Train-based animal warning

Although there is much that can be done to secure railway infrastructure, also train operators and manufacturers have some responsibility to prevent accidents. Trains can hardly decelerate in time or deviate from the track to avoid a collisions, but with appropriate technique it is possible to detect obstacles in time and warn or deter both animals and people that happened to be on th track. The trains standard signal horn is a useful tool for people, but has very limited effect on wildlife. Our research aims therefore at finding a way to alert animals in time from the oncoming train.

In this project, we study the response of animals towards an oncoming train and warning signals that train drivers can employ to deter wildlife from tracks and thus avoid collisions. For this, we developed an experimental driver activated scaring system (DASS) that records video while displaying the signals to be tested.

Påkört dovhjort på Kinnekullebanan som fotograferats at DASS enheten från lokförarhytten. Bild: Mattias Olsson.

Train drivers from both Norway and Sweden are participating in the project of filming wildlife on railroad tracks.

Camera in the drivers cabin. Image: Anders Forsgren, SJ

Resources for train drivers

About work package 1

In the project, we test how a mobile animal deterrent could work on trains. The Driver activated scare system (DASS) is installed at the train engine, and is manually activated by the train driver when animals are detected on the track. The DASS displays a warning signal while video recording to document the animals' response towards the oncoming train and the warning signals. If we see that the warning measure leads to an effective reduction of accident risks, the DASS approach may be simplified. Results and knowledge produced in the project will be openly accessible and thereby support technology consultants and innovators for the development of future commercial products.
Train drivers record and upload videos according to the project routine. File management and storage is done using Capture, the new image management platform by the Swedish Transport Administration and SLU. 
Initially, we focus on slower trains (minor railways, freight trains) that traffic railways with exceptionally high collision frequencies in order to maximise train-animal interactions that we can study.