Conference to set deer-vehicle crash research agenda

MADISON - More than 1.5 million drivers nationwide last year collided with deer on roadways around the country, and the costs related to this growing problem total more than $1 billion each year.

On Oct. 24-25, nearly 70 researchers, administrators, engineers and ecologists from 20 states, Canada and Japan will meet in Madison to present findings and set a strategic agenda for deer-vehicle crash research, funding, technology transfer and education. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 24 and 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Madison Concourse Hotel, One West Dayton St.

Keith Knapp, a University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of engineering professional development and civil and environmental engineering, will announce at the meeting the creation of the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information and Research Center. Tapping experts in both transportation and ecology, it will pool the resources of participating agencies-currently, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin-to coordinate previously fragmented deer-vehicle crash and countermeasures research.

"One of the reasons for the center is that we've been implementing countermeasures throughout the United States for decades and don't know whether most of them even work," he says. "In many cases, we don't have very good data to define the significance and location of the problem."

In Wisconsin, for example, crews collected more than 48,000 deer carcasses from roadways in 2004, but drivers reported only about 19,000 location-specific deer-vehicle collisions to the police. "This type of underreporting of deer-vehicle collisions is typical throughout the United States," says Knapp.

Four years ago, in an attempt to reach a larger audience with more focused information, Knapp became director of the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information Clearinghouse, an organization that provides unbiased data and information related to deer-vehicle crashes and commonly implemented counterm

Contact: Keith Knapp
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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