Road Safety Action Plan

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Road Safety Action Plan

The 2020-2024 Road Safety Action Plan focuses the City’s efforts where they can have the greatest impact on reducing collisions resulting in major injury or death. The Plan is delivered by internal partners involved in the education, enforcement and engineering aspects of road safety. Each year an implementation plan is developed to identify specific countermeasures or actions to be undertaken.

  • Vision: A comprehensive and proactive strategy for making Ottawa roads safe for all users.
  • Theme: ‘Think Safety, Act Safely’
  • Goal: A 20 per cent reduction in the average annual rate of fatal and major injury collisions by 2024.
The theme of the Road Safety Action Plan’s educational campaigns is ‘Think Safety, Act Safely’.
The theme of the Road Safety Action Plan’s educational campaigns is ‘Think Safety, Act Safely’.

The 2020-2024 Ottawa Road Safety Action Plan  is an integrated, comprehensive, and proactive strategy for making our roads safer for all users and for continuing to advance toward zero fatal and major injury collisions. The Plan:

  • builds on the successes of Ottawa’s previous road safety programs, which delivered some of the best collision reduction results in the country, including a 14 per cent reduction since the previous program was implemented from 2012 to 2016.
  • incorporates input and guidance from residents, community stakeholders, road safety advocates and experts
  • integrates proven road safety best practices and innovative new measures
  • has three areas of action: engineering, education and enforcement
  • is based on the Safe Systems approach to road safety
  • is guided by the theme of Think Safety, Act Safely in recognition of the shared responsibility and the change in culture required to continue the progress towards zero fatalities and major injuries

All key partners in the City of Ottawa play a vital role in the success of the Road Safety Action Plan, including the Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Public Health, the Public Works Department, Infrastructure and Water Services, and the Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Department.

The Plan used data-driven analysis to select these key emphasis areas for our city:

  • Vulnerable road users (pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists)
  • Intersections
  • Rural roads
  • High-risk drivers (distracted, aggressive and impaired drivers)

The plan’s four main emphasis areas were developed based on data-driven analysis and feedback from various consultation exercises. The emphasis areas were selected to ensure the plan’s actions focus efforts and resources where they would have the greatest impact at reducing fatal and major injury collisions.

The 2020-2024 Road Safety Action Plan Report is available here.

2023 Implementation plan

The goals of the 2023 Implementation Plan are to enhance existing programs and to introduce new strategies and tactics to make our roads safer.

Improving road safety for vulnerable users

Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are the most vulnerable users of our roads. These are some of the actions that will be undertaken to improve their safety this year:

  • Ladder markings: Implement high-visibility ladder markings at 10 locations.
  • Leading pedestrian interval signal timing and no right turn on red signage: Proactively assess 300 locations for the benefit of adding leading pedestrian interval timing to the signals or 'No right turn on red' signage.
  • Joined pedestrian signal phasing: Continue to install signal timing feature to allow the walk signal to appear when a vehicle detection triggers the traffic signal to change to green for the side street, where appropriate.
  • Pedestrian crossover enhancements: Install various enhancements at PXO locations with compliance issues.
  • Pedestrian safety enhancements: Implement low-cost measures to address pedestrian safety issues at one location.
  • Education and outreach: Conduct education and outreach on new and existing pedestrian infrastructure to ensure all road users understand how to use the infrastructure.
  • ‘Be safe, be Seen’: Distribute reflective gear to residents as part of the ‘Be safe, be seen’ program.
  • Motorcycle safety strategy: Implement education, engineering and enforcement measures identified in the motorcycle safety strategy. This includes continued input from key internal and external stakeholders through the motorcycle safety working group and conducting annual collision data monitoring.
  • Motorcycle safety courses: Provide training for 100 riders through a subsidized training program.
  • Cycling safety enhancements: Implement measures to enhance cycling safety at up to three high-volume cycling/vehicle interaction locations.
  • Cycling safety enhancements during road resurfacing: Implement measures to enhance cycling safety as part of resurfacing projects, such has green thermoplastic pavement markings, signage, pavement markings.
  • Cycling detection feedback bollard: Continue installing cycling detection feedback bollards at signalized intersections or multi-use pathway crossings.
  • Amber lock: Locations will continue to be reviewed on an as request basis and amber lock traffic signal functions will continue to be implemented where warranted.
  • School bus cameras: Provide an implementation plan for the school bus camera program.
  • School-based booster seat and passenger safety awareness program (‘BestFit Booster’): Provide education on the proper installation of booster seats and passenger safety through school-based programs geared towards grades 1-3 students.

Improving road safety at intersections

More than half of all fatal and major injury collisions each year happen at intersections. These are some of the actions that will be undertaken to improve intersection safety this year:

  • Protected left turns: Implement protected left turn signals at up to five locations.
  • Rail safety studies: Complete detailed safety assessments with the rail authority at four at-grade rail crossings.
  • Traffic control devices: Allocate partial funding to the New Traffic Control Signal Program for the construction of one intersection that meets warrants for traffic control signals.

