Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
PlanningEnvironmentReal Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

"Electric crosswalk" cuts elk roadkill by 96 percent

This photo shows electric highway signage warning motorists about elk in the right-of-way or on the road. A solar panel is mounted on top of the sign post. Underneath it are a diamond-shaped sign with a silhouette of an elk and beneath it a rectangular sign reading WHEN FLASHING. Lights above and below these signs will flash when elk are nearby. Elk in the right-of-way will cause one light to flash; elk on the highway will activate both lights.

The nation's most advanced game crossing system is animal-activated, and it has reduced elk-vehicle collisions by 96% along a 3-mile section of SR 260 in central Arizona. Fences heightened to an average 7.5 feet direct elk toward the Preacher Canyon bridge and two underpasses. At one end of the section where fencing ends and an underpass can't be built, Arizona Departments of Transportation and Game and Fish worked with their partners and consultants to design a "wildlife crosswalk" using thermal imaging cameras and ElectroBraid fencing. Military-grade tracking software captures large-animal movement in the right of way and determines if the animal is large enough to pose a threat to motorists. If so, flashing signs warn drivers elk are about to cross the road. Since the signs flash 500 feet from the end of the fence and since they signal game crossing before it happens, drivers have plenty of time to slow down. The system has turned the signs on 97% of the time, and most drivers have braked and reduced their speed. What's more, the project cost taxpayers less than one sixth the cost of a large-animal underpass.

Bruce Eilerts, (602) 712-7398 or

Picture of various animals

Doing the right thing - simply

"Keeping it simple" is more than a concept. It's a commitment.

It means using simple solutions when simple solutions will work.

It involves going beyond "compliance" to identify easy ways of helping wildlife and fish.

It means doing the right thing just because it's the right thing to do and because one has an opportunity to do it.

"We can build bat roosts in pre-fab bridge concrete or extend the right-of-way fence to create elkproof fencing," says April Marchese, Director of FHWA's Office of Natural and Human Environment. "Simple measures like these link habitats, reduce roadkill, and save taxpayer dollars."

This website highlights more than 100 simple, successful projects from all 50 states and beyond. Each is "easy." Most are low- or no-cost. All benefit wildlife, fish, or their habitats.

Many projects were completed only once - to protect specific species in specific environmental conditions. Others have been repeated numerous times and have become "routine."

Some projects are undertaken regularly because research has proven them effective. Others are new innovations, "best practices," or state-of-the-art strategies.

Some projects - for example, modifying mowing cycles and installing oversized culverts in streams - are common to a large number of states. Others represent a simple solution to a site-specific environmental challenge.

We invite you to explore them all. We encourage you to find out for yourselves, through this website, how transportation professionals are working with others to do the right thing for wildlife and--wherever possible--to do it "simply."

Updated: 12/12/2012
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000