Target: Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Goal: Invest in roadway technologies that save human and animal lives.
If you have never been personally caught in a roadway accident involving an animal, you likely know someone who has experienced this danger. An estimated one billion dollars in damages result from such collisions every year. The more tragic statistics, however, mark the number of lives lost: some human, but most overwhelmingly animal deaths. Larger animals such as deer may get the courtesy of having their bodies removed from roadways if only to prevent vehicle ‘obstruction’ or damage. The lives of so many other animals are reduced to gory splatters on roads and highways across America.
Animal crossings present a viable solution to preventable tragedies where wildlife and civilization collide. Utilizing the best minds in science, engineering, and transportation planning, animal crossing initiatives develop safe passages for animals living and traveling near busy roadways. These projects include fencing around particularly dangerous areas, as well as construction of bridges, overpasses, and underpasses. Studies have validated that animals ranging from bears to deer do make use of these structures when they are available, curtailing countless accidents and fatalities. More beneficial still, these structures let animals travel the distances they need in order to ensure the diversity and replenishment of their species.
While animal crossings have become increasingly popular around the world, their numbers still remain woefully underrepresented in North America. Sign this petition to encourage the Department of Transportation to give this investment in human and animal safety a more in-depth evaluation.
Dear Secretary Chao,
America spends billions of dollars on wildlife-related road accidents every year. Despite the loss of property and of life, a key tool in combating these preventable tragedies has not garnered the needed support. When an animal crossing initiative failed in Colorado despite its governor’s support, decision-makers cited cost as a major obstacle. Will these costs ever equal the losses already incurred, however, and the many more losses that will likely take place in the future?
Structures around the world, including one prominent structure in Alberta, Canada, are testament to the success of animal crossings in preventing roadway accidents and in helping wildlife flourish. Dedicated designers forge strong collaborations with highway planners, with conservation groups, with scientists and engineers, and with all interested parties in order to evaluate what works best. They also gather the necessary data to measure the effectiveness of these crossings, making maximum use of infrared cameras and other helpful technologies. The most important goal of these designers, though, lays in reaching out to the public and to policymakers about the benefit of these vastly underrepresented life-savers.
Please reach out in turn to discuss, collaborate, and ultimately implement a framework for wildlife crossing development nationwide.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: State Farm