Partners, Plans & Committees

How to establish a road safety committee?

There is no single organizational structure or design for establishing road safety committees simply because each community is unique and has its own values, priorities and needs. However, a Terms of Reference document describing the structure, objectives and processes to guide the work of the committee is essential irrespective of its composition. Meetings should be held at least once every quarter.

Suggested Terms of Reference for a Road Safety Committee

  • Responsible to develop, implement and monitor the Road Safety Strategy and any supporting Action Plans.
  • Make recommendations to Mayor and Council on matters related to the Road Safety Strategy and finances related to the plan.
  • Agree upon and communicate and coordinate the high-level strategy.
  • Ensure departmental business plans include a road safety component.
  • Confirm road safety goals as well as a vision for the future based on targets and priorities.
  • Approve the annual report of progress achieving the plan.

It is equally important the Road Safety Committee takes the lead role in the development and implementation of the plan and individual departments are held accountable for the implementation and effectiveness of specific strategies assigned to them. In addition, other organizations and agencies should be encouraged to undertake components of the plan which form a part of their operations and be responsible for effectively implementing the plan and reporting results.

Community participation on a Road Safety Committee is essential. Community participation is needed for:

  • accurate understanding of the public’s priorities and needs, especially at the local level;
  • increasing public support for government’s efforts;
  • promoting effective service delivery; and,
  • serving as a watchdog or advocate for road safety.

Road Safety Committees assist in the engagement and empowering of committed and enthusiastic members of the community. They can provide a forum for a two-way process where road safety concerns are fed back to the municipality and vice versa. Various types of committees exist, and many provide a link to the municipal council.

Examples of road safety committees:

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What guiding principles are the foundation for an effective, comprehensive road safety plan?

This section contains some guiding principles which provide the foundation for effective, comprehensive road safety plans. It describes essential processes required for effective road safety management and includes the establishment of community road safety committees and the development of road safety strategic plans. Several examples of practice are shared as illustration of distinct features. In addition, this module highlights examples of engagement strategies for key partners and initiatives involving community partnerships to improve road safety.

Guiding Principles

Primary considerations as part of a comprehensive approach include strategies to optimize road safety outcomes and effectively allocate and share financial and human resources. These are:

  • Informed decision-making. An integrated strategic plan is based on informed decision-making concerning road safety issues and discussion of potential solutions through:
  • Acquiring a detailed understanding of local dynamics and conditions.
  • Conducting detailed analyses of crash data which includes applying state of the art analytical techniques (e.g., Collision Prediction Models and Collision Modification Factors).
  • Selecting proven road safety measures.
  • Undertaking pilot projects and conducting research.
  • Establishing road safety targets and performance monitoring systems.

Each community is unique and brings its own set of issues, dynamics and protocols. These are reflected in the development of the strategic plan and in the establishment of priorities.

  • It is important that any strategic road safety plan stands the test of time and is based on current evidence and proven solutions. A process to sustain and update the plan must be created with fiscal and human realities in mind. Ultimately fewer collisions result in fewer health care dollars spent on casualties. In addition, sustainability encompasses the idea of prioritizing initiatives and doing a few things well as opposed to many things with little impact. The plan should promote initiatives that balance resources with expectations of residents and ensure objectives are achieved. The following activities should be considered:
  • Undertaking road safety advocacy activities that aimed at raising the level of importance of road safety in the community.
  • Extensive community consultation and communication to encourage active support for road safety projects.
  • The basic requirement for an effective and sustainable road safety plan is that it becomes ingrained and integrated in decision-making processes. This reinforces that safety is a high priority and accompanying resources are allocated.  Other requirements could include:
  • Conducting road safety advocacy activities to ensure the perceived importance of this issues is maintained.
  • Developing and adopting effective policies and procedures for the plan
  • Introducing road safety targets and an associated performance monitoring system.
  • Assigning responsibilities, in particular for a designated manager of the plan, as well as the allocating adequate staff resources.
  • Developing a wide range of road safety skills.
  • Establishing partnerships with other road safety stakeholders and agencies and promoting road safety as a shared responsibility within communities.
  • incorporating road safety considerations in all project planning processes (e.g., Land Use Planning).
  • No one organization has either the resources or the mandate to undertake all road safety projects. The scope of potential projects is substantial and diverse. Partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders is critical to support existing community initiatives as well as work cooperatively to develop new programs and initiatives. This requires a partnership approach to promote cooperation and resource-sharing amongst stakeholders. (Module 1 Community Resource Map).

