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Animal-vehicle crash mitigation using advanced technology: phase II, system effectiveness and system acceptance.
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    Animal-vehicle crash mitigation using advanced technology phase II ; Phase II : system effectiveness and system acceptance ; System effectiveness and system acceptance ;
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    Phase II final report; Jan. 2006-Oct. 2008.
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    This project was initiated in the fall of 1999. The results through the fall of 2005 (Phase I) have been documented in detail in an earlier report. The accomplishments of Phase I included the following: the identification of existing animal detection system technologies and their vendors; the selection of two of these systems for field tests; the deployment of the two selected systems (one in Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and one in Pennsylvania); the documentation of the experiences with system installation; the testing of the reliability of the systems; and formulating advice for the future development and application, including cost-benefit analyses. One of the two experimental animal detection systems (Montana site) proved to be able to detect elk (Cervus elaphus) reliably. However, as a result of steep slopes and curves, the system had blind spots where large animals were able to approach the road undetected. Therefore the warning signs could not be attached, and the effectiveness of the system in reducing vehicle speed and in reducing the number of collisions with large wild animals could not be evaluated.

    In Phase II of the project, subject of the current report, system modifications reduced the blind spots so that the warning signs could be attached. Speed measurements showed that passenger cars, pick-ups, vans, and trucks with two units or more all had lower vehicle speed with the warning signs activated compared to warning signs off. The number of collisions with large wild animals was 58-67% lower than expected, but because of the variability in the number of collisions and only one year of post installation collision data, the researchers could not test whether this reduction was significant. The opinions on and experiences of drivers with the system were documented in interviews. A majority would have liked to see the US Highway 191 system stay in place (59%), and thought animal detection systems were a good idea, in general (71%). In accordance with an agreement with Yellowstone National Park, the system was removed in fall 2008, due to high maintenance, lack of spare parts and concerns about landscape aesthetics,. Finally, this report includes a recommended step plan for agencies considering the installation of an animal detection system alongside a road and recommendations for future research and monitoring of the reliability and effectiveness of animal detection systems.

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