It has been approximately five years since the Deer-Vehicle Crash Countermeasure Toolbox (the Toolbox) was published and posted to the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information Clearinghouse (DVCIC) website.
The focus of the Toolbox was the current state-of-the-knowledge related to the DVC-reduction effectiveness of 16 potential countermeasures. Existing research was critically evaluated with respect to currently-accepted safety data analysis standards. The conclusions in the Toolbox indicate the level of confidence and/or consistency in the published research results. Countermeasures were categorized by their level of use and the results of the research evaluation. Expert opinions about whether or not a countermeasure was more or less promising were not included, but were later used to define the DVC countermeasure strategic agenda (PDF).
A search of the literature has shown that some relatively significant DVC-related and DVC countermeasure research reports, guides, and tools have been completed and published since the publication of the Toolbox. A list of these documents (along with a website link if available) is provided below:
Reports, Guides, and Tools
Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study – Report to Congress (Aug 2008)
The “Report to Congress” contains some very useful information. It includes brief summaries of 47 WVC and/or DVC mitigation measures that include information about their effectiveness and implementation. Thirty-four mitigation measures are categorized in the report. The results of the first categorization generally agreed with the research-based results of the DVCIR Center toolbox. The authors of the “Report to Congress” also list the mitigation measures they believe should be implemented (where feasible), those that should “not” be implemented or researched further, and those that held promise and should be further investigated. The results of this activity are in Appendix A of the attached summary. There is some concern that these conclusions will limit and potentially result in the complete disregard of the exploration, evaluation, and monitoring of some mitigation measures. It is recommended that the content and conclusions of the “Report to Congress” be considered by practitioners and researchers in conjunction with the DVCIR Center Toolbox and its update summaries.
Best Practice Manual – Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study – Report to Congress (Oct 2008)
There is some valuable information in this “Best Practices Manual” that can be used to guide the incorporation of WVC mitigation into the entire roadway development process (i.e., from statewide planning to site specific improvements). Some adjustments to typical “reconstruction” roadway design decisions (e.g., sideslopes) are also noted. The choice of best practices is based on the current, relatively limited, state-of-knowledge on the crash reduction effectiveness of WVC mitigation measures. The content and size of the list will adjust as more research is completed. Overall, the information provided in this document is good starting point for an agency considering the implementation of a WVC mitigation measure.
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Mitigation Measures Aimed at Reducing Collisions with Large Ungulates in the United States and Canada; A Decision Support Tool. Ecology and Society 14(2): 15
The article summarized includes a cost-benefit analysis related to 13 wildlife-vehicle collision mitigation measures. The article and its appendices include descriptions of the mitigation measures and details about the approach used to complete the cost-benefit calculations. Information on the benefits (i.e., crash reduction) of wildlife-vehicle collision mitigation measures is relatively limited and costs of mitigation will vary on a case-by-case basis. The article includes some valuable information (given the limitations noted) that can be used by practitioners to complete their own mitigation measure cost-benefit analysis.
NCHRP Report 615 – Evaluation of the Use and Effectiveness of Wildlife Crossings
This NCHRP report contains a large amount of useful wildlife crossing and wildlife-vehicle collision mitigation information. This information is provided in hard copy and at on the Wildlife and Roads website. The literature summary and wildlife crossing database, along with the content of the wildlife crossing decision guide, should be of value to those considering wildlife-related mitigation. Jurisdictions considering the implementation of deer-vehicle crash countermeasures, especially wildlife crossings, should explore the website noted.
Animal-Vehicle Crash Mitigation using Advanced Technology. Phase I: Review Design, and Implementation (2006) and Phase II: System Effectiveness and System Acceptance (2009).
The two documents summarized primarily describe the activities or tasks connected to the installation and evaluation of roadside animal detection system in Montana and Pennsylvania. They contain useful information about the challenges to the implementation of these systems in the field along with the lessons learned by the project team. The information provided in these documents should be reviewed by those jurisdictions considering the installation of a roadside animal detection system. These systems are, as the researchers indicate, still somewhat experimental in nature.
The Comparison of Animal Detection Systems in a Test-Bed: A Quantitative Comparison of System Reliability and Experiences with Operation and Maintenance. Final Report (2009)
This document includes some valuable information about the detection reliability of several roadside animal detection systems (ADSs). It also includes some conclusions about their reliability during different environmental conditions and system cost information. The content of this document and others summarized as part of this toolbox update (including those focused on benefit-cost analyses) represent the current state-of-the-knowledge for roadside ADSs.
Evaluation of Wildlife warning Reflectors for Altering White-Tailed Deer Behavior along Roadways. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34 (4), pp. 1175-1183
This is well-designed field study that evaluated a subjective categorization of deer behavior before and after the installation of roadway reflectors (with four different colors). The study was completed on a college campus with low speed vehicles. Overall, 70 percent or more of the deer reaction observations were either negative and neutral. The researchers concluded that the reflectors did not deter deer from crossing the roadway. Given the long history of conflicting results in this subject area, the completion of a similar study on a higher speed roadway would be desirable to confirm/refute these results.
Deer Responses to Soundfrom a Vehicle Mounted Sound-Production System. Journal of Wildlife Management. 73 (7): pp. 1072-1076
This is likely the first well-designed field study of audible deer whistles or, more specifically, the sounds that they are advertised to emit. The study was completed on a college campus with low speed vehicles. Deer reactions were observed to a range of sounds. The researchers conclude that there was no change in deer behavior due to the sound projections tested. A similar study on a higher speed roadway with commercially available whistles would be desirable.
Effectiveness of Acoustic Road Markings Wildlife Biology 10: 155-159 (2004)
This article summarized here focused on the potential impact and habitation of fallow deer to sounds produced by two acoustic road markings in Denmark. The designs of these road markings are not shared in detail and the study was specifically designed to just study the sounds (i.e., it was done with recordings with fallow deer). The study results generally show that deer habituate to “startle” stimuli and that even if a sound frequency is changed the habituation may remain. The outcome of this study should be considered similar stimuli-based mitigation measures are being considered or evaluated.
NCHRP Synthesis 370 – Animal Vehicle Data Collection (2007)
This synthesis document is a good summary of the AVC and AC data collection efforts currently being completed within the United States and Canada. Some of the results appear to support the confusion that can occur when DOTs and DNRs are asked about animal collision data. They often use similar terms to describe significantly different databases. Recommendations to improve AVC and AC data and its use are included.
Deer Avoidance: The Assessment of Real World Enhanced Deer Signage in a Virtual Environment (2004)
This is a small simulator study of deer crossing warning sign designs. It appears to be the first to consider the attention value (through eye scan tracking) of traditional and enhanced signs of this type. The results support what is generally accepted, based on best practices, about the lack of impact traditional (rather than dynamic) “occasional hazard” warning signs have on driver behavior.
Effectiveness of Animal Advisory Messages as a Speed Reduction Tool: A Case Study in Montana. Transportation Research Record No. 1973, pp. 64-72
The content of this article may be of interest to jurisdictions considering the use of portable or permanent dynamic message signs to display wildlife-vehicle collision warnings. The results of the project described are somewhat limited but the authors conclude that the average vehicle speeds appeared to be smaller when messages specific to wildlife-vehicle crashes were displayed. It is proposed that a more significant project be completed in this subject area.