Ok, let’s set the scene. You’re on your very first trip to Japan, exploring the country like any local would (via train). Suddenly, a deer shoots across the train tracks and BAM. You can imagine how that story ends for the deer.
It sounds dramatic (and perhaps traumatic), but animal deaths and accidents have become pretty common alongside railways in Japan.. They reported over 600 cases in the last year alone.
Now, a group of Japanese researchers are trying to reduce the number of animal deaths by making trains bark like dogs. Previous methods include spraying the tracks with lion feces… So it’s safe to say the Tokyo-based Railway Technical Research Institute is down to try just about anything. They’ve determined that adult deer normally make shrill short grunts to warn their flock of incoming danger, so they have started an experiment where they outfit trains with speakers that play 3 seconds of deer grunts followed by 20 seconds of dogs barking.
The grunts get their attention and the barking scares them away.
Every time a train…comes into contact… with one of these creatures, the train service can expect a delay of 30 minutes or more. Since public transportation is so crucial in Japan, the researchers have been conducting late night trials in less populated areas to test the effectiveness of their new animal mixtape. Researchers have said that they have seen a 45% reduction in deer sightings from before they started this little endeavor. They’re even hoping to implement this more widely throughout 2018.
For those that are wondering, YES, they’ve tried nets and fences that barred animals from traveling the tracks during times of peak train usage. And YES they worked well, but everyone is looking for a less intrusive way to protect the animals and keep their schedules on time.