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J Safety Res. 2017 Sep;62:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2017.04.003. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Improvement of the performance of animal crossing warning signs.

Author information

1
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 900 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203, United States. Electronic address: majidk@vt.edu.
2
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 900 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203, United States. Electronic address: kheaslip@vt.edu.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Animal-vehicle collisions (AVCs) can result in serious injury and death to drivers, animals' death, and significant economic costs. However, the cost effectiveness of the majority of AVC mitigation measures is a significant issue.

METHOD:

A mobile-based data collection effort was deployed to measure signs under the Utah Department of Transportation's (UDOT) jurisdiction. The crash data were obtained from the UDOT risk management database. ArcGIS was employed to link these two data sets and extract animal-related crashes and signs. An algorithm was developed to process the data and identify AVCs that occurred within sign recognition distance. Kernel density estimation (KDE) technique was applied to identify potential crash hotspots.

RESULTS:

Only 2% of AVCs occurred within the recognition distance of animal crossing signs. Almost 58% of animal-related crashes took place on the Interstate and U.S. highways, wherein only 30% of animal crossing signs were installed. State routes with a higher average number of signs experienced a lower number of AVCs per mile. The differences between AVCs that occurred within versus outside of sign recognition distance were not statistically significant regarding crash severity, time of crash, weather condition, driver age, vehicle speed, and type of animal. It is more likely that drivers become accustomed to deer crossing signs than cow signs.

CONCLUSIONS:

Based on the historical crash data and landscape structure, with attention given to the low cost safety improvement methods, a combination of different types of AVC mitigation measures can be developed to reduce the number of animal-related crashes. After an in-depth analysis of AVC data, warning traffic signs, coupled with other low cost mitigation countermeasures can be successfully placed in areas with higher priority or in critical areas. Practical applications: The findings of this study assist transportation agencies in developing more efficient mitigation measures against AVCs.

KEYWORDS:

Animal vehicle collision (AVC); Crash data analysis; Kernel density estimation (KDE); Mitigation measures; Traffic sign

PMID:
28882255
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsr.2017.04.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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