Montana State University

WTI researchers win national award for studies on wildlife-vehicle collisions

December 18, 2008 -- From MSU News Service

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BOZEMAN -- Researchers at Montana State University's Western Transportation Institute have won a national award for their work in reducing the number of animal-vehicle collisions on highways across the country.

The award was announced on Nov. 17 by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America at the society's 2008 Best of ITS awards ceremony during the ITS World Congress in New York City. The awards honor innovative, effective and influential achievements in transportation systems and technology.

The winners were selected from more than 40 entries from academia and the transportation industry. WTI was one of eight winners in the "Best New Innovative Practices" category.

WTI research ecologist Marcel Huijser said the award recognizes the research projects he and others have done on sensors systems to warn motorists of animals in the roadway.

The number of U.S. crashes that involve large animals has increased by about 50 percent since 1990. Every year, about 200 people die and 29,000 are injured in such crashes. This makes animal-vehicle collisions an important public safety issue, Huijser said, one that WTI has been studying for almost a decade.

"WTI has been the place that has integrated existing knowledge," he said. "We have been the place that has put animal detection systems on the agenda over the past 10 years in North America, and we are leading the way in research for more reliable and effective systems."

Contact: Marcel Huijser can be reached at 406-543-2377 or at mhuijser@coe.montana.edu