Improving road safety on rural roads

Approximately 20 per cent of fatal and major injury collisions happen on our rural roads, despite much lower traffic volumes than other roads in the city. The following are some of the actions that will be undertaken to make rural roads safer:

  • Education and outreach: Conduct education and outreach at rural schools about motorized recreational vehicles to ensure drivers and other road users are aware of the hazards and safe operation.
  • Rural curve enhancements: Enhance the delineation on rural roadway curves at up to five locations as identified through a safety screening process.
  • Signage and lighting: Identify up to 10 rural stop locations for upgrading, such as the need for an oversized stop sign, ‘Stop ahead’ sign, flashing beacon and/or street lighting.
  • Advanced technology: Pilot new technology in rural areas such as LED chevrons and temporary rumble strips.
  • Rural skewed intersection enhancements: Implement geometric modifications at two rural skewed intersections.
  • Safety edges: Implement safety edges during resurfacing work; total number of locations to be determined.
  • Rumble strips: Implement rumble strips during resurfacing work; total number of locations to be determined.
  • Shoulder maintenance: Upgrade approximately 22 linear km of gravel shoulders to help reduce the number of edge drop-off incidents.

Reducing High-Risk Driving

Of 673 fatal and major injury collisions between 2017 and 2021, 67 per cent involved high-risk driving behaviours - aggressive, distracted, or impaired driving. The following are some of the actions that the City of Ottawa’s partners will undertake to reduce high-risk driving.

  • Intelligence-based traffic enforcement: The Road Safety Action Plan emphasis areas will be incorporated into the Ottawa Police Service’s Traffic Unit’s data-driven, intelligence-led Integrated Enforcement Initiative.
  • Teen Safety Week: Deliver an impaired (drugs and alcohol) and distracted driving educational initiative targeted towards teens.
  • Impaired driver enforcement: Deliver monthly RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) Program(s) throughout the city. Provide additional staffing for the Summer Market Enforcement Blitz in the Byward Market.
  • ‘Leave the phone alone’: Enforce distracted driver laws throughout the city on an ongoing basis.
  • Automated license plate recognition enforcement: Deploy automated license plate recognition devices across the city to identify and charge suspended drivers.
  • 30 km/h designs: Include design elements to achieve a 30 km/h target speed for new local roadways or reconstructions.
  • Automated speed enforcement: Install 13 new automated speed enforcement cameras at schools and playgrounds or parks plus, as a pilot study, four others at high-speed locations identified as having significant speeding violations.
  • Gateway speed limit signs: Create 40 km/h or 30 km/h speed limit areas within neighbourhoods and double the number of annual installations to one per ward.
  • Traffic calming in school areas: Implement engineered traffic calming measures in the vicinity of three schools.
  • School zone flashing beacon update: Upgrade existing signage and flashing beacon lights to meet new provincial regulations.

Raising awareness and creating a culture of road safety

Safer Roads Ottawa will continue to undertake a broad road safety communications program, including and beyond the emphasis areas of the Road Safety Action Plan, targeting all road users and encouraging them to ‘Think Safety, Act Safely’. These are some additional actions that will be undertaken to achieve this overall culture and behaviour change:

  • Road safety communications and education strategy: Deliver initiatives identified in the 2023 Communications/ Education Strategy.
  • Various community outreach activities: Undertake 35 community engagement initiatives and events at various locations.
  • Road safety training course (‘Safety School’): Deliver four virtual training sessions for staff who make decisions about the transportation work at the City and one virtual session for elected officials. The course focuses on factors contributing to collisions, human factors associated with design and how road users use the system.
  • Road safety audits Implement guidelines and support various stakeholders in the road safety audit process. Continue to consult with development industry and seek input on road safety audit requirements for developer-led projects within the City right-of-way.
  • Fatal Collision Review Committee: Undertake review of all fatal collisions in the city to determine contributing factors and assess possible education and engineering countermeasures and consider the viability of enforcement.
  • Pilot advanced technology for road safety: Pilot new and innovative technologies and services related to enhancing road safety for all road users.

Many City of Ottawa policies are critical to road safety by considering the safety of all road users during the planning and design of new transportation infrastructure, including:

Safety Improvement Program

The City's Safety Improvement Program primarily focuses on engineering modification to improve road safety. The program selects locations to study, carries out in-depth studies of collision patterns and recommends countermeasures. Locations with existing road safety issues based on collision trends and safety risks are selected for improvements.

The program is carried out on an annual basis, when year-end traffic collision and volume data becomes available. The study takes all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, into consideration. Program assessments lead to recommended changes to signage, pavement markings, traffic control signal timings and phases and/or the installation of skid-resistant asphalt and roadway geometric modifications.

The collection and analysis of the City's collision data is critical to the success of the Safety Improvement Program. Multiple police services forward copies of their collision reports to City staff, who maintain a database of relevant information. The analysis of this information is summarized in annual Collision Statistics Reports.

Annual safety reports

Annual collisions reports provide statistical data on all reported collisions on City of Ottawa roads within a five year period. It provides data to agencies and individuals involved in road safety, allowing them to make sound decisions and evaluate the performance of road safety programs, policies and strategies.

Each report reflects only reported collisions in the jurisdiction of the City of Ottawa. Unreported collisions and collisions on private property are not included. 

All annual collision data is available on Open Data Ottawa.


2020 Ottawa Road Safety Report [PDF - 112 KB]

2019 Ottawa Road Safety Report [PDF - 135 KB]

2018 Ottawa Road Safety Report [PDF - 136 KB] 

2017 Ottawa Road Safety Report [PDF - 135 KB]

2016 Ottawa Road Safety Report [PDF - 130 KB]