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Wildlife Warning Signs: Public Assessment of Components, Placement and Designs to Optimise Driver Response.

Bond AR, Jones DN - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Bottom Line: Evidence of the effectiveness of currently used signs is rare and often indicates minimal change in driver behaviour.Three currently used sign designs and five alternative sign designs were compared in the survey.Three signs consistently ranked high.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Environmental Futures Centre, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia. a.bond@griffith.edu.au.

ABSTRACT
Wildlife warning signs are the most commonly used and widespread form of road impact mitigation, aimed at reducing the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Evidence of the effectiveness of currently used signs is rare and often indicates minimal change in driver behaviour. Improving the design of these signs to increase the likelihood of appropriate driver response has the potential to reduce the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions. This study aimed to examine and assess the opinions of drivers on wildlife warning sign designs through a public opinion survey. Three currently used sign designs and five alternative sign designs were compared in the survey. A total of 134 drivers were surveyed. The presence of temporal specifications and an updated count of road-killed animals on wildlife warning signs were assessed, as well as the position of the sign. Drivers' responses to the eight signs were scaled separately at three speed limits and participants indicated the sign to which they were most likely to respond. Three signs consistently ranked high. The messages conveyed by these signs and their prominent features were explored. Animal-activated and vehicle speed-activated signs were ranked very highly by participants. Extensive field trials of various sign designs are needed to further this research into optimizing wildlife warning sign designs.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The eight signs included in the survey. (a) sign #1, W5-29, source: DTMR; (b) sign #2, TC1588, source: DTMR; (c) sign #3, TC1621, source: DTMR; (d) sign #4, W5-29 (modified), sign image source: DTMR; (e) sign #5, wildlife images source: Phillip Martin; (f) sign #6; (g) sign #6, photo source: A. Bond; (h) sign #8, photo source: Western Australia Police. The following note accompanied sign #4: “A single sign is displayed; the electronic message that is displayed above the sign is variable. The first message is activated when a speeding vehicle is detected and the second message is activated if the speeding vehicle slows down.”
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animals-03-01142-f001: The eight signs included in the survey. (a) sign #1, W5-29, source: DTMR; (b) sign #2, TC1588, source: DTMR; (c) sign #3, TC1621, source: DTMR; (d) sign #4, W5-29 (modified), sign image source: DTMR; (e) sign #5, wildlife images source: Phillip Martin; (f) sign #6; (g) sign #6, photo source: A. Bond; (h) sign #8, photo source: Western Australia Police. The following note accompanied sign #4: “A single sign is displayed; the electronic message that is displayed above the sign is variable. The first message is activated when a speeding vehicle is detected and the second message is activated if the speeding vehicle slows down.”

Mentions: There is a variety of currently used wildlife warning signs in Australia, the design of which does not vary greatly, likely due to standards set by respective road authorities, e.g., [16,17]. To our knowledge, there has been no attempt to assess the effectiveness of these standard designs or to use alternative designs. The most commonly used wildlife warning sign in Australia consists of a reflective yellow diamond with a black animal silhouette (e.g., Figure 1a). The wildlife signage guidelines for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads [17] stipulate that this style of sign is only to be used for animals large enough to potentially cause human injury and/or vehicle damage. The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is one exception to this rule, as it is thought that drivers are likely to avoid hitting a koala, as it is an “endeared national symbol of Australia” [17], and in doing so potentially risk danger to themselves and/or occupants of other vehicles. For smaller animals that are unlikely to cause harm to the vehicle occupants and/or vehicle damage, wildlife information signs (e.g., Figure 1b) are used to inform of the presence of these animals. Due to the small potential for human injury and vehicle damage to result from collisions with small wildlife, some road agencies do not expect these signs to elicit a response from drivers [17]. High impact wildlife warning signs (e.g., Figure 1c) are very selectively used in areas where the risk of hitting an animal that may cause human injury and/or vehicle damage is significant [17].


