Road Safety Campaigns

Different communities face a variety of obstacles on their roads, from farm vehicles on rural roads to winter driving conditions. The following are some of our public awareness campaigns to make roads safer for all users.

 

Snow How

This campaign reminds drivers to safely navigate winter roads by slowing down, being patient and giving snowplows plenty of space. Everyone has to do their part to get around safely in the winter. When a winter storm is expected, all municipalities have a plan:

  • First, hills and bridges are treated in advance of a storm to make them easier to plow.
  • As soon as snow begins, salt trucks head out and treat expressways and main roads first, followed by smaller routes.
  • Plowing begins in a similar order to salting. With large snowfalls, plowing usually begins once the storm has ended.

Drivers need to have their own plan, which includes leaving earlier and outlining a route. It is important to delay unnecessary travel during significant storms to give plows time to do their jobs. It’s also safer for drivers. Other ways to drive safely this winter include:

 

Go Slow Driving in Snow

Drive according to weather conditions, not the speed limit.

  • Adjust your speed accordingly and give yourself extra travel time. During a storm, posted speed limits are usually too fast. Conditions can also be unpredictable and change rapidly.
  • Avoid sudden moves, starts or stops. Start slowly on slick or snowy roads and brake gradually, giving yourself plenty of space. Steer gently into turns to maintain control.
  • Be visible. Use your low-beam headlights when it is snowing. They are brighter than daytime running lights and will turn on your tail lights.

 

Be Nice Driving On Ice

Stopping distance on ice is double that of a dry road.

  • Leave extra space when driving in icy conditions.
  • Approach intersections slowly when they are covered with ice or snow.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps. Ice can form without warning, even if roadways are dry.
  • Watch out for black ice – a thin, nearly invisible coat of ice that can make the road look like shiny new asphalt. Pavement will look grey or white in the winter.

 

It’s Not A Race, Give Plows Space

Plows can’t see you and you can’t see the road ahead.

  • Plows are extra wide and throw snow and spray, making it difficult to see if the road ahead is clear for passing.
  • The safest place is well behind the plow.
  • Wait for plows to pull over before passing. But don’t accelerate too quickly – the road ahead is unplowed and could be slick or snowy.
  • Avoid parking in the street. Plows can’t clear roads that are blocked by parked cars.

 


Feel free to share the Snow How message with your municipality and road users on social media or your websites. Click and download the materials below and share them publicly. Tag Good Roads on your social campaign to create awareness about safe winter driving conditions.

Be Nice Driving on Ice (PNG 2MB)

Drive Slow in the Snow (PNG 2MB)

It’s Not A Race, Give Plows Space (PNG 2MB)

Vision Zero

Implementing Vision Zero in Ontario

Vision Zero is a fundamental reimagining of the way road safety is approached. Rather than accepting that injuries and deaths are inevitable outcomes of transportation networks, the cornerstone of Vision Zero is that all of these outcomes are preventable and that human safety should not be traded for efficiency. The ultimate goal of Vision Zero is to achieve zero fatalities or serious injuries on roadways.

Humans make mistakes. As such, the fault for road fatalities or injuries lies with both road users and the design of the transportation systems. Non-human considerations such as road infrastructure, public policy, vehicle technology, and the health care system all have a role to play in making our roads safer.

Vision Zero was launched in Sweden in 1997 and has since gradually spread across the globe.

In Canada, at the federal level, the Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators (CCMTA) is the custodian of the Road Safety Strategy 2025 (RSS 2025). RSS 2025 encourages all road safety stakeholders to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world. RSS 2025 is a high-level strategy whose objective is to enable all jurisdictions in Canada to realize zero fatalities and serious injuries on roads nationwide.

Provincially, British Columbia and Manitoba have developed Vision Zero plans. Other provinces and territories such as Alberta, Prince Edward Island, and the Northwest Territories have created road safety plans. However, they do not incorporate Vision Zero principles. None of the other provinces and territories have official road safety plans.

At the local level, a handful of municipalities in Ontario have Vision Zero plans.

  • City of London
  • City of Toronto
  • City of Kingston
  • Peel Region
  • Durham Region

Other Ontario municipalities, such as The City of Mississauga, have pledged to adopt Vision Zero and are currently in the process of creating their plans.

