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Toronto Has Adopted New Road Safety Measures

Thursday, August 8, 2019 10:33:00 AM

Toronto City Council has adopted three reports that will result in initiatives designed to reduce speeds, change driver behaviour and lower the number of traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto's streets. Council approved updates to the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan and Automated Speed Enforcement program, as well as the Administrative Penalty System report, which will introduce parking fine increases in school and community zones.

Vision Zero 2.0 is a proactive and targeted initiatives, informed by data and aimed at eliminating serious injury and fatalities on Toronto's roads. No loss of life as a result of traffic collisions is acceptable in a Vision Zero approach, and addressing road safety continues to be a priority for residents, elected officials and staff.

Following a safe systems approach, Vision Zero 2.0 continues to draw solutions from the 5Es of engineering, enforcement, education, engagement and evaluation. The plan focuses these solutions on 6 emphasis areas of pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, school-aged children, older adults and aggressive and distracted driving. Vision Zero 2.0 focuses on a set of the most effective actions including:

• Speed management strategy.
• Road design improvements.
• Proactively addressing high-risk mid-block crossings.
• Proactively addressing turning collisions at signalized intersection.
• Education and engagement plan.

Vision Zero's data driven approach has allowed staff to investigate the relationship between Killed and Serious Injury collisions and other demographic factors including children and older adults. Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) is a tool that is applied evenly and consistently to all motorists and is not biased towards or against any sector of the population.

Since 2017, when Toronto City Council unanimously approved Toronto's first Vision Zero Road Safety Plan, the City has implemented a number of safety interventions aimed at protecting school children including:
• 56 School Safety Zones which includes the installation of signs that display vehicle's speed, flashing beacons and enhanced pavement markings
• 188 mobile "Watch Your Speed" signs that can be rotated amongst other schools to advise vehicles of their speed.
• Educational campaigns including "School Safety", "Art of Distraction" and the "Please Slow Down" lawn sign campaign
• 754 kindergarten to grade 8 (K-8) schools designated as Community Safety Zones • Active and Safe Routes to School Pilot at 5 schools

The ASE Study Pilot that was conducted between September and December 2018 which included the installation of signage and speed measuring / camera devices around 8 schools and illustrated excessive speed, with speeds measured in excess of 100km/h at 7 of the 8 sites that were studied.

Location (speed limit)/Average Weekly Vehicles detected above the speed limit/Average Weekly
Vehicles detected more than 10km/h above the speed limit/Average Weekly Volume/Max Detected Speed (km/h)

Gateway Blvd (40km/h) - 10,347 - 1,010 - 52,911 - 86.9
Don Mills Rd (60km/h) - 5,743 - 1,058 - 85,488 - 137.9
Queen St (40km/h) - 23,748 - 5,587 - 52,150 - 127.4
Renforth Ave (40km/h) - 25,511 - 7,370 - 37,091 - 202.3
Wilson Ave (50km/h) - 52,151 - 16,937 - 83,867 - 156.4
Dufferin St (50km/h) - 14,139 - 2,192 - 63,498 - 124.4
Rockcliffe Blvd (30km/h) - 49,608 - 32,571 - 56,230 - 102.8
Avenue Rd (40km/h) - 60,170 - 22,013 - 103,180 - 109.8

Excessive speed is one of the leading contributing factors to traffic related injuries, influencing both the risk of a collision as well as the severity of the injuries that result from collisions.Law enforcement agencies perform an essential role in speed management and through the use of highly visible and sustained speed enforcement programs, are widely known to reduce speeding related collisions and improve speed limit compliance.

ASE systems have shown to be particularly effective in School Zones. New York City, which has one of the most extensive and robust ASE programs in North America reported that traffic fatalities near schools with ASE sites were reduced by more than half, and speeding was reduced by more than 60 percent. The City of Edmonton, together with the University of Alberta has also conducted a number of studies on the effectiveness of their ASE program in and have found that severe collisions (fatal and
injury) have been reduced by 32% and speed related collisions have been reduced by 27%.