Bozeman Pass Wildlife Linkage and Channelization and Highway Safety Studies
Two different but related wildlife research projects on Interstate 90 at Bozeman Pass between Bozeman and Livingston, Montana are currently being conducted.
The first project, "Bozeman Pass Wildlife Linkage and Highway Safety Pilot Study" will evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife fencing that will be installed at the Montana Rail Link (MRL) overpass on I-90 near Bear Canyon. Data on wildlife crossings and animal-vehicle collisions will be collected before and after installation of the fencing in order to evaluate if the fencing reduces animal-vehicle collisions, as well as if animals maintain movements across the transportation corridor by traveling under I-90 through existing culverts and the MRL overpass.
The objective of the second project is to test the use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in addressing wildlife-vehicle conflicts on Bozeman Pass (Intelligent Transportation System Deployment Program Project Identification Number VIL.H.24, entitled "Bozeman Pass Wildlife Channelization ITS Project"). ITS are advanced technologies (such as highway advisory radio or electronic message signs) that can be installed on roads to improve safety or address other transportation issues that affect drivers. This project will address whether wildlife advisories on automated roadside message signs may help reduce animal-vehicle collisions. This effort includes a speed study and driver survey to quantify potential effects that wildlife advisory messages may have on speed and driver behavior. In addition, a driver simulator study will test how drivers respond to wildlife advisory messages, as well as how their speed influences the occurrence of an animal-vehicle collision.
Together, these two projects will provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of highway construction options and traveler information methods in reducing wildlife-transportation conflicts on Bozeman Pass. This information can be used for long term planning efforts to ensure that future highway construction promotes both wildlife protection and traveler safety.