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Thursday, April 5, 2012

News From North of the Border

stock.tobinphoto.com
Thanks to  www.Today's Trucking.com

I came across something like this in Arizona last month warning of an Elk Crossing.  I didn't know this technology was out there. Very Interesting! Dan

Dodge the Deer: Wildlife-Detection System Means Safer Roads

04/04/2012

NORTHERN ONTARIO — The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is taking some extraordinary (and quite space-age) measures to cut down the number of truck-animal collisions. Todaystrucking.com caught up with a government spokesman who explained the life-saving technology:
TT.com: How does the MTO decide where the deer are?
MTO: First, we identify locations along the highway corridor with a high number of wildlife vehicle collisions. We then select the appropriate wildlife mitigation strategy from a number of available technologies.  We take into account the species of animal involved, adjacent wildlife habitat conditions, and time of day and time of year the collisions are occurring.
TT.com: Do Wildlife-Detection systems work?
MTO: MTO has received positive feedback on the effectiveness of a specific wildlife detection system installed at Mile Hill on Highway 17, west of Sault Ste. Marie. Once the system has been operational for a longer period of time, we’ll have more data to analyze its impact on reducing collisions.
TT.com: What kind of stuff do you install and how does it work?
HEY LOOK! IT’S BAM!...: Ontario aims to curtail animal-vehicle collisions with these units, installed in various locations across the North.
MTO: There are several systems. Radio frequency and infrared sensing are most often used. The MTO's Northeastern Region is experimenting with different available technologies in three locations. Two pilot studies on Highway 17 and Highway 6 are using infrared technology, where an infrared signal is interrupted by the presence of an animal, activating a warning device for motorists. Another pilot study on Highway 11 uses thermal sensor technology with an integrated camera, which detects heat sources and triggers a warning device to caution motorists while capturing a photo of the animal.  The ministry is monitoring these projects and will continue to determine their effectiveness. The location is primarily determined based on topography and the environment surrounding the highway. Several detectors are used in wildlife-detection systems and a clear line of sight between detectors is required.In general, they are installed outside the clear zone and in the MTO right-of-way. This ensures safety to the traveling public and allows for advanced warning to oncoming motorists.
Another important factor that must be considered is energy requirements to power the devices. If solar energy is needed, the detection devices are installed away from the tree line.  If the detectors need to be hard wired, they are placed near the existing power grid.  Physical environmental features (potential snow drifts, fallen trees, etc.) and other highway-related obstacles (snow banks, snow plow turnarounds, entrances, etc.) are factors that must be considered during the installation of wildlife detection systems.
TT.com: Tell us more about the deer detection system on highway 6.
MTO: The ministry is installing a wildlife detection system on Highway 6, approximately 4.5 km north of the Little Current Swing Bridge.  It will cover both sides of the highway for a distance of 3.5 km and the cost to implement this system is estimated at approximately $500,000. This type of wildlife detection system uses infra-red motion sensors to continuously monitor the highway right-of-way.  It detects the presence of large animals, such as deer, and automatically triggers a warning device to alert the travelling public.  The warning device is a flashing beacon mounted to a standard wildlife warning sign.  The goal of the system is to improve safety by reducing the number of wildlife/vehicle collisions.  The system has been installed and tested and is expected to become operational in the next few weeks.
TT.com: Cool. Where can I read more?
MTO: HERE.


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