Wildlife Warning Signs: Public Assessment of Components, Placement and Designs to Optimise Driver Response.

Bond AR, Jones DN - Animals (Basel) (2013)

The eight signs included in the survey. (a) sign #1, W5-29, source: DTMR; (b) sign #2, TC1588, source: DTMR; (c) sign #3, TC1621, source: DTMR; (d) sign #4, W5-29 (modified), sign image source: DTMR; (e) sign #5, wildlife images source: Phillip Martin; (f) sign #6; (g) sign #6, photo source: A. Bond; (h) sign #8, photo source: Western Australia Police. The following note accompanied sign #4: “A single sign is displayed; the electronic message that is displayed above the sign is variable. The first message is activated when a speeding vehicle is detected and the second message is activated if the speeding vehicle slows down.”
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494358&req=5

animals-03-01142-f001: The eight signs included in the survey. (a) sign #1, W5-29, source: DTMR; (b) sign #2, TC1588, source: DTMR; (c) sign #3, TC1621, source: DTMR; (d) sign #4, W5-29 (modified), sign image source: DTMR; (e) sign #5, wildlife images source: Phillip Martin; (f) sign #6; (g) sign #6, photo source: A. Bond; (h) sign #8, photo source: Western Australia Police. The following note accompanied sign #4: “A single sign is displayed; the electronic message that is displayed above the sign is variable. The first message is activated when a speeding vehicle is detected and the second message is activated if the speeding vehicle slows down.”
Mentions: There is a variety of currently used wildlife warning signs in Australia, the design of which does not vary greatly, likely due to standards set by respective road authorities, e.g., [16,17]. To our knowledge, there has been no attempt to assess the effectiveness of these standard designs or to use alternative designs. The most commonly used wildlife warning sign in Australia consists of a reflective yellow diamond with a black animal silhouette (e.g., Figure 1a). The wildlife signage guidelines for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads [17] stipulate that this style of sign is only to be used for animals large enough to potentially cause human injury and/or vehicle damage. The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is one exception to this rule, as it is thought that drivers are likely to avoid hitting a koala, as it is an “endeared national symbol of Australia” [17], and in doing so potentially risk danger to themselves and/or occupants of other vehicles. For smaller animals that are unlikely to cause harm to the vehicle occupants and/or vehicle damage, wildlife information signs (e.g., Figure 1b) are used to inform of the presence of these animals. Due to the small potential for human injury and vehicle damage to result from collisions with small wildlife, some road agencies do not expect these signs to elicit a response from drivers [17]. High impact wildlife warning signs (e.g., Figure 1c) are very selectively used in areas where the risk of hitting an animal that may cause human injury and/or vehicle damage is significant [17].

Bottom Line: Evidence of the effectiveness of currently used signs is rare and often indicates minimal change in driver behaviour.Three currently used sign designs and five alternative sign designs were compared in the survey.Three signs consistently ranked high.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Environmental Futures Centre, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia. a.bond@griffith.edu.au.

ABSTRACT
Wildlife warning signs are the most commonly used and widespread form of road impact mitigation, aimed at reducing the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Evidence of the effectiveness of currently used signs is rare and often indicates minimal change in driver behaviour. Improving the design of these signs to increase the likelihood of appropriate driver response has the potential to reduce the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions. This study aimed to examine and assess the opinions of drivers on wildlife warning sign designs through a public opinion survey. Three currently used sign designs and five alternative sign designs were compared in the survey. A total of 134 drivers were surveyed. The presence of temporal specifications and an updated count of road-killed animals on wildlife warning signs were assessed, as well as the position of the sign. Drivers' responses to the eight signs were scaled separately at three speed limits and participants indicated the sign to which they were most likely to respond. Three signs consistently ranked high. The messages conveyed by these signs and their prominent features were explored. Animal-activated and vehicle speed-activated signs were ranked very highly by participants. Extensive field trials of various sign designs are needed to further this research into optimizing wildlife warning sign designs.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus