The costs to plan, purchase, install, and operate and maintain an animal detection system on a one-mile section of roadway have been estimated at $31,300 per year.

August 2006
United States; Europe

Summary Information

This report compiled data from several evaluation studies that examined the impacts of animal warning systems in the United States and Europe. Data collected from previous reports, Internet resources, media, and interviews with transportation agencies and industry were used to identify the main characteristics of animal warning systems.

In general, two types of detection systems were identified: "area-cover" systems that use microwave sensor or infrared heat detection technology; and "break-the-beam" systems that use microwave, infrared, or laser beam technology. Other strategies, such as tagging animals with radio transmitter collars and installing roadside receivers to detect large herds have also been used. To improve reliability, multiple technologies have been deployed and cameras have been used to check system performance. At the roadside, warning signs with LED lights or flashing beacons, and roadway illumination systems were used. Most warning systems reset automatically. Some were equipped with wireless communications for remote management. In areas where access to the power grid was not feasible, solar power and batteries were used.

The data below were excerpted from table 4.1 of the report. Note: wildlife fences were designed to guide large animals towards crossing areas where animal detection systems were installed.


Target Species

Distance Covered


Date Installed


(7 sites)

Roe/red deer

50-200 m

System = $11,500


No Fence.

Box, Uusimaa, Finland


220 m

System = $60,000
Installation = $40,000


Includes Fence.

Mikkeli, Finland


90 m

System = $40,000
Installation = $30,000


Includes Fence.

(5 sites)

Roe/red deer

System = $20,000


The Netherlands
(2 sites)

Roe/red deer, boar

200-250 m

System = $50,000


System cost includes installation and fence.

Rosvik, Sweden


100 m

System = $30,000


Includes Fence.

Colville, WA, USA

Deer, elk

402 m

System = $9,000
Installation = $3,000


System cost excludes signage and batteries. No fence.

Nugget Canyon, WY, USA

Mule deer

92 m

System = $200,000


System cost includes O&M, research, and WYDOT wages. Includes fence.

Sequim, WA, USA


4,827 m

System = $60,000
Herd collaring = $13,000


System cost includes equipment. No fence.

Marshall, MN, USA

White-tailed deer

1,609 m

System = $50,000
Installation = $7,000


Installation cost excludes wages. No fence.

Indiana Toll Road, IN, USA

White-tailed deer

9,654 m

System = $1,300,000


Coverage area distance divided over six sections. No fence.

Wenatchee, WA, USA


213 m

System = <$40,000


System cost includes research, design, and installation. No fence.

Yellowstone NP, MT, USA


1,609 m

System = $349,000
Installation = $60,000


System cost includes research and development. No fence.

Los Alamos, NM, USA


30 m

System = $500
Installation = $2,000


System cost excludes salaries and video equipment. No fence.

Thompson-town, PA, USA

White-tailed deer

804 m

System = $90,000
Installation = $30,000


No fence.

Herbertville, Quebec, Canada


10 m

System = $4,100
Installation = $4,100


Includes fence.

Pinedale, WY, USA

Mule deer, pronghorn

2,180 m

System = $982,510


Equipment and installation combined. No fence.

Overall, researchers identified 34 animal detection systems. As of February 2006, 5 sites in North America and 15 sites in Europe were operating; many others had been retired or dismantled.

To support future deployments, researchers conducted a benefit-cost analysis. The analysis was based on the deployment of a hypothetical system that required a minimum number of sensors be installed along a one-mile section of linear roadway. The cost to plan, purchase, install, and operate and maintain the system over a 10 year lifetime was estimated at $313,000 or $31,300 per year (2006 constant dollars).
  • Planning: $50,000
  • Purchase (sensors and equipment for one mile overage area): $65,000
  • Installation (including costs for eventual system removal): $50,000
  • O&M: $14,800 per year
    • Wages for personnel that manage, inspect, and solve problems: $10,000
    • Parts for replacement or repair: $3,000
    • Vegetation management: $1,500
    • Remote access to the system: $300
Researchers noted that the cost of animal detection systems can be difficult to estimate. Project costs vary depending on roadway configuration, terrain, and access to utilities and communications. In areas with curved roadways, heavy vegetation, or rough terrain, additional sensors may be needed. In addition, access to power and utilities in remote areas can be expensive. For example, in Pennsylvania, the cost to install an underground power conduit on both sides of a 0.5 mile section of roadway was estimated at $52,893 ($10 per foot not including electricity costs). The total cost to install solar power, as an alternative, was estimated at $7,500.

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Animal Vehicle Crash Mitigation Using Advanced Technology Phase I: Review, Design and Implementation

Author: Huijser, Marcel P., et al .

Published By: Oregon DOT

Prepared by the Western Transportation Institute - Montana State University, and Sensor Technologies and Systems, Inc. for the Oregon DOT

Source Date: August 2006

Other Reference Number: Report No. SPR-3(076)


System Cost

$31,300 per year for 10 years.


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Cost ID: 2008-00140