New York City has taken Vision Zero seriously. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was elected in 2014, had Vision Zero as a key plank of his campaign. A $1.6-billion plan was developed at the beginning of the mayor’s first term that looked at changes that need to be made to legislation, enforcement, education, and engineering.

These efforts have paid off.

Since 2014 pedestrian deaths fell by 44 per cent and overall traffic fatalities were down by 27 per cent. The first half of 2018 saw the fewest traffic-related fatalities in any six-month period ever measured. The path to Vision Zero will likely not be linear.

Take a look at what Vision Zero looks like on an urban road Click Here

Bridge Bundling Pilot Program

In Ontario, there is currently a $34 billion-dollar municipal infrastructure deficit in the road, bridge, and culvert asset classes alone. With a lack of fiscal tools at the municipal level, governments of all levels must find creative ways to close this gap as the COVID-19 pandemic has put even more budget pressures on them. A bridge bundling pilot program for municipalities willing to collaborate should be encouraged and enabled by the province. Good Roads is asking that a P3 asset bundling pilot program for municipal bridges and culverts be launched by Spring 2023.

In 2013, Good Roads and like-minded organizations produced a report which looked at the feasibility of applying a P3 model to smaller projects by bundling them to enhance investment and maintenance of municipal bridge and culvert structures. The study conservatively estimated that this P3 model could achieve 13% to 20% in savings, in addition to the benefits of accelerated construction.

The biggest hurdle to implementing a program of this sort was the lack of data at the municipal level. As municipal asset management plans have now been mandated in Ontario, this data gap has been eliminated.

It is time that the province and municipalities worked together on creating a bridge bundling pilot program. Such a program would need to be “opt-in” for municipalities to preserve the right of local councils to do what is best for their communities. However, with the potential to both save on costs and expedite construction, many will no doubt be interested.

If your community is interested in participating in such a program, please contact Thomas Barakat, Good Roads’ Manager of Public Policy and Government Relations at thomas@goodroads.ca.

Reform Environmental Assessment

The Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) process was developed to provide municipalities with a risk-based approach to comply with the Environmental Assessment Act for both capital projects and infrastructure maintenance activities. However, the time and financial cost has come to outweigh the benefit. Without speedy reform, Ontario municipalities risk losing out on funding for projects that are subject to the MCEA process. This simply is neither proper infrastructure planning nor good asset management.

Since the Municipal Engineers Association first developed the MCEA, the process has become more complex, resulting in delayed projects, and significantly increasing costs. A 2014 study showed that it was typically taking almost 27 months to complete the process for certain projects with study and consultant costs averaging $386,500 – exclusive of municipal staff time.

A coalition of EA stakeholders have been pressing the Government of Ontario to make changes for a number of years. The province responded in mid-2020 by proposing to scrap the Class EA process and replace it with new streamlined regulations with consistent and standardized processes that focus on projects with the potential to impact the environment. A consultation process is underway on how best to implement this.

If your organization would like to contribute to the consultation, please reach out directly to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks at EAModernization.MECP@ontario.ca.

Municipal Revenue Tools

Municipalities in Ontario are expected to maintain the majority of the province’s infrastructure without access to the proper funding tools. This untenable situation helps to explain a municipal infrastructure deficit of $34 billion dollars in the road, bridge, and culvert asset classes alone.

Outdated provincial laws limit a municipality’s main source of revenue to the property tax. Moreover, they are not permitted to run deficits in their operating budgets, a fact that makes capital investments easier to delay. It also makes them dependent on funding programs of other orders of government who don’t always share the same priorities and which applying to can be administratively burdensome.

Currently, the City of Toronto enjoys revenue generating tools through the City of Toronto Act that all other municipalities do not have access to. Granting all municipalities the same authority as the City of Toronto is the bare minimum the province can do to address the issue of municipal fiscal sustainability. The vast majority of Ontario’s municipalities have asked for this.

Within the Canadian context, there is a widespread disparity between the revenue sources that municipalities can pursue. Rural communities in Prince Edward Island currently have access to more revenue tools than the City of Ottawa. There are a number of best practices that have emerged from other jurisdictions that have implemented tax reforms. Good Roads believes that incorporating these practices will ensure that the buy-in and success of these changes will be widespread and meaningful.

