Roadkill. Actions to reduce road accidents along the green corridors of the Consortium of the Mountain Municipalities of the Verbano Valleys
The impact between wildlife and vehicles, also known as “roadkill”, is the cause of death of dozens of people every year in Italy, not to mention thousands of animals, which run this risk in order to reach nesting and feeding areas.
Istituto Oikos and the Consortium of Mountain Municipalities of the Verbano Valleys have joined forces to protect biodiversity in the Province of Varese, since new technologies and more responsible behaviours can ensure safer travelling, for everyone.
Roadkill, meaning the impact between wildlife and vehicles, keeps killing people and animals. This is the reason why in every Italian province an estimated number of 15,000 animals die every year. 81% of the reported victims are mammals (deers, wild boars, badgers, foxes and roe deers) hit while trying to reach places where they can reproduce and find food. Roads and rails constitute a true barrier across the corridors that animals use to move, thus reducing the ecological network and threatening the local biodiversity.
With Roadkill project, the Consortium of Mountain Municipalities of the Verbano Valleys and Istituto Oikos have involved 32 municipalities of the Verbano valleys, in the Province of Varese, in a very concrete initiative which entails the installation of innovative anti-collision systems in correspondence with green corridors where a higher number of accidents take place, digging a wetland as well as actions to protect the movement of frogs and toads.
The technology deployed brings together speed, heat sensors and motion detectors. These systems switch on when an animal is about to cross the road and a vehicle is approaching at high speed. A sound signal (i.e. cries, howling) frightens the animal leading it to avoid crossing until later, while an illuminated road sign warns the driver about the upcoming danger. These systems allow our staff to gather a lot of data such as the number of activations and videos filming animals behaviour, which help evaluating the effectiveness of such intervention.
Technical operations on the road run side by side with an awareness campaign to spread good driving habits, such as speed reduction, and to inform drivers about the places, periods and times of higher accident risk.