Waze starts pilot program.
(photo credit: PR)
Israel’s wild animals are in particular danger along three of the country’s major thoroughfares – Road 2, Road 6 and Road 1.
In hopes of protecting members of the four-legged public, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel has been working with traffic and navigation application Waze for the past six months to determine roadside hot spots for deaths of wild animal.
Following a campaign encouraging Waze users to report roadkill incidents, SPNI began harnessing data from the navigation app, looking at more than 12,000 user-generated reports.
After filtering out urban roads and streets that pass through built-up areas, SPNI generated a map showing where the most roadside animal deaths are occurring.
Road 2, the coastal highway from Tel Aviv to Haifa, and Road 6, the trans-Israel highway, each received about 700 reports of roadkill incidents. The main Jerusalem- Tel Aviv artery, Road 1, had about 600 reports, SPNI said. Road 5 from Tel Aviv to Samaria garnered 50 reports, while Road 443, the alternate highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, received 500.
Other highways with significant numbers of roadkill incidents included Roads 70, 4, 431, 85, 65, 3, 77, 38 and 31.
In order to report the presence of dead animals on the road, Waze users must click the circular orange report icon on the app – and select the yellow triangular “Hazard” symbol, followed by “On road.” The user must then click on “Roadkill,” accompanied by an illustration of a tiny porcupine, with X’s over its eyes and a yellow hazard symbol mounted on its head.
SPN I staff members will present their findings for the first time at a Knesset Science and Technology meeting on Tuesday at a meeting focused on the use of technological tools for nature and environmental preservation in Israel.
“We are now conducting in-depth examinations in a number of areas where exceptional amounts of runovers have been observed, both in absolute quantities and in relation to the area,” said Shmulik Yidov, head of SPNI’s Mammal Center.
Along Road 90 between Mitzpe Shalem and Ein Gedi, for example, there have been an irregular number of road kills in that particular section in comparison to the entire highway, Yidov explained. In addition, SPNI staff members intend to thoroughly examine roads that cross through approved ecological corridors, such as Roads 70 and 75 east of the Carmel Mountains, he added.
“The information coming today from Waze users is invaluable to nature, and it illustrates the depth of the problem of wildlife runovers,” Yidov said. “We need and request the continuation of, and even an increase in, public cooperation in order to collect additional data and to formulate optimal action plans to reduce the destruction and to rescue wildlife.”