Highway 63 Alberta Wildlife Watch Smartphone App
Animal-vehicle collisions represent at least 40 percent of all reported accidents on Alberta’s Highway 63, according to the Coalition for Safer 63/881. Alberta Transportation is committed to improving motorist safety by mitigating animal-vehicle collisions along this major transportation corridor. Tetra Tech developed the Alberta Wildlife Watch app to identify animal-vehicle collision locations (or hotspots) to support mitigation planning and design. With animal-vehicle collision hotspots identified, Alberta Transportation and Tetra Tech will design mitigation measures specific to the location and animal species of concern.
Alberta Wildlife Watch is the first known use of smartphone app technology by a provincial transportation department to monitor animal-vehicle collisions along highways. Before Alberta Wildlife Watch, detailed information regarding animal-vehicle collisions was lacking. Police reported animal-vehicle collisions for many years; however, the data invariably included large spatial inaccuracies, sizeable data entry requirements that were one to two years outstanding, and data entry errors. It was suggested that at least 50 percent of the animal-vehicle collisions go unreported. Lack of data presented the greatest challenge to designing effective animal-vehicle collision mitigation.
Alberta Wildlife Watch was the team’s solution to these existing challenges. It allows for multiple operators including the highway maintenance providers; increased spatial accuracy where animal-vehicle collisions are occurring; growth in the amount of data being collected; significant reporting improvement of the species involved; easy data storage and management; and real-time data entry and access to the data for analysis and quality control. It was designed specifically with the former collision reporting system limitations in mind.
Highway maintenance providers have been using Alberta Wildlife Watch to report roadkill and live animals observed along the highway since May 2014. Hotspots with higher wildlife and roadkill observations are emerging.
Once Alberta Transportation has implemented recommended mitigations, the app will continue to be used to monitor the effectiveness of the mitigations and any improvements to motorist safety. In addition, the significance of this application may extend into the future as it has been designed to be easily deployed to other provincial highways.