Roadside Animal Detection Systems Test-bed

Focus Area

Wildlife & Ecosystems


Natural Resources







Research Idea Scope

Animal vehicle collisions are a challenge from the safety and ecological standpoint. Many current solutions are expensive (large crossing structures), potentially ineffective (static warning signs), or potentially ecologically damaging (reducing herd size or impermeable fencing). Several agencies have tried a more dynamic approach to warning motorists of animals by detecting animals on the roadway/roadside and providing dynamic signing to the driver. Although these limited demonstrations have expanded the level on knowledge regarding animal detection / driver warning systems, there is still limited information on the accuracy of detection systems in this application. The creation of the Roadside Animal Detection Systems Testbed (RADS Testbed) will:
  • Provide accurate monitoring of animal presence through infrared cameras,
  • Allow several animal detection vendors to drop their systems into the testbed, and
  • Ultimately allow for the deployment of dynamic warning signs that will be triggered when animals are detected on the roadside. This will not only result in the successful deployment of an animal detection / driver warning system but also provide detailed data on the accuracy of various detection systems.
The primary Objective is to accurately measure the accuracy of various detection technologies in roadside animal detection.

TERI Administrator Note (June 2007): Research Underway
FHWA Pooled Fund Study: Animal Vehicle Crash Mitigation Using Advanced Technology – Phase II

With the advent of Intelligent Transportation Systems and an increased focus on technological solutions The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) 14 other departments of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) have examined the current state of knowledge on the reliability and effectiveness of animal detection systems. Phase I of this project also resulted in the development and installation of a prototype animal detection system along US 191 in Yellowstone National Park, Montana. This prototype was found to reliably detect large animals that approach the road. In phase II of this project the blind spots of the system will be addressed and certain components of the system will be repaired or replaced. Once these modifications and repairs have been completed, the effectiveness of the system in reducing vehicle speed and reducing animal-vehicle collisions will be evaluated. The objective of this research project is to develop, integrate, cultivate and promote research, outreach and education opportunities for the Road Ecology Program’s growth and development within WTI’s strategic plan.

Suggested By

2002 Research Needs Conference Idea Patrick McGowen, Western Transportation Institute,

[email protected]