How will success be determined?

StopRoadKill shall consider its activities successful when it reduces road kill of sentient animals on British roads by 75%.

There are a number of challenges that need to be considered in setting this figure. These challenges are detailed below. This figure is also prone to change over the next few years. The reason for this instability on the quoted figure is also detailed below.

Ideally the target percentage will be 100%, however this is deemed to be an unattainable goal as only one accidental death of a sentient being on a British road would mean the charity was unsuccessful.

When measuring road safety in the UK in relation to 'human' pedestrians, a certain number of fatalities and injuries are accounted for. RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) cites that British Roads are amongst the safest in Europe and in the world, however in 2012 5 people were killed on British roads each day. The total deaths in 2012 were 1,754. 23,039 were reported seriously injured and 170,930 were reported as slightly injured.

Taking unreported accidents into account, it was estimated by RoSPA that the total number of serious injuries (including those not reported) was 80,000 in 2012 and that the total number of all injuries was around 730,000 in 2012.

It is noted that RoSPA are active in improving human awareness of road safety. There is no such means of improving road safety among animals.

As nonsensical as it may seem, it should not be assumed that animals can not be taught road safety. It is well documented that all sentient animals have the capacity to learn. It is thought however that the best training comes from the animal's parents, during upbringing. This means that even if animals could be taught road safety, it may be near impossible for humans to teach animals road safety.

As a result, it is immediately perceived that the target percentage would be significantly lower due to this factor alone.

Whilst the charity will aim to undertake research in this area, it will inevitably be placing its efforts in resolving the road kill issue through other means (i.e. changes in social attitudes, driver awareness, physical improvements to road sides (for example, signage, trimmed hedges, blocked access, access tunnels (all to be determined), changes in legislation).

Using benchmarks against other counties is one approach to measuring success, however the absence of capabilities within those countries to report the number of animal death and injury on roads would make this futile.

The preferred approach is to set an arbitrary percentage that should be achieved within a specified time-frame. Subsequent improvement targets would thereafter be set.

A number of factors need to be taken into account in setting the target percentage, namely whether the dynamics of the following factors can be understood and altered:

  1. Animal behaviour (for example, how does a pheasant expect a car will act when the car is approaching it)
  2. Animal needs (for example, are animals crossing or traveling roads in the search for food, due to the restricted size of habitat within their area)
  3. Driver behaviour towards animals (for example, will a driver continue to drive into an animal that is crossing a road even if there is time to safely slow the vehicle and avoid a collision with the animal)
  4. Legislation requiring stated action by drivers in prescribed situations (and how this is reflected within the Highway Code
  5. Society's attitudes towards the death of animals on British Roads (for example, does society have any concern with the suffering experienced by animals that are killed or injured on British roads)
  6. Environment factors (for example, as there a spike in road kill at certain times of the day, in certain weather conditions, in certain locations)
  7. Seasonal factors (for example, are there spikes in road kill at certain times of the year)

It is a significant undertaking to understand these factors. Understanding these will enable the charity to distinguish what is accidental from what is avoidable. Ultimately, the charity will be focusing on what is avoidable. It is also expected that over time, certain factors may also move from the accidental to the avoidable category. An example of this is where currently a pheasant running in front of a car doing 60 miles per hour on a straight road may be classed as accidental (this is still to be determined), whereas in the future, in a society where drivers are better informed, that driver may take surrounding terrain into account and may anticipate the appearance of a pheasant. As the driver could alter his speed in anticipation of the pheasant appearing, then the collision would therefore be classed as avoidable.

Given all the factors detailed above, it is impossible at this stage to determine a percentage by which the charity believes that road kill can be reduced by. As a result of this an arbitrary figure of 50% is being set as a starting point, however this figure will be subject to constant review during the next few years, until a more stable figure is attained.

For details on the challenges about when the target percentage should be met, please click here .

It should also be noted that if successful in the UK, the charity would look at addressing the issue of road kill in other countries. Where overseas organisations are found to be addressing the issue of road kill in other countries, then StopRoadKill will, where possible, support that work.

Another dimension that is used in calculating the above estimate is the split between societal and human psychological factors and between animal behaviour and environmental factors.

© StopRoadKill 2012 - 2017