West-Wide Study

West-Wide Study to Identify Important Highway Locations for Wildlife Crossings


Map of 11 States in the West-Wide StudyThe Center for Large Landscape Conservation is pleased to share valuable new tools to help make the West a safer, better-connected landscape for humans and wildlife! 

The West-Wide Study to Identify Important Highway Locations for Wildlife Crossings is a report and associated mapping website produced to support planning by transportation and wildlife agencies and other stakeholders. These tools help identify important road segments where the implementation of cost-effective wildlife crossings would be helpful to address human safety, ecological connectivity, and other conservation values. It analyzes the eleven U.S. western contiguous states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. 

West Wide Report CoverThe study is one of the first to look at all western states with a consistent methodological approach. It identifies road segments that: 

  • have high rates of wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) that cause wildlife mortality and threaten motorist safety,
  • are located in landscapes important for ecological connectivity,
  • that have other conservation values such as the proximity of threatened and endangered species’ critical habitat, public lands, or privately conserved lands,
  • that potentially create barriers to wildlife movement due to high traffic volume, and/or
  • have high rates of return for investments based on new, updated economic data on WVCs and wildlife crossings.

In addition to examining the 11 states together, the study mapped and analyzed each state separately (found in Appendix) to further help state agencies and their partners. 

Mapping Website: An accompanying interactive mapping website allows users to examine the results of the analyses at a variety of scales, select different layers of interest, and download the data. 

Flyer: Read a 2-page description of the West-Wide Study and a summary of key findings.

The Center partnered with Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute and Conservation Planning Technologies (EXP) to develop, analyze, write, and coordinate this study. 

Download Report


Western Transportation Institute

Suggested citation: Paul, K., J. Faselt, A. Keeley, M. Bell, M.P. Huijser, D. Theobald, and R.J. Ament. 2023. West-wide study to identify important highway locations for wildlife crossings. Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Western Transportation Institute – Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. https://doi.org/10.53847/QVYS3181    

Explore additional resources related to wildlife crossing structure projects:

Volgenau FoundationThe West-Wide Study was funded in part by a generous grant from The Volgenau Foundation.
For questions or requests for presentations on this work, please contact Kylie Paul, Road Ecologist.

Banner Photo: Wildlife crossing on I-80 in Nevada – NDOT

Stay informed

Join our email list for news and updates.