Vision Zero Road Safety Program
Niagara Region's goal is to improve road safety for all users. Improving road safety, and reducing speeding and dangerous driving are key priorities.
Regional staff often deal with safety concerns raised by residents about speeding on Regional roads. Speed is a basic risk factor in traffic. It is also a primary cause of crashes, often contributing to serious injury or death.
Higher driving speeds lead to higher crash rates and a greater likelihood of more severe outcomes. The faster a vehicle is driven, the higher the risk in being involved in a crash. This is partly due to the longer braking distance, human reaction time and the law of physics.
A review of collision data by Public Works from 2015 to 2019 shows that the total number of collisions are increasing on our roads. This highlights the need for safety measures.
Our Vision Zero Road Safety Program aims to:
- Eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries
- Increase safe, healthy and fair mobility
- Consider all active modes of transportation, such as driving, walking and cycling
- Reduce all collisions by promoting major road safety initiatives across Niagara
Associate Director Transportation Planning
905-980-6000 ext. 3771
Email Scott Fraser
Vision Zero Network
Vision Zero is a multi-national road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a road network with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic.
Five-Year Road Safety Strategic Plan
The Five-Year Road Safety Strategic Plan will set out the targets, policies and actions to create safer roads and reduce the number of fatal and injury collisions.
Road safety initiatives
Niagara Region completed presentations at all 12 local municipalities and received unanimous approval to move forward with elements of Vision Zero - automated speed enforcement and red light cameras.
The following initiatives are either in place or development to reduce the number of collisions and fatalities on Regional roads.
Automated speed enforcement
To improve roadway safety, we're launching the Automated Speed Enforcement Program after receiving approval from all 12 local municipalities and Regional Council.
The launch will begin with installation of "Municipal Speed Camera Coming Soon" signs. The signs will be in place for at least 90 days, as required by legislation. Following the 90 days, the automated speed enforcement units will become operational.
How automated speed enforcement units work
Automated speed enforcement is an automated system that uses cameras and a speed measurement device to help enforce posted speed limits in school zones and community safety zones.
An automated speed enforcement unit (mobile or semi-fixed) takes an image of any vehicle travelling over the posted speed limit. The camera stores the images, and the approved vendor downloads and sends the images to Toronto's Joint Processing Centre.
The joint processing centre reviews the images and determines if a ticket should be issued. For each ticket to be issued, the joint processing centre:
- Requests access to the Ministry of Transportation vehicle ownership database
- Prepares the the necessary documentation
- Mails a summons to the registered owner of the vehicle and to the court
Speed limits are not guidelines, they are the law. Driving at the posted limit will ensure a ticket is not issued.
Timing and location of automated speed enforcement units
After the legislatively required 90 day notice using the "Coming Soon" signs in the designated zones, automated speed enforcement units will rotate among 13 Council approved community safety zones and school zones throughout 2023.
When the automated speed enforcement units are installed and start enforcing speed limits, the signs will change from "Municipal Speed Camera Coming Soon" to "Municipal Speed Camera in Use".
Reasons for automated speed enforcement
We are committed to improving road safety and we know speed is a problem on Niagara's roads. According to Automated Speed Enforcement Ontario, speed contributes to a third of fatal collisions in Canada. Slowing down drivers helps make roads safer.
Automated speed enforcement is an effective strategy to:
- Improve safety on Regional roads
- Reduce vehicular speeds
- Encourage compliance with speed limits
- Reduce collisions resulting in fatalities and severe injuries
- Reduce the overall number of collisions
- Support walkable and safe communities
This safety tool complements police activities by enforcing safer speeds. Revenues collected under any municipal automated speed enforcement program will support road safety-related programs and educational initiatives.
Niagara joins municipalities across Ontario, including Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton, York, Mississauga, Peel, Durham, Ottawa and Waterloo who have already launched automated speed enforcement units in their communities.
Ontario enabled automated speed enforcement in December 2019 under the Safer School Zones Act to reduce speeds in school zones and community safety zones.
Learn more about automated speed enforcement systems, tickets, fines and benefits.
Red light cameras
Municipalities in Niagara will be outfitted with red light cameras as part of Niagara Region's Automated Speed Enforcement Program. In 2023, we will add ten new red light cameras on Regional roads across Niagara.
Red-light cameras have been in operation in Ontario since November 2000. The program and processes are well-established and recognized by the court system for their high quality and proof of violations.
Red light running is a significant cause of severe collisions at signalized intersections. Between 2014 and 2018 there were 1,429 angle collisions recorded at Regionally-owned signalized intersections.
Community safety zones
Community safety zones help to change driver behaviour, including reducing speed and distracted driving, and improve safety on certain sections of road where public safety is of special concern.
These zones let motorists know they are within an area where fines have increased through a special designation under the Highway Traffic Act. Many set fines are doubled, such as speeding and traffic signal related offences. Signs are posted at the limits of the zone with "Begins" and "Ends" and show the legal limits of the zone. The rules of the road don't change within the zone. Only the penalties for violations are increased.
- Choosing a community safety zone
Site selection includes locations which have safety concerns or complaints near sensitive areas such as schools, retirement homes and daycares. When choosing a site, staff look at the:
- Number of safety and speeding complaints at location
- Percentage of students and families walking to and from school
- Speeding study results and number of violations
Designated community safety zones
- Alexander Kuska KSG Catholic Elementary School, Rice Road (Regional Road 54) between Quaker Road and Woodlawn Road (Regional Road 41) in Welland
- Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Livingston Avenue (Regional Road 512) between Roberts Road and Patton Street in Grimsby
- Crossroads Public Elementary School, Niagara Stone Road (Regional Road 55) between Concession 6 Road (roundabout) and Four Mile Creek Road (Regional Road 100) in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- DSBN Academy, Louth Street (Regional Road 72) between Rykert Street and Pelham Road (Regional Road 69) in St. Catharines
- Greendale Elementary School, Montrose Road (Regional Road 98) between Watson Street and Lundy's Lane (Regional Road 20) in Niagara Falls
- John Calvin School, Station Street (Regional Road 14) between Spring Creek Road and West Street (Regional Road 20) in West Lincoln
- Our Lady of Victory Catholic Elementary School, Central Avenue (Regional Road 124) between Gilmore Road (Regional Road 19) and Bertie Street in Fort Erie
- Park Elementary School, Main Street East (Regional Road 81) between Nelles Road North / Nelles Road South and Barlett Avenue(Regional Road 14) in Grimsby
- Smithville District Christian High School, Townline Road (Regional Road 14) between Harvest Gate and Canborough Street (Regional Road 14) in West Lincoln
- St. Ann Catholic Elementary School, Main Street (Regional Road 87) between Martindale Road (Regional Road 38)and Johnson Street in St. Catharines
- St. David's Public School, York Road (Regional Road 81) between Queenston Road and Concession 3 Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Twenty Valley Public School, Victoria Avenue (Regional Road 24) between Frederick Avenue and King Street (Regional Road 81) in Lincoln
- West Lane Secondary School, Lundy's Lane (Regional Road 20) between Kalar Road and Montrose Road (Regional Road 98) in Niagara Falls