Issue: Pedestrian injuries
Seventeen children ages 0 to 14 years were killed in pedestrian incidents in Canada in 2020. On average, there are about 1,000 child pedestrian injuries each year.
Problem: Speeding and pedestrian safety
Unfortunately, speeding is common in Canada. Speeding is a contributing factor in one in four fatal crashes on Canadian roadways.
According to a 2021 national survey of driving-age Canadians conducted by Parachute and Ipsos:
- Half state that they’ve exceeded the speed limit on a clear highway in the past year, with over one in 10 indicating they do this frequently.
- Half say they’ve been ticketed for speeding.
- More than half perceive that aggressive driving increased on Canadian roads over the previous five years.
Children are twice as likely to be struck by a car in areas with speed limits over 50 km/h.
A pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 50 km/h is almost six times more likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck at 30 km/h.
Solution: Speed reduction
Changing physical environments
Physical changes or barriers can discourage speeding and have a significant impact on the number and severity of pedestrian-related crashes.
Traffic calming measures reliably reduce pedestrian injury. Traffic calming measures include:
- Speed bumps
- Road narrowing
- Adding pedestrian islands or curb extensions (bulbouts)
Communities more conducive to walking have fewer pedestrian injuries. These communities have environments that promote walking by making routes attractive (e.g., trees and trails) and safe (e.g., sidewalks and crosswalks).
Increased pedestrian numbers also heighten driver awareness, which can result in speed reduction and fewer pedestrian injuries.
Recent studies have shown that trees also reduce speed. They shield pedestrians from moving into traffic, while clearly defining the roadway edge. Tree-lined streets can help drivers to visually assess, and consequently reduce, their speed.
Changing attitudes and behaviours
Drivers cannot accurately determine their own speed while they are driving and, as a consequence, may not slow down when they see people.
Alerting drivers when they are speeding can be very useful. According to Transport Canada, 72 per cent of Canadian drivers endorse roadside warning signs that tell them when they are speeding. A combination of speed cameras and fines can enforce speed limits in residential areas and school zones.
One study found that when warning signs, cameras and police are in place, the number of vehicles travelling more than 10 km/h over the speed limit dropped by 62 per cent.
Automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems, such as speed cameras, are proving to be an effective strategy for speed reduction. Research demonstrates that ASE systems:
- Reduce speed by an average of up to 14 km/h. ASE systems reduce speed in both low-speed settings, such as school-zones, and high-speed settings, such as highways.
- Reduce motor vehicle crashes in the area of the camera by up to 50 per cent and reduce serious and fatal injury by up to 44 per cent.
- Are a cost-effective intervention, with cost to benefit ratios exceeding 10:1.