Niagara Region's goal is to improve road safety for all users. Improving road safety and reducing speeding and dangerous driving are key priorities.
For many years, our staff have been dealing with concerns raised by residents about speeding on Regional roads. Speeding is a primary crash factor and a leading road safety problem, often contributing to fatal crashes and serving as a factor in most crashes.
A review of our collision data-to-date shows that the total number of collisions are continuously increasing on our roads. Niagara experiences a high collision fatality rate when compared to other jurisdictions in southern Ontario.
The Vision Zero Road Safety Program aims to eliminate all vehicular and pedestrian injury or death on Regional roads. It considers all active modes of transportation, such as driving, walking and cycling. It also aims to reduce collisions by promoting major road safety initiatives throughout the region.
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. An implementation plan is being developed with the intention to launch the program in 2022.
The following initiatives are either in place or development to reduce the number of collisions and fatalities on Regional roads.
Ontario enabled automated speed enforcement in December 2019 under the Safer School Zones Act to reduce speeds in school zones and community safety zones. Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton, York, Mississauga, Peel, Durham, Ottawa and Waterloo have the cameras in operation.
Niagara Region staff are seeking approval from all 12 local municipalities to implement automated speed enforcement across the region. The current proposal is for four safety enforcement units, which will be rotated among the 13 approved Community Safety Zones.
Initial evaluation and feedback from the municipalities, the media and the Automated Speed Enforcement Steering Committee is that this is an effective strategy in reducing:
This additional safety tool increases police enforcement, especially when placed in speed-related collision hot spots, by enforcing safe speed across all road users. Revenues collected under any municipal automated speed enforcement program will be used to support local public safety and educational initiatives.
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. In Niagara, there are 210 four-legged signalized intersections and 44 three-legged signalized intersections. At these intersections, 1,429 angle and 3,621 rear-end collisions were recorded from 2014 to 2018.
Eight municipalities in Niagara are operating red light cameras. Ten new red light cameras will be installed across Niagara on Regional roads once the equipment is purchased and installed.
Community Safety Zones help to change driver behaviour, including reducing speed and distracted driving, and improving 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 been 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:
Current Community Safety Zones