The plan should acknowledge health promotion strategies to engage health and safety agencies across sectors and settings. Road safety is one of the areas where partnerships are critical, allowing members and stakeholders to identify and address the many overlapping and similar risk factors that contribute to motor vehicle collisions, as well as other types of injuries and diseases. Additionally, partnerships facilitate opportunities to address broader social issues such as crime and addiction. Effectively working together leads to strategic and conscious approaches to meaningfully impact root causes of social problems and have a lasting impact. Good examples of partnerships include police services working with community awareness entities as well as health promotion collaborating with engineering/transportation professionals to better protect vulnerable road users. Of course, partnerships do require individual groups and agencies transcend traditional silo approaches to resolve the complex nature of road safety. Sharing perspectives, expertise and ideas about root causes and solutions can help agencies achieve common goals. To some, this may be a new and very challenging concept to understand, let alone act upon. As such, road safety stakeholders must act as catalysts and champions to embrace partnerships.

  • Coordination and management. To maximize success, a designated lead agency/ department must take responsibility and have the power to make decisions, manage resources and coordinate efforts, as well as hold all participating agencies and stakeholders In addition, integrated and coordinated arrangements (i.e., horizontal and vertical) between the relevant agencies, departments and levels of government are essential as opposed to separate agencies that communicate infrequently. Arrangements across departments within jurisdictions must emphasize accountability for results. These are fundamental steps in building effective road safety capacity.

In addition to coordinated efforts among various levels of government, a number of important non-government partners, such as police agencies and health professionals, and other NGOs play significant roles in the successful delivery of road safety initiatives. A coordinated road safety strategy recognizes the inherent limitations in individual engineering, enforcement and education efforts and advocates for an integrated multi-disciplinary response. It ensures sectoral activities which are meant to strengthen each other are implemented at the right time and according to plans.

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Why develop a road safety strategy or plan?

To be sustainable and effective any long-term road safety strategy (5-10 years) should be supported by annual operational plans which provide details on the specific actions and interventions that will take place in any given year, continuing to move forward towards the vision.

Recommendations of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention are to align the strategy with the 5 Pillars of the Decade of Action and the Safe System Approach. A municipal Road Safety Plan is a document that outlines a municipality’s long-term plan and priorities for the reduction of traffic collisions and injuries, for the purpose of obtaining the necessary funding and support to achieve the stated goals.

There is no blueprint for developing a municipal/provincial road safety plan, irrespective of size – small as well as large, since it must reflect community values and needs. However, the plan should include short, medium- and long-term actions and link into the Provincial Road/Traffic Safety Plan (if appropriate) and Canada’s Road Safety Vision 2025.

Many communities across Canada have developed Road/Traffic Safety Plans. Most community road safety plans align with Canada’s National Road Safety Strategy. Canada’s Road Safety Vision 2025 is based on the Safe System Approach. (

Communities (including provinces) that develop explicit strategic action plans are more likely to make significant progress toward reaching traffic safety goals. The road safety plan contains the blueprint for reducing motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries. The end result of developing the plan is a Planning Document (Roadmap), which should be an integral part of the City’s transportation master plan. However, the road safety plan will be a separate document to better emphasize safety over other competing priorities.

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What are the key components of a road safety plan?

Safe travel speeds. The Safe System Approach maintains that travel speeds as well as roads, roadsides and vehicles should be designed and managed to reduce crash risk and prevent serious injury or death to people in the event of a crash. This includes adjusting speed limits.

As speed increases, so does the risk of crashing and being seriously injured or killed. Reducing speed can result in significantly less road trauma. Speeding can be divided into three categories:

  • Excessive– deliberate and over the limit by a large amount.
  • Low level– the most common where drivers are marginally over the limit (usually 5km/hr). Research shows that with each 5km/hr increase in travelling speed above 60km/hr, the risk of a collision resulting in death doubles. Reducing speed by 5km/hr can result in a 15% decrease in fatal crashes.
  • Inappropriate– travelling at a speed risky for conditions such as wet or unsafe roads.

