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RADS Test Bed, Lewistown, MT

Started: March, 2004 Ended: January, 2009 Project ID #4W0049 Status: Completed


To evaluate different types of animal detection systems with regard to system reliability, and operation and maintenance aspects.


Animal-vehicle collisions affect human safety, property and wildlife. Transportation agencies have tried to address this problem using a range of mitigation measures varying from wildlife warning signs, deer mirrors or reflectors, to fences combined with wildlife crossing structures. For this project the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University (WTI/MSU) will evaluate a relatively new mitigation measure; animal detection systems. Animal detection systems detect large animals (e.g., deer, elk, moose) when they approach the road. When an animal is detected, signs are activated that warn drivers that large animals may be on or near the road at that time. WTI/MSU will evaluate different types of animal detection systems from different vendors at the same site and under similar circumstances. Phase 1 of the project involves designing and implementing the backbone of the “Roadside Animal Detection Systems” (RADS) test-bed in a controlled access environment, facilitating integration of animal detection systems. Selected animal detection systems will be installed in the test-bed. During phase 2, the reliability and the cost-benefit ratios of the systems will be investigated and compared. Then one or more sites in Montana will be reviewed for possible installation of the best performing animal detection system (Phase 3). Finally, WTI/MSU will provide technological transfer to transportation agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT); vendors of animal detection systems; the general public; and the scientific community.


  • Marcel Huijser - PI

  • Bob Seliskar - Main External Contact

  • Mike Bousliman - External Contact - Secondary

Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Sponsor
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Co-Sponsor

Part of: Road Ecology, Transcend

Project Tagged In: safety, habitat, collisions, roadkill

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