Evaluation of Right-of-Way Fence Tags to Reduce Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Wildlife-vehicle collisions seriously threaten wildlife populations and contribute to human injuries, deaths, and property loss. Wildlife crossing structures (WCS) in Arizona have been shown to reduce such collisions (Gagnon et al. 2011). However, highway reconstruction budgets are limited and result in time constraints that may delay building additional crossing structures. This necessitates quicker, more cost-effective alternatives for reducing collisions. Some smaller-scale alternatives to crossing structures include warning signs (Sullivan et al. 2004), reflectors (D'Angelo et al. 2006), warning whistles (Romin and Dalton 1992), lighting (Reed and Woodard 1981), crosswalks (Lehnert and Bissonette 1997), animal detection systems (Gagnon et al. 2010), and fencing (Dodd et al. 2007). However, these options have offered mixed results and, while less costly than WCS, are not inexpensive to implement and maintain. Fence tags may provide a viable alternative to preventing vehicle collisions with elk and deer. The reflective clip-on tags flutter in the wind and absorb UV light during the day to emit a glow at night for 10 to 12 hours. They were initially designed to keep sage grouse from striking fences during low flight, but anecdotal information indicates that they also deter deer from jumping and pushing fences. Simply clipped directly on the top wire of existing right-of-way (ROW) fences, the tags may prove beneficial to Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) in two ways — by preventing wildlife damage to ROW fencing and by reducing elk-vehicle collisions by deterring elk from entering the ROW. Such tags cost less than permanent crossing structures and even rival the costs for the more complex alternatives listed above. The research objectives of this project: Since fence tags have not been rigorously tested to determine their degree of effectiveness with elk and deer, ADOT needs to thoroughly evaluate their potential safety impact on the rate of vehicle collisions with large wildlife. (1) Install fence tags along selected stretches of interstate highway (such as Interstates 17 and 40) where elk-vehicle collisions are prevalent and analyze relevant crash data over the testing period. (2) Evaluate maintenance needs of fence tags through monthly inspection and replacement. (3) Identify locations along ADOT roads for further testing or future implementation based on prevalence of elk-vehicle collisions.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Federal Highway Administration

      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Arizona Department of Transportation Research Center

      206 S. 17th Avenue
      ADOT Research Center
      Phoenix, AZ  United States  85007
    • Project Managers:

      Phelan, Bernadette

    • Performing Organizations:

      Arizona Game and Fish Department

      5000 W. Carefree Highway
      Phoenix, AZ  United States  85086
    • Principal Investigators:

      Gagnon, Jeff

    • Start Date: 20171231
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01634923
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Arizona Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: SPR-758
    • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 23 2017 11:22AM