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

      Huijser, Marcel P.; Fairbank, Elizabeth R.; Abra, Fernanda D. (Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, 2017-09)
      This document contains data on the reliability and effectiveness of an animal detection system along U.S. Hwy 95 near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The system uses a Doppler radar to detect large mammals (e.g., deer and elk) when they approach the highway. The system met most of the suggested minimum norms for reliability. The total time the warning signs were activated was at most 90 seconds per hour, and likely substantially less. Animal detection systems are designed to detect an approaching animal. After an animal has been detected, warning signs are activated which allow drivers to respond. Results showed that 58.1–67.9% of deer were detected sufficiently early for northbound drivers, and 70.4–85% of deer were detected sufficiently early for southbound drivers. The effect of the activated warning signs on vehicle speed was greatest when road conditions were challenging (e.g., freezing temperatures and snow- and ice-covered road surface) and when visibility was low (night). In summer, there was no measurable benefit of activated warning signs, at least not as far as vehicle speed is concerned. Depending on the conditions in autumn and winter, the activated warning signs resulted in a speed reduction of 0.69 to 4.43 miles per hour. The report includes practical recommendations for operation and maintenance of the system and suggestions for potential future research.