Each year more than 1800 people die on Canada’s roads, and some 160,000 are injured. Vision Zero Canada recognizes that this carnage is preventable, and campaigns for the elimination of traffic violence for all road users including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.
The Vision Zero approach is rooted in sound principles, including the premises that safe independent mobility is a natural right, and that no loss of life is acceptable. Emulating countries that are leading the way in the reduction of traffic violence, Vision Zero Canada promotes results-driven policies and practices, with a strong focus on public investment in failsafe design.
The Swedish government, who coined the term Vision Zero in 1997, are now talking about Moving Beyond Zero, with a dual focus on the elimination of traffic violence and the promotion of active mobility (e.g. walking and cycling). These twin goals are also at the root of the Vision Zero Canada mission.
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To support Vision Zero advocacy on the municipal, provincial and federal levels please donate $30 to be listed as a sponsor. You’ll receive your choice of weatherproof bumper, bike or bin stickers for every $10 donated, or a resalable bike sticker multipack to recoup your donation.
Executive Director Graham Larkin grew up in beautiful Kingston, Ontario where he got around on foot and on a variety of bikes. After studying history and art at Queen’s University he worked in Montreal and Ottawa, and then spent ten years doing doctoral and postdoctoral work at Harvard (PhD 2003) and Stanford universities. He served from 2005-2011 as Curator of European and American Art at the National Gallery of Canada. More recently he has taught seminars on information design, and he has spread the gospel of community resiliency with his Slow Ottawa and Small Museums Canada enterprises.
A passion for people-friendly urbanism led Graham to found Vision Zero Canada as a registered non-profit in December 2015. In 2016 he established the Love 30 Canada campaign for 30 km/h residential speed limits. This is an alliance with the UK-based 20’s Plenty for Us campaign, which has established 20 mph limits where more than 15 million of people live.
In 2017 Graham also took up editorship of the Drop the ‘A’ Word campaign. His plan for the coming year is to deepen the national conversation about ‘safe systems‘ thinking, and to find ways to make Vision Zero Canada sustainable. If you’d like to arrange for a public consultation, speaking or workshop engagement in your community, please get in touch.
Board of Directors
Dan Rubinstein is an award-winning journalist and author of Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act (Toronto: ECW Press, 2015). He has published extensively in journals including The Walrus, The Economist, the Globe and Mail, enRoute, Spacing, Cottage Life, Canadian Business, and Canadian Geographic, where he worked as managing editor/acting editor. For more information see the profile at borntowalk.org, or listen to Graham Larkin’s interview with Dan on Slow Ottawa.
After receiving a B.A. in English literature Elizabeth Salvaterra (MPA, Queen’s University, 2005) worked for eight years as a paramedic in New York City, where she later designed and implemented the nation’s largest public access defibrillation program. Since 2009 she has worked at the Central East Local Health Integration Network in Toronto, Ontario, where she is currently director of Director of Emergency Room / Alternate-Level-of-Care and Decision Support.
Kathryn Verey has a background in project management and technical writing, as well as a law degree from the UK. For the past 13 years she has lived in Ottawa, where she is variously a pedestrian, cyclist, motorist and user of public transit. Above all, she is a parent who considers traffic safety to be the greatest threat to the health and well-being of her family.
Vision Zero Canada in the Media
What follows is a selective sampling of statements in mainstream media by Vision Zero Canada Executive Director Graham Larkin. The sudden explosion of Vision Zero consciousness, and the rapid maturation of Canadian traffic safety journalism, are chronicled in my summer 2016 report on Metro News Toronto’s ambitions #TOdeadlystreets campaign (June 2016)—precursor to the Toronto Star‘s Deadly Streets series (Dec 2016).
▶ Brian Fitzpatrick, Advocates slam city’s ‘pay as you go’ road safety plan, Toronto Star, 29 Nov 2017. A progress report on Toronto’s Road Safety Plan proposes that “interested” residents might offer donations for recommended road safety initiatives. I panned the idea on many grounds.
▶ Stepping Up Pedestrian Safety: Graham Larkin of Vision Zero Canada on ways to make our streets safer for pedestrians, Global News Toronto, 5 April 2017. Lunchtime TV spot, prompted by news that Madeleine Petrielli’s family is suing the city over her recent death. In response to a police statement (“[i]t doesn’t appear that speed was a factor”) I share some Toronto statistics indicating that speed is always a factor in traffic violence.
▶ Clive Ngan, City Pushes for More Road Safety, CentreTown News, Ottawa, 8 Feb 2017. In which I’m quoted alongside my local City Councillor Catherine McKenney, who is pushing to implement Vision Zero in Ottawa.
▶ Megan Dolski and Hina Alam, “Could Teen’s Tragic Death Crossing Street Have Been Prevented?“ Toronto Star, Dec 12, 2016. As the father of a 15-year-old girl I found it deeply moving to be featured alongside a mother grieving the recent loss of her teen daughter, Madeleine Petrielli. The quotations are based on my phone conversation with Megan Dolski. This article appeared with alternate photos in the Hamilton Spectator, here.
▶ Ben Spurr, “Advocates Push to Change the Way People Talk About Car ‘Accidents,” Toronto Star, Dec 12, 2016. A sophisticated and timely take on road safety advocacy, this is a far cry from reporting traffic “accidents” like we report the weather.
▶ Clare Clancy, “Ad Campaign Suggests Edmonton Pedestrians Should Wear Reflective Clothing to Help Eliminate Traffic-related Fatalities,” Edmonton Sun, Sept 19, 2016. I come down hard on an idea for a defensive walking campaign, which was scrapped the next day, as discussed here.