Using traffic flow theory to model traffic mortality in mammals

F. van Langevelde, C.F. Jaarsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Traffic has a considerable effect on population and community dynamics through the disruption and fragmentation of habitat and traffic mortality. This paper deals with a systematic way to acquire knowledge about the probabilities of successful road crossing by mammals and what characteristics affect this traversability. We derive a model from traffic flow theory to estimate traffic mortality in mammals related to relevant road, traffic and species characteristics. The probability of successful road crossing is determined by the pavement width of the road, traffic volume, traversing speed of the mammals and their body length. We include the traversability model in a simple two-patch population model to explore the effects of these road, traffic and species characteristics on population dynamics. Analysis of the models show that, for our parameter ranges, traffic volume and traversing speed have the largest effect on traffic mortality. The population size is especially negatively affected when roads have to be crossed during the daily movements. These predictions could be useful to determine the expected effectiveness of mitigating measures relative to the current situation. Mitigating measures might alter the road and traffic characteristics. The effects of these changes on traffic mortality and population dynamics could be analysed by calculating the number of traffic victims before and after the mitigating measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-907
JournalLandscape Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • badger meles-meles
  • vehicle collisions
  • road kills
  • populations
  • dispersal
  • management
  • deer


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