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Smart wildlife alert system for drivers

2022-08-31

The Lithuanian Road Administration (hereinafter – the Road Administration) together with scientists are currently testing a new roadside wildlife information device on the section of the national national road No.140 Kaunas-Zapyškis-Šakiai from 41 to 43 km (from Kaunas).

The system being developed by the researchers will alert drivers in the dark of animals on the road or about to cross the road with a flashing light signal, providing information and warning to drivers. Drivers are asked to be alert, keep their eyes on the road and not to be frightened by flashing lights.

The installation consists of special bollards mounted close to the kerb, with a red signal light mounted on top, powered by solar cells. The bollards are placed at certain distances along the animal migration route in the road in question.

“Every year, there are a number of traffic accidents on Lithuanian roads related to wild animals running into the road, especially after dark. This innovative smart technology system under development could be one of the effective measures to reduce collisions between vehicles and wild animals on Lithuanian roads in the future,” emphasises Remigijus Lipkevičius, the Head of the Road Administration.

The smart system works by scanning an area on the roadside at dusk or after dark, and if movement is detected, a red flashing signal is activated to warn drivers (on both sides of the road) to slow down and keep a closer eye on their surroundings, as wild animals have approached the road. After the animal has left the scanning area, the system continues to alert you to the potential danger for some time. This system only captures warm-blooded animals.

Animal migration in the country peaks in autumn and spring. Warning road signs No. 131 “Wild animals”, as well as fences against wild animals, are installed on sections of road where there is a higher chance of encountering wildlife, using modern technology. For example, the Kėdainiai-Krekenava-Panevėžys section of national national road No. 195 is equipped with a system to warn drivers about wild animals on the road.

The equipment must warn of animals up to 20 m from the edge of the pavement, which is automatically relayed to the variable information road signs.

Every year, in Lithuania, road traffic accidents involving a collision between a car and an animal cause injury or death to people. According to the data of the Lithuanian Road Police, in the first 7 months of this year, 20 traffic accidents were registered on Lithuanian roads, of which 9 occurred during the dark hours of the day. In the whole of 2021, 32 accidents involving a car colliding with an animal were recorded, 21 of which occurred in the dark. In total, more than 3,800 accidents involving animals on Lithuanian roads were recorded in 2021. More than 1,800 traffic accidents were recorded in the first 7 months of this year.