Title:  GIS Analysis of Deer-Vehicle Collisions at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina
Author(s): Rakesh Malhotra, Paul E. Johns, Marguerite Madden, Gary R. Wein and Jim M. Novak, Univ. of Georgia
Year: 2000
Abstract: Deer-vehicle collisions are a common occurrence on highways of the Eastern United States. Although they occur year round, such collisions particularly are frequent during the fall deer rutting season. This study uses aerial photographs and GIs to analyze deer-vehicle collisions at the Savannah River Site (SRS), South Carolina. Being a restricted area, SRS personnel have collected accurate data on deer collisions that occurred from 1991 to 1999. Collisions were separated based on season to control for seasonal variability in deer behavior, and only collisions occurring in fall were selected for this analysis. Buffers of 820, 1640, and 3,280 ft were created around collision points. Information on vegetation, topography, presence of water bodies, and road conditions were derived from 1 :16,000 true-color and color infrared aerial photographs taken during the same time. These characteristics were then statistically compared to control values obtained for similar buffers around random points along roads. The analyses of data for 3 buffer zones provides us with information on the resolution of influencing factors, i.e., which factors influence deer-vehicle collisions, and at what distance from the collision does their influence wane. Results then are used to create a spatial model to identify conditions conducive to deer-vehicle collisions. The spatial model then is used to predict sites of high, medium, and low potential for future deer-vehicle collisions. It is hoped that by understanding spatial factors related to deer-vehicle collisions, management practices can be implemented to reduce such incidents by altering the conditions around areas with high potential for collisions.

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