After more than three years of work and 41,000 images of animals crossing the road, a doppler animal detection system that Sloan developed in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, Idaho Transportation Department and the Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative (particularly the Kootenai Tribe) is beginning to receive recognition. The system is getting recognition for not only saving lives, but also the behavioral patterns that it is identifying that will help build safer roads.
In this 150m detection zone, 580 ungulates (deer/elk) crossed the road in July 2016. This consisted of 356 crossings identified by Sloan. Since the evaluation period began in October – only 1 animal had been struck from a previous average of 13.
Marcel Houjser from Western Traffic Institute and Montana State presented a paper at Montana State in August with preliminary positive results from his investigation into the effectiveness of the system. This presentation was sponsored by the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC).
In addition, unlike many of our projects, we welcome the media attention from KREM Spokane, Washington. This attention will hopefully help this issue of animal – vehicle collisions get the attention it deserves.
Nationally and locally, wildlife collisions are a costly problem. They kill about 200 people each year in the United States and cause more than $1 billion in property damage, according to the National Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Reduction Study.