AVC Mitigation using Wildlife Crossing Control and Detection Systems
Wildlife & Ecosystems
Research Idea Scope
Animal-vehicle conflicts (AVCs), and particularly the ever increasing deer-vehicle collisions, cause major transportation safety issues on U.S. roadways due to habitat fragmentation sustained by transportation developments. Therefore, the ability to detect and monitor wildlife movement and crossings near highways is important to transportation agencies’ environmental and maintenance activities. This study proposes to evaluate several conveyances and barriers such as fences in concert with crossing structures and detection systems in order to prevent and/or mitigate AVCs in Virginia. Various fencing options acting as an “animal control” system will be tested and validated at VTTI’s Smart Road along with an unobtrusive animal detection system. The study would utilize the developed “detection and control” system to operate animal escape routes such as a gate that will allow animals to cross safely based on traffic and spatiotemporal data.
Urgency and Payoff
Currently a vast array of data and technological advancements are available to be incorporated into design and development of future wildlife passage structures to prevent and reduce AVCs. Implementation of reliable animal detection and control systems with corresponding motorist alert systems may therefore be a more economical means of mitigation in some areas of Virginia with high DVC rates. By addressing potential wildlife collisions during highway planning, the savings associated with reduced human injury and vehicular damage could offset the cost of mitigation measures.
Cristian Druta Virginia Tech Transportation Institute