Speed management involves a balanced effort to:

  • define the relationship between speed, speeding and safety;
  • apply road design and engineering measures to obtain appropriate speeds;
  • set speed limits that are safe and reasonable;
  • apply enforcement efforts and appropriate technology that effectively targets crash producing speeders and deters speeding;
  • effectively promote and communicate educational messages that focus on high-risk drivers; and
  • solicit the cooperation, support and leadership of road safety stakeholders.

Integrated speed management program. Speed management programs are a crucial part of efforts to improve road safety in a community. A speed management program should define the relationship between speed and road risk, assess and apply road design and speed limits to obtain appropriate speeds, apply enforcement to target and deter speeding, effectively communicate educational campaigns about speeding with focus on high-risk drivers, and enlist the cooperation and support of other road safety stakeholders.

Road Safety Impact Assessment. This type of assessment should be conducted by traffic/transportation engineers or planners during the initial planning stage and results must be considered during the planning process. Where changes are required, the impact assessment should indicate the road safety considerations which contribute to the specific remedial intervention and provide for the analysis of different alternatives through a cost-benefit analysis.

It is important to be able to ascertain the impact of road safety which results from the construction of new roads or when carrying out substantial modifications to the existing road network. Such assessment also applies to other schemes or developments which have a considerable influence on traffic patterns, road usage and road congestion in a community.

Road Safety Audits. Such audits are intended to ensure that operational road safety criteria are implemented during the design and operational phase of a project to ensure that the frequency and severity of collisions are kept to a minimum and that the safety of all road users is considered; especially the safety of vulnerable road users. Audits can also improve the awareness of safe design practices in the community.

Blackspot management: This approach involves identifying high-crash locations or areas and aiming to reduce collisions in targeted areas. A variety of collision reduction strategies are utilized, and Blackspot locations are classified as follows:

  • Black spots are identified by crash data and plans target specific types of collisions at a specific location where many collisions occur.
  • Mass action plans identify sites with a common collision problem (e.g., left-turns at intersections) and apply a tried and tested remedial measure or scheme (e.g., a left-turn traffic signal);
  • Route action plans are designed to identify a route or traffic corridor with a high collision rate and apply a tried and tested remedial measure (e.g., a divided highway to reduce head-on collisions); or,
  • Area-wide schemes apply a variety of measures or schemes across a community to reduce crashes.

International best practice safety standards for post-crash care. The objectives of effective post-crash response should be in building, supplementing and strengthening the emergency medical system at all levels with full capacity to handle injury collisions in general and traffic collisions in particular, in order to reduce the fatalities and their consequences, meet emergency medical requirements and reach standards similar to other regions. It is recognized internationally that, in relation to trauma incidents (road traffic collisions), there are two critical response time intervals that positively impact clinical outcomes for seriously injured patients:

  • The Golden Hour (60 minutes) is the time interval from the incident occurring to the patient receiving definitive care within a hospital equipped with the diagnostic equipment and medical specialities to deal with the clinical needs of the patient.
  • The Platinum 10 minutes is the time interval from the incident occurring to the arrival of an emergency ambulance with appropriately trained clinical staff and medical equipment.

The key objectives of a cost-efficient and clinically effective Emergency Management System (EMS) is to:

  • Avoid preventable death and disability (PRESERVE LIFE);
  • Limit the severity and suffering caused by injury (PREVENT DETERIORATION); and,
  • Ensure optimal functioning of the collision survivors and re-integration within the local community (PROMOTE RECOVERY).

An Emergency Medical Service (EMS) can be defined as “a comprehensive system which provides the arrangements of personnel, facilities and equipment for the effective, coordinated and timely delivery of health and safety services to victims of sudden illness or injury.” The aim of EMS focuses on providing timely care to victims of sudden and life-threatening injuries or emergencies in order to prevent needless mortality or long-term morbidity. The function of EMS can be simplified into four main components; accessing emergency care, care in the community, care en route, and care upon arrival to receiving care at the health care facility.[1]

See also:

[1]Al-Shaqsi 2010

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What should the road safety plan contain?

