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What is Durham Vision Zero?


The Standard

NORTH DURHAM: Durham Vision Zero was approved by the Durham Regional Council in 2019 to help reduce collisions and accidents on Durham Region roadways. However, the term ‘Vision Zero’ originated in Sweden, surfacing sometime in 1997. Many other countries have adopted the term and action plan in various forms.

Vision Zero’s principles act as a guide, to help keep people and vehicles moving on roadways, prioritizing safety over speed, delays and other factors, throughout the region of Durham.

The Durham Vision Zero program emphasizes road safety, targeting certain areas the Region deems as needing improvement in terms of road safety.

“Improvements or safety countermeasures are not just engineering in nature,” explained the Communications Advisor from the Region of Durham. “Education, enforcement and engaging our safety partners are also a part of the program.”

The Region, through this program, has implemented some technology to help keep roads safe, for instance, the installation of red light cameras. There are 12 red light cameras across Durham Region, with one in North Durham, located at Lake Ridge Road at Goodwood Road. Other locations include Taunton Road at Lake Ridge Road, Ritson Road at Bond and Simcoe Street at Rossland Road, to name a few locations.

“Our action plan to target these emphasis areas is a shared responsibility with everyone working towards the same goal, to make our roads are safer for all users,” said the advisor.

The Region remains confident the countermeasures they have implemented, as a part of the Vision Zero Action Plan, have made roadways (in Durham Region) safer for pedestrians and drivers.

These locations were chosen for field experience, collision experience and installation (of equipment) feasibility.

The Region keeps track of many factors, including collision data. This will help staff understand the effectiveness of countermeasures, like red light cameras.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to gather statistical evidence. Traffic decreased by 20 percent in 2020, the year after Durham Vision Zero was created. Collisions decreased as well.

As traffic increases on Durham Region roadways, staff at the Region are noticing a link between high volumes of traffic and collisions. The more cars, the greater likelihood of collisions. However, interestingly, collision reports have decreased since 2019.

“We are confident we will achieve our interim goal of reducing injuries and fatalities by 10 percent during the program’s initial five-year period,” stated the advisor.

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