Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC), or roadkill, are recognized as a major threat to both wildlife and in certain areas to drivers. Standardizing the collection, management, and analysis of WVC/roadkill data is a critical need if those data are to be used in advanced decision-support system (e.g.,in geographic information systems) and result in costly mitigations. We describe the development of an app that advances the field of WVC data collection to also provide analytical services to the user. RoadkillApp (RKA) is an intuitive and powerful app to protect the millions of wild animals killed every year in the US on roads and help reduce the over 200 annual driver and passenger fatalities and hundreds of thousands of crashes per year involving wildlife. We believe the single most important way to have a lasting reduction in WVC is to drive adoption of an easy to use mobile reporting app. This in turn will drive increased reporting, which in turn will expand the amount of roadkill incident data, to enable delivery of intuitive and predictive analytics into the right hands.
As recommended by the 2020 paper “Designing wildlife-vehicle conflict observation systems to inform ecology and transportation study” (Shilling et al., 2020; Biological Conservation, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108797), with RKA we have taken the approach of capturing where, what, when, how and who of each WVC into as little as one click, the what, who, where, when are captured automatically. Reporting roadkill is the first and paramount step to achieving our mission to report, protect, recycle. Users can simply select the icon of the animal they’ve spotted and be done, however there are options to provide more information or photos.
We recognize that there is an unlimited number of stakeholders to roadkill incidents. Some are biologists studying migration patterns, other focused on safe transportation, and some for repurposing roadkill for materials and food. Because of this, RKA has designed smart notification features built into the RKA application. We have built in customizable profiles and rules to determine who, when and what information is provided. This flexible design accommodates unlimited scenarios to ensure proper handling, protection of impacted animals, and proper handling of a roadkill incident.
Aligned to another recommendation of the Shilling et al. 2020 paper to craft analytics based on peoples’ needs, we designed our analytics lenses based on specific users whether it be government transportation or wildlife organization or private citizens; each having their own set of reports, graphics and views. The RKA provides real-time, automated analytical services to users. This vertically-integrated approach to collecting and reporting out WVC data and results, according to users’ needs, provides a novel tool in the global ecosystem of WVC apps and should help drive the evolution of the field forward.