North American Wildlife Crossing Design Contest, ARC: Executive Summary
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North American Wildlife Crossing Design Contest, ARC: Executive Summary

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    Initiated by the Western Transportation Institute and the Woodcock Foundation, ARC was a partnership-driven wildlife crossing infrastructure design competition that engaged the best and most innovative international, interdisciplinary design teams—comprised of landscape designers, architects, engineers, ecologists, and other experts—to create the next generation of wildlife crossings for North America’s, and perhaps the world’s, roadways. The project drew mounting support throughout the course of the competition, bringing together thirty two sponsors from federal and state agencies, universities, professional associations and non-profit organizations in the U.S. and Canada including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Research Innovation and Technology Administration (RITA), and AASHTO spell out. Growing scientific research shows the importance of wildlife crossings and their effectiveness at reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions. In Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, a continuous series of 22 underpasses and two overpasses has resulted in an 80 percent reduction in total wildlife fatalities because wildlife was allowed to roam free, uninterrupted by a major Canadian transportation corridor. There have been approximately 240,000 documented crossings of these structures by 11 species of large mammals, - including wolf, grizzly bear, elk, lynx, mountain lion, and moose. While crossing structures have demonstrated great success in protecting both wildlife and drivers, their use in the U.S. is limited, due in large part to the high cost and long design and construction process. Launched in June 2010, the competition raised international awareness around wildlife movement and protection while promoting feasible, buildable, context-sensitive and compelling design solutions for safe, efficient, cost-effective, and ecologically responsive wildlife crossings. In the first phase of the competition, thirty-six interdisciplinary teams submitted Expressions of Interest describing their approaches for designing an overpass for the competition site near West Vail Pass on Interstate Highway 70 in Colorado. This mountainous site was chosen for its challenging location along a busy, high elevation interstate highway in the midst of the Rocky Mountains and its importance as a corridor for numerous species of wildlife including wolves and Canada lynx. In September 2010, ARC announced the selection of five finalist teams whose members represented more than a dozen firms in four countries. The teams traveled to Colorado to view the West Vail Pass site in person. After carefully studying the road features and geometry, as well as the wildlife habitats, the finalists created their final designs. “This international competition both establishes and inspires a new category."
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