News / Toronto

Toronto's road safety plan gets a Vision Zero rebrand

City officials announce new "Vision Zero" logo for road safety plan, plus new red light cameras and 12 "senior safety zones."

From left: Transportation director Barbara Gray, traffic management director Myles Currie, Mayor John Tory, Coun. Jaye Robinson and Police Chief Mark Saunders speak at Tuesday’s unveiling of the city’s Vision Zero road safety plan Tuesday.

Torstar News Service file

From left: Transportation director Barbara Gray, traffic management director Myles Currie, Mayor John Tory, Coun. Jaye Robinson and Police Chief Mark Saunders speak at Tuesday’s unveiling of the city’s Vision Zero road safety plan Tuesday.

In an effort to protect the lives of elderly pedestrians, the city is doubling the number of red light cameras at local intersections and establishing 12 “senior safety zones” across Toronto.

Despite accounting for only 14 per cent of Toronto’s population, elderly residents make up the majority of pedestrian fatalities in the city. Of the 44 pedestrians killed in Toronto last year, two-thirds were over 65. 

“These are preventable deaths,” said Mayor John Tory Tuesday, after announcing the first senior safety zone at the intersection of Dundas Street West and Bloor Street.

The intersection was home to four pedestrian deaths and five serious injuries in the past six years, said Coun. Jaye Robinson. Many victims were seniors.

To reduce the carnage at the intersection, the city has lowered speed limits in the area from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, erected signs urging drivers to slow down and increased pedestrian crossing times.

Similar changes will be made to 11 other intersections across the city in the first quarter of 2017, Robinson said. Many of the new senior zones are outside the downtown core, including the intersection of Eglinton and Midland, where two pedestrians were killed last year.

Transportation staff will also be installing new red light cameras at 76 intersections. The cameras have been shown to reduce injuries and deaths at intersections by as much as 60 per cent, Tory said.

The mayor was adamant the red light cameras had nothing to do with revenue.

“It’s not about the money,” Tory said. “Even if they produce zero dollars, I would still be happy with them.”

Vision Zero

Toronto’s road safety strategy has been rebranded as a “Vision Zero” plan, complete with a new logo and beefed up rhetoric from city officials.

Vision Zero is an approach to road safety that seeks to eliminate road deaths and injuries. It suggests safety is the responsibility of transportation designers rather than individual road users.

When Toronto’s road safety strategy was unveiled last June, Mayor John Tory claimed it would reduce deaths and injuries by 20 per cent. After being criticized for the “timid” goal, Tory recanted, and said the plan will strive to eliminate, not just reduce, fatalities.

“I once mistakenly cited any objective other than zero,” Tory said Tuesday. “Frankly, any number above zero is not acceptable.”

Tory’s remarks were reflected in a new Vision Zero logo for the city’s road safety strategy, complete with an image of the CN Tower. The logo is featured prominently on a new website that lets residents map 11 years of pedestrian collision data and track the city’s efforts to achieve Vision Zero.

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