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What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries. The strategy does not eliminate collisions, it encourages municipalities to design road systems and related infrastructure in such a way that if a collision does happen, the chance of death or serious injury is much lower.
Sweden came up with this strategy in the 1990s, and it has since caught on in many cities and countries around the world.
Vision Zero in Guelph
Vision Zero is one of the recommendations from the Transportation Master Plan. We know collisions happen. We know we can’t prevent collisions, but in the spirit of Vision Zero, our goal is to make sure everyone can move freely and get around the city safely. Our approach is to focus on safe roads, safe drivers and the right speed for each type of road.
Here are the ways the City is creating a Vision Zero community, in order to meet our strategic plan goals and measurements for success.
Residents are often concerned about drivers speeding in neighbourhoods, and traffic calming is one tool we use to help reduce high speeds.
Lower speed limits
Lower speeds have been proven to reduce the seriousness of injuries from a collision. Speed limits in several neighbourhoods and community safety zones across Guelph are being lowered 50 kilometres per hour (km/hr) to 40 km/hr to force drivers to slow down and drive safely. This map identifies the areas where a lower speed limit has been approved.
Automated speed enforcement
Automated speed enforcement (ASE) is another tool the City uses to combat speeding and aggressive driving. It is a provincially regulated program that uses a camera and a speed measurement device to enforce speed limits in school area community safety zones.
ASE is not a hidden speed trap or an undercover means of catching people speeding without their knowledge. The community is notified 90 days in advance about the cameras, the locations are shared publicly and once the cameras are installed, they will begin enforcing the posted speed limit.
Pedestrian crossings and bike signals
Pedestrian crossings help you get from one side of the road to the other, but the type of crossing—crosswalk or crossover—affects how pedestrians and drivers should behave. The biggest behaviour difference between crosswalks and crossovers is how long a driver must wait before proceeding through the crossing.
Bike signals and other safe cycling measures improve intersection safety and give cyclists more space and time to safely cross streets.
Red light cameras
Running a red light can cause significant injuries, so the City uses red light cameras (RLCs) to help decrease the severity of injuries from collisions by reducing right-angle collisions and cars running red lights.
Community speed awareness program
The community speed awareness program invites residents to request a speed radar sign for their street for a two week period, to help make drivers aware of their driving speeds.
Slow down lawn signs
Residents can request a slow down sign for their lawn, so drivers know they need to slow down and watch for pedestrians, children and pets.
Road safety dashboard
The road safety dashboard shares collision data in Guelph, excluding private property and provincial roads and highways. It includes an inventory of road safety initiatives across Guelph, to help keep the City accountable as we demonstrate our commitment to Vision Zero and road safety for all.
Keeping our community safe
Many of the safe systems principles and preferred strategies to address road safety found in Guelph’s Community Road Safety Strategy support Vision Zero principles. Implementing the Community Road Safety Strategy will help Guelph achieve its Vision Zero goals while responding to the community’s need to feel safe walking, jogging, wheeling and riding their bikes through all corners of our city.