Deer Avoidance Research-Use of Motion Detector Flashing Lights

Principal Investigator(s):

Michael Wade, Former Professor and Director, Kinesiology

Project summary:

This study explored three techniques of signage in an attempt to reduce the incidence of vehicle/deer collisions on highways in Minnesota. A simulated environment was created based on a section of U.S. Highway 23 near Marshall, Minnesota with participants chosen from the University of Minnesota and the surrounding community. The simulation consisted of a standard warning sign as well as a prototype of the experimental signage. The prototype was comprised of a beacon light attached to the top of the warning sign designed to flash when deer were present. During the simulation, participants were exposed to the standard signage as well as the new signage with and without the beacon flashing. The main objective was to determine whether the prototype signs would modify driver behavior such that they decreased their speed. The study found that the prototype signage was effective in decreasing the speed of the participants when the beacon light was flashing. These results were consistent across the variations of age and gender. The results for the prototype signage with the beacon light turned off were essentially no different from the standard signage.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2002023
  • Start date: 03/2002
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety, Traffic operations