Improving Road Safety

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How can we work towards zero traffic-related injuries and fatalities on our streets?

What engineering, education, or enforcement tools can we use to improve traffic safety?

Do you think it is possible to work towards zero injuries and fatalities on our streets?

Traditional Approach vs Vision Zero (Vision Zero Network, 2021)


Traffic related injuries and fatalities pose significant risks to public health in Canada and around the world. According to a report issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Yukon has the second-highest rate of traffic-related injuries and fatalities in Canada.

Injuries and fatalities from traffic collisions can be debilitating and have life-altering consequences. These are tragic incidents for those involved, families, and communities.

Jurisdictions around the world have been grappling with how to minimize and eliminate all traffic-related serious injuries and fatalities on streets and roads using a combination of engineering, education, and enforcement tools. A framework for minimizing or eliminating traffic related incidents is called Vision Zero.

"At the heart of [Vision Zero] is the belief that no one should be killed or seriously injured from using the road network. [A Vision Zero framework acknowledges that]:

  • People make mistakes which can lead to crashes; however, no one should die or be seriously injured on the road as a result of these mistakes. 
  • The human body has a limited physical ability to tolerate crash forces – any impact greater than 30km/h increases the risk of dying significantly. 
  • Road safety is a shared responsibility amongst everyone, including those that design, build, operate and use the road system. 
  • All parts of the road system must be strengthened in combination to multiply the protective effects and if one part fails, the others will still protect people. 

At the centre of the system is people – people that are fragile and will at times make mistakes that can lead to crashes. With that understanding, the road system needs to put layers of protection in the form of safe roads, vehicles, speeds, people around the fallible and vulnerable human in order to prevent deaths and serious injuries."

(Towards Zero Foundation, 2021)

References and Resources

City of Austin (May 10, 2021). Vision Zero

Institute of Transporation Engineers. Safe System.

iRAP (October 25, 2021). How safe roads feature in the Global Plan for Decade of Action.

Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (2020). Motor Vehicles in Yukon: A Public Health Perspective.

SWOV (2018). Susainable Safety 3rd Edition.

Towards Zero Foundation (2021). The Safe System.

Vision Zero Network. What is Vision Zero?

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