Update of data sources on collisions involving motor vehicles and large animals in Canada

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TP 14798 E
June 2006

Prepared by:
L-P Tardif &Associates Inc.

Prepared for:   
Motor Vehicle Safety, Transport Canada

Table of Contents

List of Exhibits

Executive Summary

The issue of collisions between large animals and motor vehicles continues to pose particular road safety challenges. This report confirms that collisions between motor vehicles and large animals pose a threat to road safety and to our wildlife population. The report also supports the claim made in the 2003 report entitled: Collisions involving large animals and motor vehicles in Canada that there is an underestimation of the number of animal-vehicle collisions. In fact the Transport Canada data would appear to capture only 50% of the animal-vehicle collisions.

The literature review shows there is continuous attention being given to the issue of animal- vehicle collisions in North America. New research projects initiated by some high profile agencies, such as NCHRP and the US Federal Highway Administration, demonstrate the level of interest the issue is gathering in the United Sates. The literature also showed that the issue of underestimation seems to be recognized and acknowledged. This is also supported by an increased awareness regarding the need for data quality.

Along the same lines, new research points to the need for improved methods for recording animal-vehicle collisions. The Wildlife Accident Reporting System ( WARS ) developed by the British Columbia Transport Department is often mentioned as a model for data collection. The literature notes that data collection is often done by two and sometimes three different organizations within states and provinces. The use of a more common approach and/or technology is now being investigated in the United States.

The literature also showed that there has been continued development and testing of mitigation measures with some success with detection technologies ( e.g. Switzerland site with an 83% reduction in animal-vehicle collisions). The literature review also confirmed that, although much progress has been made in the identification of more universal mitigation measures, local conditions often demand custom-designed solutions.

The statistical review showed that, for some provinces, the data to provide complete coverage of the issue exists. This is the case for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The data from these provinces can help to truly understand the magnitude of the issue.

This report also confirms that over 95% of animal-vehicle collisions result in a collision with only property damage, and the property damage is often less than a few thousand dollars. This degree of severity, or lack thereof, may be the reason why is it sometimes difficult to motivate a sustained effort to address this issue.

Several mitigation measures are being implemented across Canada .We also noticed that British Columbia, which used to be at the forefront of the development of technological measures, seem to have opted for a greater focus on education and awareness.

1. Introduction

Collisions between motor vehicles and large animals, such as deer, bear and moose, have been attracting increasing attention with the deployment of new awareness initiatives and new mitigation technologies. Previous research undertaken by L-P Tardif & Associates for Transport Canada shows the number of reported animal-vehicle collisions to be underestimated. The 2003 report entitled: Collisions involving large animals and motor vehicles in Canada, noted underreporting may be as high as 50% in the case of collisions with injury and probably even higher in the case of animal-vehicle collisions with property damage only.

The objective of this report is to update the data and information contained in the first report.

2. Problem Statement

The previous report noted some discrepancies between provincial and federal databases. These discrepancies may be caused by a lack of reporting or a lack of uniform definitions. The previous report could not, however, obtain figures from all jurisdictions. This report will attempt to correct that deficiency and update the statistics and figures contained in the previous report.

3. Project Scope

This project is basically an update of the 2003 study. First, a literature review was completed focusing on reports and papers produced since 2003. As well, all provincial and territorial governments were contacted to obtain their most recent statistics. These databases were reviewed and compared to the Transport Canada database.

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