Research Projects

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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2022 TOPIC AREA: Sustainability, energy, and health Transportation planning, policy, and finance Vehicles and infrastructure CENTER: PSR

Predicting Wildlife Use of Existing Highway Bridges and Culverts

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-22-49
Funding source: U.S Department of Transportation
Contract number: 69A3551747109
Total cost: $118,758.00
Performance period: 10/1/2022 to 9/30/2023

Project description

Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are paying increasing attention to wildlife connectivity needs across highways, which is reflected in the inclusion of $350 million in new funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. There are over 600,000 bridges along US highways, approximately 75% of which are over waterways and could be useful for wildlife connectivity. The purpose of this project is to develop an accessible model that DOTscan use to predict wildlife use of existing culverts and bridges and to look for cost-effective ways to increase wildlife use of existing structures. The research team will collaborate with the DOTsand/or Departments of Fish and Wildlife/Parks (etc.) of AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, ME, MT, NV, OH, OR, and VA, and the Alberta MOT to develop a predictive model for wildlife use of existing structures, based on evidence of use of these structures. The researchers will develop a statistical model using structure and near-landscape characteristics, modeled traffic noise, and evidence of wildlife use from camera traps and GPS collars. State DOTscould use the model to predict which structures are likely to be useful and which are not. This will assist their planning and programming wildlife connectivity enhancements for areas not served by existing structures.


Fraser Shilling
Co-Director, Road Ecology Center
1 Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616
United States
[email protected]