Everywhere around the globe, cities are putting in efforts to make their roads safer. Many have adopted what is known as “Vision Zero”, a strategy to fully eliminate all fatalities and severe injuries due to traffic accidents. Additionally, Vision Zero strives to increase safe mobility for all people, whether it be those riding a bike or walking as a form of commuting. Ottawa, however, doesn’t use the term ‘Vision Zero’, and has instead implemented what they refer to as a “Road Safety Plan.” Here’s what we know about it.

How does Vision Zero differ from Ottawa’s Road Safety Plan?

First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero has spread like wildfire across the globe, with many Canadian cities taking part. By working with local traffic planners, engineers, and public health professionals, Vision Zero takes a multidisciplinary approach to creating safer roads for all. Many outside factors contribute, as well. This can include roadway design, policies, and speed limits.

According to Parachute, three provinces, two cities, two regions, and 23 cities have already implemented a Vision Zero strategy, Ottawa included. However, as mentioned above, Ottawa does not use the term “Vision Zero.” Instead, it has implemented what is called its 2020-2024 Road Safety Action Plan.” With the theme of “Think Safely, Act Safely,” the city will focus its efforts where needed the most. Having an impact specifically on reducing collisions that involve death or serious injury is the overall goal.

What are the goals of the Ottawa Road Safety Action Plan?

Using comprehensive strategies and planning, the 2020-2024 Ottawa Road Safety Action Plan aims to make the roads of Ottawa a safer place for all. This expands outside of just drivers and accounts for bikers, pedestrians, and those who take public transportation. Similar to Vision Zero, the final goal is zero fatal and major injury collisions.

So far, Montreal has focused on improving road safety for its most vulnerable users. This includes pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. The following actions have been undertaken:

  • Ladder markings at 10 different locations
  • No right turn on red signs added to roughly 300 locations
  • Pedestrian safety and crossover enhancements
  • Education and outreach on new and existing pedestrian infrastructure
  • Cycling safety enhancements
  • Motorcycle safety courses
  • School bus cameras
  • School-based booster seat and passenger safety awareness program launch

In 2023, The Sûreté du Québec published its annual road safety report. This showed a total of 240 fatal collisions and 269 deaths in the year 2023. They pointed out that nearly 20 percent of victims killed in these accidents were not wearing seat belts. with 9% being attributed to distracted driving and 31% being related to speeding. Though not major, this was an improvement in comparison to 2022. The year prior shows 266 fatal collisions, as well as 245 in 2021. In a press release, the Sûreté du Québec wrote that it was “happy to see an improvement in the road numbers compared with last year.”

Implementation of road safety plans for 2024

As we get through the first quarter of the final year of Ottawa’s Road Safety Plan, the goals remain the same. For 2024, they plan on enhancing existing programs in addition to introducing new strategies and tactics to make the roads of Ottawa safer for everyone. Ottawa’s 2024 Implementation Plan has multiple tactics planned and in motion to make roads safer. These include:

  • Be Safe Be Seen initiative. This initiative focuses on making vulnerable road users more visible. This includes distributing reflective gear to residents who cycle or walk.
  • Education and outreach regarding new pedestrian infrastructure. This will ensure all road users understand how to use the new infrastructure properly and safely.
  • Ladder marking will continue to be installed, with 10 new locations implemented with high-visibility markings.
  • Improving safety at all intersections. More than half of all fatal collisions happen at an intersection. Due to this, action will be taken to improve the safety of Ottawa’s intersections.
  • Reducing high-risk driving through courses, such as Teen Safety Week. On top of this, increasing RIDE programs to crack down on impaired driving.
  • Improve and expand motorcycle safety courses. This will provide training for over 100 riders through a subsidized training program.
  • Cycling safety enhancements will be implemented at busy intersections, such as Elgin St. & Laurier Ave and Laurier from Queen Elizabeth Driveway to Elgin.

Final thoughts

No matter what city you are located in across the globe, making your streets safer starts with you doing your part. All of these measures are meant to increase road safety not just in Ottawa, but around the world. Always remember to follow safe driving habits. Remember, driving safely is only possible when you have the right insurance in case of an accident. Are you in the country’s capital and looking for Ottawa car insurance? Contact us or request a car insurance quote today!

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