Talk Increased understanding of the extent of road kills in central Italy and development of a new prevention technology – results from a 4year LIFE project

In Italy road mortality is a severe problem (Dinetti 2010), which concerns round 1.5 million animals each year (based on Guccione et al. 2008). Especially the collisions that involve large animals represent an economic problem for the authorities in charge of damage compensation, and are also a reason of concern for the safety of drivers, in fact in Italy from 1995 to 2005 over 150 persons have been killed due to an accident caused by wildlife.

In this country first single initiatives have started targeting this issue but the problem is still increasing. This is also due to the fact that no coherent regulations exist to support the appropriate management of the road mortality issue.

The LIFE STRADE Project “Demonstration of a system for the management and prevention of traffic collisions with wildlife” (2013-2017) ( has now entered its last year and during its implementation several different aspects regarding the management of road mortality have been addressed:

  1. A first large-scale and standardized monitoring of the road mortality has been made on 250 km, in three Regions in Central Italy. This data, together with the analysis of the official statistics on road mortality, are crucial towards the understanding of the extent of the problem in central Italy.  This information has been used to develop risk maps for the roads of the project area (40.000 km2). This will be a fundamental tool for the authorities in future management and prevention decisions.
  2. An opinion and knowledge assessment on 1.000 interviewees has revealed that 1. the general public is poorly aware about the road mortality issue and its implications, 2. most people believe that the most effective way to reduce this problem is to improve the road sign system, whereas only few people are aware of the importance of an adequate driving behavior. This result calls for adequate communication activities in this field.
  3. An innovative technology for the prevention of road mortality on hot spot road tracks was developed. This system registers the presence of animals near the road, alerts the drivers, and if the car does not reduce speed to an acceptable level it deters the animal with an acoustic scaring device. The advantage of this system is on the one hand that it does not represent a barrier for wildlife, and on the other hand that both drivers and animals are alerted only in specific critical conditions. Therefore the risk of habituation of drivers to the alert signal, and of the animal to the scaring sounds is minimized. The results of this experimentation are very encouraging.
  4. The problems in the legal background were identified, and a first official agreement about common necessary monitoring and management provisions has was signed between the involved authorities.
  5. All these activities were accompanied by a large-scale public awareness programme.

The project has set some very important first knowledge and management steps, and has provided many extremely important lessons. These are now being disseminated to authorities in the rest of the country.


Guccione M., Gori M., Bajo N., 2008. Tutela della connettività ecologica del territorio e infrastrutture lineari, ISPRA, Rapporti 87/2008.

Dinetti M., 2010. Habitat fragmentation due to transportation infrastructure: the state of the art in Italy. In "Improving connection in a changing envirnent" 2010IENE International  Conference on Ecology and Transportation 27th September-1th October, 2010, Velence Ungary. pag 79.

Road kills, monitoring, prevention, GIS, dissuasion, awareness raising, policies