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V1 Media, the publisher of Informed Infrastructure Magazine, is an approved AIA continuing-education provider. AIA-approved courses are a valid form of Learning Units (LU) and Professional Development Hours (PDH) for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries via self-learning courses in all states.

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Design Considerations for Wildlife Crossings

Course Information

The term “wildlife crossing” describes a variety of structures that are designed or retrofitted to provide safe passage for wildlife above or below a highway. Although wildlife crossing structures are not standardized designs, they can be categorized as two major types: overpasses and underpasses. Structures often are built in combination with fencing to increase their effectiveness.

Each crossing is designed to serve the target species for a specific location or accommodate the majority of species in an area. When wildlife crossing structures are designed for motorist safety, the target species typically are large ungulates such as moose, elk or deer. Other wildlife crossings are designed for species with high conservation concern, such as salamanders, desert tortoises, flying squirrels or kit foxes.

Throughout the United States, increased traffic volumes through areas with high animal populations often leads to increases in wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs). This not only affects wildlife mortality but also becomes a significant issue for motorist safety. With safety being the top objective for transportation agencies across the country, implementation of wildlife crossings has become a greater priority in the United States and especially in the West. Since 1990, U.S. overall traffic collisions have been reduced slightly, while WVCs have increased by roughly 5 percent per year, doubling from 1990 to 2008.

This increase in WVCs has significant associated costs in terms of human injuries, fatalities and property damage. Figure 1 provides some details regarding WVCs in the United States and their corresponding human injuries, fatalities and property damage costs.


Timothy Miller, Michael Jambor and Daniel Wasniak, P.E.

Learning Objectives

– Understand the benefit of wildlife crossings

– Evaluate the considerations that go into the planning and design, and will affect the feasibility of wildlife crossings

– Recognize the benefits of buried bridges for wildlife crossings


This Professional Development Section provides an opportunity to earn continuing-education credit without cost. Take a look at the learning objectives, read this sponsored article, and complete the quiz at

Answers to the quiz will automatically be calculated. If eight or more of the questions are answered correctly, participants can immediately download a certificate of completion and be awarded 1.0 professional-development hours (equivalent to 1.0 continuing-education units in most states).

V1 Media is an approved provider of the American Institute of Architects’ Continuing Education System (AIA/CES). It is up to each licensee to determine if this credit meets their governing board’s registration requirements.

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