Application of KDE+ software to identify collective risk hotspots of ungulate-vehicle collisions in South Tyrol, Northern Italy
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Animal-vehicle collisions (AVC) with red and roe deer in South Tirol, norther Italy, count some 700 cases per year, with several socioeconomic and ecological implications. The Autonomous Province of Bolzano (South Tirol) is collecting, since 2012, AVC data on the entire provincial road network with the aim to identify the locations where AVC occur more frequently than expected (hotspots) and better define the further steps for the subsequent implementation of mitigation measures. For an effective and timesaving identification of AVC hotspots, we have applied a combined methodology of empirical observation of wildlife in the proximity of the road network and statistical analysis on AVC data. Provincial wildlife managers and hunting guards provided an updated knowledge on wildlife ecology and behaviour close to the different roads, while the KDE+ software applied on the 2012 – 2014 AVC database of the Bolzano Province allowed the statistical identification of the most risky hotspots for drivers. The integration of the results coming from different methodologies allowed for a better objective selection of significant clusters and for the risk ranking of the hotspots according to their significance and collective risks. A detailed assessment in the field would allow the identification of the local contributing factors and the prioritization of hotspots in order to allocate effectively limited resources to a feasible number of identified hotspots and reduce the current degree of AVC in the South Tirolean road network.