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Sensors to reduce wild game crashes

Right: The trial of the deer monitoring equipment will take place on a 1.6km stretch of Highway 160 in Colorado

Technology to reduce vehicles colliding with deer is to be installed along a highway that crosses the Rocky Mountains, Colorado USA.

An electromagnetic field sensor will run along 1.6km of Highway 160 in a three year trial costing US$800,000. It consists of a cable buried 30cm below the surface and 10m from the road edge.

It will detect a change in the electromagnetic field caused by wild game and trigger warnings for drivers on variable message signs along the highway. It will also collect data on vehicle speed before and after an alert is flashed to help assess the system's effect.

Two thirds of accidents in the area are caused by deer collisions. "This will prove that by changing driver behavior we can reduce accidents without adverse effects to wildlife movement," says Nancy Shanks, spokeswoman for Colorado DOT.

The contract for installing the Perimitrax System will be awarded by the end of the year and construction will start in the Spring, ready for the 2008 migration period when collisions peak.

November 14, 2007

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