Integrated PDA/GPS System to Collect Standardized Road-Kill Data - Phase 3

Primary Investigator Contact Information

Rob Ament

External Project Contact(s)

Roger Surdahl
  • Federal Highway Administration - Federal Lands Highway Division
  • 12300 West Dakota Avenue, Suite 210
  • Lakewood, Colorado 80228
  • 720-963-3768
  • roger.surdahl@fhwa.dot.gov


  1. Roadkill Observation Collection System (ROCS): Phase III Development
    1. Robert Ament, Doug Galarus, Daniel Richter, Kelvin Bateman, Marcel Huijser, and James Begley
    2. 4W1824_Final_Report_Phase3.pdf

Project Objective

The objective of this project is to conduct a third phase of development of the Roadkill Observation Collection System, specifically to develop software, servers, and protocols that will facilitate transfer, storage and analysis of the data.

Project Abstract

Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) are becoming a larger component of overall crashes on U.S. roads, now representing approximately 5% of all collisions. In order to plan efforts to reduce WVCs, it is important to develop an accurate roadkill data collection system that efficiently gathers, stores, retrieves, maps, and analyzes data for transportation and natural resource agencies. Despite all the advancements that have been made in information technologies, most data on wildlife-vehicle collisions is still collected in sporadic efforts using a pen and paper or as an added task for highway patrol officers, park rangers or other traffic accident personnel. The information is difficult for users to analyze because of limited standardization and inconsistent or often poor spatial resolution. The Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University (WTI) has been working with the Federal Highway Administration and several state departments of transportation to develop a tool to help standardize accurate data collection of wildlife vehicle collision occurrences. This tool, called the Roadkill Observation Collection System (ROCS), integrates a handheld computer or personal digital assistant (PDA) with a global positioning system (GPS) that is supported by customized software to aid in easy, spatially accurate and consistent wildlife-vehicle collision data collection. Phase 1 of this research resulted in the successful development of a prototype system; Phase 2 consisted of field testing in five states plus Canada. This project represents Phase 3 of ROCS development to address additional needs, which include an internet based means of storage and retrieval of data, desktop

Task Descriptions

  1. Development of Software for Hand-held Units
    1. Researchers will develop software for the PDA-GPS units that will facilitate the uploading of data to PCs and a central repository.
  2. Development of New Desktop Software
    1. Researchers will develop desktop software for the ROCS system to allow for easy visualization of data on maps or other images, as well as for summarizing data, conducting analyses and completing reports.
  3. System Test
    1. To test the system enhancements, researchers will upload data that was collected by multiple field study test locations to the central repository server. They will test the system’s capabilities to store, retrieve, and analyze the data, as well as to produce a sample report.
  4. Development of New Data Collection Modules
    1. Researchers will develop software modules for the hand-held units so they are capable of multiple data collection functions that have been identified by agency users (i.e., roadkill, maintenance, accidents, culverts, etc.)
  5. Development of a Central Server
    1. System developers will create a central repository computer or server that will securely store and disseminate digital data from multiple agencies and/ or multiple jurisdictions within the same agency.
  6. Development of Protocols and Firewalls
    1. Researchers will design security features that control access to data in the central repository, as well as make the data readily available to participating state and federal agencies or other authorized organizations for reports and analysis.

Milestones, Dates, Schedule

Start Date:9/6/2007
End Date:11/28/2008
Extended Date:3/31/2011

Student Involvement


Relationship to Other Research Projects


Technology Transfer Activities


Transportation Research Board Keywords

Road Ecology, wildlife-vehicle collisions, standardized data collection


US Department of Transportation, FHWA, Deer Crash Pooled Fund, member states include: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Texas, New York, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington, USDOT, Research and Innovative Technologies Administration (University Transportation Center program)