Animal-Vehicle Conflict Prevention via VDOT Mobile Safety Application

Focus Area

Wildlife & Ecosystems


Natural Resources




Under $99k


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

Conflicts between vehicles and animals on roadways result in 200 human deaths and more than $4B in damages every year nationwide. VDOT spends $4M per year dealing with the challenging issues related to the collection and disposal of road kill. The purpose of this research will be to use mobile application technologies, algorithms developed from recently collected data, and roadside animal detection systems (where available) to provide timely alerts to drivers at increased risk of animal-vehicle conflict (AVC). Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) recently completed a successful evaluation of a buried cable roadside animal detection system at the Virginia Smart Road. Further evaluation of this system is planned as part of a public implementation at a high AVC incidence location. A parallel naturalistic driving study conducted by VTTI, and sponsored by Toyota, resulted in the creation of a unique database of AVC risk factors for Virginia roads based on data collected by 48 vehicles, each driven on high risk roads for several months. The data amassed in these studies would be used to develop an AVC risk assessment algorithm that can be implemented within the VDOT Mobile Safety Application to provide contextual AVC alerts to drivers in real time. This algorithm would use parameters such as the following to calculate the relative risk: time of year, time of day, weather, lighting, traffic and others.

Urgency and Payoff

Providing real-time alerts to drivers when animals are detected on the roadside will increased driver safety and decrease maintenance and damage costs. Additionally, the developed algorithms could be integrated with the connected vehicle framework.

Suggested By

Cristian Druta Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

[email protected]