Using Technology to Alert Drivers to Animals on the Road
We recently covered the top five roadkill sites in America, as well as a dire IUCN report stating that "25% of all the world’s mammal species are at risk of extinction." What's the connection? Well, while most of the extinctions are occurring because of habitat loss and encroachment, as well as poaching, a significant number of wild animals--not necessarily mammals--are killed every year due to collisions with vehicles (although we also saw an incident where a cyclist crashed into a black bear. . .). These collisions are dangerous for drivers and animals alike, so the state of Colorado has begun testing a system "that involves a cable buried parallel to the highway. The cable emits an electromagnetic field that is calibrated to detect large animals" such as Deer and Elk. If the system detects an animal nearing the road, an alarm will alert drivers. For the pilot phase, "seven speed radar detectors to register traffic counts and track drivers' speed outside and inside the test zone" were installed in order to gauge how effective the system is at alerting drivers and getting them to actually slow down. The technology has been deployed on a stretch of road where "officials say about 70 percent of all reported collisions involve wild animals." So while reducing collisions between animals and cars won't stop the incredible rate of extinction of animals around the world, it will at least reduce the amount of large animals such as Deer and Elk killed on Colorado's highwaya, and will certainly make the roads safer for motorists.
Via: ::Chicago Tribune
More on RoadKill and Extinctions
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Book Review-The Sixth Extinction
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