In Northern Finland it is important that drivers are warned about reindeer on the road so that they still have a chance to react. ITS provides new tools to prevent reindeer accidents. A FOT is taking place with truck drivers who can send and receive warnings about reindeer observed on or near the road via a simple mobile phone placed in their vehicles.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd has assessed the impacts of the system by interviewing the 25 test drivers. They drive in the test area regularly and often meet reindeer on the road. Most of the drivers (92%) considered the warning system to be beneficial. They especially valued the possibility of anticipating an extraordinary situation (83% of drivers) and the improvement in traffic safety that the system provides. Almost all drivers estimated being more alert after receiving a warning and one third assessed that the system makes them more alert also in general. Drivers decreased their driving speed, increased the distance from the vehicle in front and stopped multitasking.

The project is funded by the Finnish Traffic Safety Agency Trafi, the Finnish Transport Agency, North Ostrobothnia and Lapland Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, and the Reindeer Herders’ Association. The warning system was developed by Paikkatieto Online Ltd. Local transport companies and reindeer herders actively take part in the Field Operational Test (FOT). The project ends in autumn 2015 when all the results will be available.

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Original source: FOT-Net Data Newsletter