle collisions, including tracking wildlife movements and improving animal detection systems and road design. Currently, the most effective measures, with a 100% success rate, are elevated roadways and road tunnels, yet they are very costly to implement.

Canada and other states are implementing innovative strategies, including the highway built through Banff National Park, which ensured that nearly every mile of road had at least one passage for wildlife. This has reduced collisions by over 80 percent. Working with other states and identifying opportunities to address this issue will bring benefits for the animals, humans and the Montana’s economy.

While Montana does not have a state research and development tax credit, companies creating new knowledge in an attempt to solve a problem are likely eligible for the federal research and development tax credit. To find out whether your activities qualify, contact Swanson Reed R&D Consultants for a free assessment.

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