Toronto to consider new road safety plan

Published: June 17, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The largest city in Canada is ramping up its efforts to combat fatal auto accidents and help reduce the cost of auto insurance. Politicians in Toronto will meet next Monday (June 20) to debate a recent proposal to hold quarterly “joint reviews” to help find the root causes of fatal collisions on Ontario’s busiest roads.

During the debate, the city will decide if the reviews to be held between the transportation services department and the Toronto city police will go ahead. The initiative would be on the recommendation of city staff, who drafted the Toronto road safety plan (2017-2021) headed by the general manager of transportation services, Stephen Buckley.

KSI collisions are those that result in victims either being killed or severely injured, it is hoped the road safety plan would help reduce KSI rates in the city by 20%.

“Achieving the 20% reduction in KSI collisions goal proposed by the RSP requires a fundamental shift from opportunistic delivery of programs to a more proactive, data-driven, strategic planning and implementation of proposed countermeasures,” Buckley wrote.

The city will meet to decide whether the proposal gets pushed to the full council meeting on road safety which is scheduled for July 13. Next Monday’s debate will be conducted by the public works and infrastructure committee and it is expected that the committee will agree with the proposal.

However, Buckley’s plan would require more funding than has currently been offered by Toronto’s 2017-2025 capital plan. He says the overall cost of his plan “is estimated at $68.1 million” whereas the city has only approved $28.2 million. The plan goes far beyond simply quarterly reviews, but Buckley says such reviews could help understand the nature of KSI collisions.

The reviews would consist “of analyzing a deficiency checklist and hosting quarterly joint reviews of fatal collision events with Toronto Police Service (fatal collision and collision reconstruction reports), Toronto Public Health (hospital trauma centre reports and data) and Transportation Services (collision data, engineering solutions) to identify potential causal factors and countermeasures to reduce the risk and/or severity of serious injury collision events.”

Part of the plan is also focused on pedestrians, namely improving infrastructure for crosswalk markings and possibly introducing a no right turn on some intersections.

“The comprehensive nature of the plan entails the shared responsibility, involvement, and commitment of all road safety partner agencies in the City, consideration for all types of road users, identification of the City’s key safety priorities, and the inclusion of a variety of engineering, education, and enforcement countermeasures,” Buckley wrote.

Any reduction in severe traffic incidents could have a positive impact on the cost of auto insurance premiums in Toronto. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is the most expensive region in Canada to insure a vehicle, and while road safety is not a defining factor in high rates, it is a contributor.