About 4000 reindeer are killed each year on roads in Northern Finland, causing significant costs due to reindeer recompenses and vehicle repair costs. This study investigated the use and acceptance of a real time reindeer warning system. The potential of the system in preventing reindeer accidents was studied with warnings sent by participating professional drivers and reindeer herders. The real time reindeer warning system was tested for about 1,5 years on two roads in Northern Finland: main road 20 between Oulu and Kuusamo and main road 4 North of Rovaniemi. Participating professional heavy goods vehicle drivers received warnings about reindeer on the road with a simple and easy to use smart phone application. The drivers drove on the test roads regularly and often encountered reindeer on the roads. The warnings were sent by the drivers themselves as well as by a group of local reindeer herders. When a driver saw reindeer on or near the road, he touched a circle on the screen of a smart phone installed in their vehicle, sending the warning to all nearby drivers who had the application in use. The warnings were in effect within an area of radius 500 m from the initial warning for the following 2-4 hours. The impacts of the service were evaluated by driver questionnaires and interviews, expert assessment and interviewing reindeer herders and other stakeholders. The drivers were interviewed twice, after about 6 and 12 months use of the service. 25 drivers participated in the interviews. The majority of drivers assessed the service useful and easy to use. They especially appreciated the possibility to foresee unexpected situations. Almost all drivers expressed directing their attention more towards the road environment after receiving a message. Most also reported lowering their driving speed as a result of receiving the warning. It was estimated that the service could lead to a decrease in reindeer accidents by 10-18 % if all drivers had the possibility to receive messages and all local professional drivers had the possibility to send and receive them. This corresponds to a reduction of 395-725 reindeer accidents annually. The warning service was also found to have indirect effects on traffic safety. In addition to reindeer collisions the service also has an effect on general traffic safety as drivers are more alert and reduce speed after receiving a warning. Regarding all injury accidents in the area, the service was estimated to cause a reduction of 0,8-1,5 % of accidents, corresponding to 2-4 injury accidents annually. The service worked well and was well received by its users. Also the stakeholders interviewed believed the service to be useful and hoped for a large scale implementation. The reindeer warning service raised wide interest in Northern Finland and also elsewhere in Northern Europe. Reducing reindeer accidents is perceived as an important issue. Regarding future services, attention has to be paid on the end user device. Permanently installed devices such as navigators are preferable to loose smart phones, but even then special attention has to be paid on the design of the user interface. It is advisable to study the possibility of risk compensation, especially concerning casual travellers. This is to make sure that the service maintains its effect and the users do not trust too much that there are no reindeer ono the road if they receive no warnings. The drivers' responsibility in all situations has to be emphasised.
|Number of pages||69|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|MoE publication type||D4 Published development or research report or study|
- wildlife accidents
- impact assessment
- traffic safety
Aittoniemi, E., Rämä, P., & Penttinen, M. (2015). Ajantasaisen porovaroituspalvelun hyväksyttävyys ja vaikutukset: ammattikuljettajien kenttätutkimus poronhoitoalueella. Trafin tutkimuksia, Vol.. 17-2015