Voice your support for municipal revenue tools by writing to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

MMS and Roadway Liability

Municipalities are often on the hook for extravagant financial payouts through lawsuits and settlements spurred by those who are injured on their roads – even if they bare very little responsibility for the incident. This is possible by a component of tort law in Ontario known as Joint and Several Liability (JSL) which allows for any party who is found to be “jointly” responsible for the incident to be on the hook for paying out sums disproportionate to their level of fault if others also found to be partly responsible cannot pay their share of what the victim is owed. JSL unfairly burdens Ontario municipalities, who are seen as deep-pocketed defendants in lawsuits. As a result, municipal insurance premiums continue to skyrocket. This diverts municipal funds from other essential municipal services and programs, and forces councils to raise property taxes.

This is not an issue that is easily solved. Numerous attempts have been made; the most recent commitment came in early 2019. Those injured must be adequately cared for, but municipalities cannot continue to bare the brunt of these payouts.

The principles contained in JSL have long been established as tenets of Canadian law. OGRA therefore believes that there is room to reform JSL while still maintaining it. Building on the efforts of other reform initiatives in Canada, any reform should incorporate the following principles:

  • proportionate liability where a plaintiff is contributorily negligent;
  • proportionate liability where a defendant is a “peripheral wrongdoer” – a defendant whose fault is limited and secondary when compared to that of other defendants; and
  • the proportionate reallocation of the uncollected share of a damages award attributed to an insolvent defendant.

A reform predicated on these principles will ensure that the benefits of JSL are retained. It will also align such a reform with the other significant precedents where joint and several liability was amended.

OGRA encourages councils across the province to write to the Attorney General and the Minister of Municipal Affairs asking them to continue the reform process begun in early 2019 and deliver actionable results.

Paying for Infrastructure

The Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) process was developed to provide municipalities with a risk-based approach to comply with the Environmental Assessment Act for both capital projects and infrastructure maintenance activities. However, the time and financial cost has come to outweigh the benefit. Without speedy reform, Ontario municipalities risk losing out on funding for projects that are subject to the MCEA process. This simply is neither proper infrastructure planning nor good asset management.

Since the Municipal Engineers Association first developed the MCEA, the process has become more complex, resulting in delayed projects, and significantly increasing costs. A 2014 study showed that it was typically taking almost 27 months to complete the process for certain projects with study and consultant costs averaging $386,500 – exclusive of municipal staff time.

A coalition of EA stakeholders have been pressing the Government of Ontario to make changes for a number of years. The province responded in mid-2020 by proposing to scrap the Class EA process and replace it with new streamlined regulations with consistent and standardized processes that focus on projects with the potential to impact the environment. A consultation process is underway on how best to implement this.

If your organization would like to contribute to the consultation, please reach out directly to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks at EAModernization.MECP@ontario.ca.

Recycled Aggregates

Millions of tonnes of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) are stockpiled across the province. Using these materials in road building presents an opportunity to continue building high quality roads while also seeing major environmental and financial benefits. This can be achieved if the province creates a standard to mandate the use of RAP into road construction projects.

When municipalities and road builders rehabilitate existing roads, RAP is produced. It consists of approximately 95% aggregate (stone, asphalt, sand, etc.) and 5% bitumen. An OGRA study found that there are currently 114 storage sites across Ontario containing a conservative estimate of 6.7 million tonnes of RAP (5.9M tonnes unprocessed, 0.8M processed).

By incorporating RAP into road construction projects, a number of benefits are realized. Financially, there is a cost reduction in road building as the use of RAP decreases the need for new materials. Costs associated with procuring, hauling, and storing the inputs that RAP replaces are eliminated. The product is largely a ‘free’ input.

Environmentally, the use of RAP allows for the recovering of non-renewable petrochemical resources. The ability to reuse these materials eliminates the need to ship massive volumes of solid waste to landfills. RAP also eliminates the need to source more expensive ‘virgin’ (i.e., new) aggregate resources. There is also an associated reduction of water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is where the largest opportunity exists.

Join Good Roads push for cleaner, more cost-effective, high quality municipal roads. Write to the Minister of Transportation, the Associate Minister of Transportation, and the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks asking for the province to mandate that road construction and rehabilitation projects incorporate 10% RAP into surface course and 20% RAP in the base/binder course.