Animal deaths due to accidents is a major problem for Japan. According to a survey, 613 animals were hit by trains last year. This caused a 30-minutes delay on average. Deer are drawn towards the iron filings around the railway tracks as they need iron in their diets. The fillings are created by train friction with the track and are a convenient supply for the deer.
A strange yet useful idea may prove to be helpful to put an end to this problem for deer and trains both. The researchers from Japan’s Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) say that if they install speakers on the trains that will play deer snorting sound which will be followed by 20 seconds of dogs barking, it will prove to be effective to keep the deer away from the railway tracks.
The method has been tested at night when the deer tend to crowd the tracks for their iron supply. After the testings, the deer sightings have reduced to half on the tracks. According to RTRI, it is such an impressive fix that they will consider installing the speakers to play these sounds in the areas where the deer population is very high.
— ????? (@wakya33) August 13, 2015
This is not the first time Japan has used such technology to overcome the deer problem. A railway employee, Yuki Hikita, has won Japan’s Good Design Award in December, 2017. He proposed to use ultrasonic waves as a gate for the tracks. They should open when no train is near and close as soon as they detect that a train is approaching. No matter which method Japan will decide to adopt, it will keep both the deer and commuters safe.
Good luck Japan with solving this deer problem!