Increasing Warning Sign Activation Time after Last Detection Improves Animal Detection System Effectiveness for Highways.

Researchers Test an Animal Detection System in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Date Posted

The Reliability and Effectiveness of a Radar-Based Animal Detection System.

Summary Information

This study evaluates the reliability and effectiveness of a doppler radar-based animal detection system. Reliability was measured by how well large mammals (deer size and larger) were detected. System effectiveness was measured by reductions in vehicular travel speed; speed radars were also installed along the road section to assess whether drivers had sufficient time to respond to an activated warning sign. The study took place from Fall 2015 to Summer 2016.

Regardless of the deployment location, researchers recommend the following for operation and maintenance:

  • Warning Sign Activation Time: Increase the time the warning signs are activated after the  last detection or change the configuration of the radar so that it detects large mammals earlier, and have shorter gaps between consecutive detections of animals that approach the highway.
  • Type of Warning Sign: Researchers recommend using LED signs that are only activated when a large mammal is detected. 
  • Warning Sign Placement: Signs should be placed at the beginning and end of the detection zone (“START DETECTION ZONE” and “END DETECTION ZONE”). Consider placement of the first warning sign at least 477-566 feet (145.5-172.5 meters) before the end of the detection zone. After the initial sign, additional warning signs are suggested to be placed until the end of the zone. 
  • Advisory Speed Limit Reductions: For high-speed locations that drivers may not be able to stop in time for a large mammal on the highway, consider experimenting with advisory or mandatory speed limit reductions in association with activated warning signs.
  • Power Source: It is important for the system to have its own power source as it is not viable to have a power drop at all locations. Consider powering the system with solar panels to avoid periodic system outages. 
  • Mobile detection system: It is important to have a mobile detection system so the equipment can be moved to a different location based on changes in the location of large mammal activity (especially deer) near the highway. 
Goal Areas

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