The plan should include some or all the following elements:

  1. Data review and analysis – this should identify current status (and trends) and what has been achieved to date.
  2. Best practices review – review of the road safety plans prepared by higher levels of government, and other progressive or comparable municipalities in Canada and overseas.
  3. Stakeholder consultation – to better understand the culture of safety within the municipality and also identify safety issues and areas of concern.
  4. Development of vision and mission – vision should be an optimistic view of the future and the mission focuses on the activities and programs to achieve the vision.
  5. Establish traffic safety targets and performance indicators – used to measure performance, ensure accountability and generate public and political support.
  6. Identify emphasis areas and target groups – what are the key program areas and target groups that will have the greatest impact on reducing collisions?
  7. Identify strategies and supporting actions – to ensure the most effective actions are implemented for maximum benefits.
  8. Determine governance and funding – this operationalizes the plan and identifies reliable and sustainable funding which will help to promote long-term success.
  9. Implementation – departments should be held accountable for the implementation of the programs outlined in the plan.
  10. Monitoring and evaluation – this helps us understand how we are doing. It is vital to develop this plan at the beginning of the plan implementation.

To be sustainable and effective, the long-term strategy should be supported by annual operational plans which provide details on the specific actions and interventions that will take place in any given year, continuing to move forward to achieve the vision.

The Vision – To be successful in delivering a program that effectively addresses its road safety problems, there needs to be an effective and coordinated strategy, with a shared vision for success.

The road safety vision should be a product of underlying community values that might include the following elements:

  • No one should be killed or seriously injured in motor vehicle collisions on our roadways.
  • Protecting vulnerable road users such as children should be a priority.
  • There should be limits to the disadvantage experienced by road users due to actions taken to protect other road users.
  • Mobility should be maximized within the limits of safe operation.

These values indicate the degree to which road trauma is tolerated by a society and are fundamental to determining the role of road safety in that community.

A vision statement focuses on the potential inherent in the community’s future. It considers what they are striving to achieve and why they are striving to achieve it. In an ideal world, what is the best that they can be or do?

A vision statement should be short, focused and describe a future state/goal of the community;

  • is aspirational, motivational, and inspirational; and,
  • is what one wants the community to stand for and be viewed as.

School Road Safety Plans. Similar to the Community (Municipal) Road Safety Plan, the School Road Safety Plan is a comprehensive process designed to increase local ownership of individual and integrated school road safety plans. It engages stakeholders, including school boards, municipal transportation planners and engineers, public health, police, parents, students and school staff.

The involvement of local stakeholders is an important step to ensure the sustainability of active school travel activities. Benefits include increased physical activity, reduced traffic congestion, improved air quality, enhanced neighbourhood safety and a greater sense of community.

Active & Safe Routes to School is a national movement dedicated to the mobility, health, and happiness of children. Further resources related to this movement are available at:

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Why are road safety data and target-setting important?

Ideally, the direction that a comprehensive road safety plan takes is led by collision data. Collision analysis is a complex procedure because the factors affecting collision occurrence are numerous and not independent. They generally involve the driver (condition/behaviour); the vehicle; and, the road (driving environment). In most cases a collision is caused by a combination of more than one or all 3 of these factors. It should be remembered that collision countermeasures do not necessarily come from the same category as the cause.

If possible, the data should extend to other factors, including:

  • demographic data; traffic volume data (by mode);
  • safety performance indicators such as rates of seat belt and standard helmet use, overloading, speeding and red light running;
  • infrastructure factors (road length by crash risk, mean travel speed);
  • enforcement (violation) data (tickets/charges); and,
  • injury data from hospitals.

Accurate data is necessary to:

  • identify road safety issues and devise countermeasures;
  • implement and adjust coordinated strategies;
  • undertake cost/benefit analyses;
  • prioritize high collision locations and corridors;
  • develop targeted education and enforcement campaigns;
  • develop safety performance functions; and,
  • monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of improvements.

Target-setting can be interpreted as a declaration of the desire of a jurisdiction to improve the road safety situation and is expressed in its vision, mission and goals.

Research and experience indicate long-term goals and interim targets lead to:

  • Increased political will and stakeholder accountability for road safety;
  • Closer management of strategies and programs, better safety programs and better safety performance, especially when the targets are ambitious;
  • Better use of public resources; and,
  • Increased motivation of stakeholders.

Current good practice involves a combination of top down long-term goals as well as bottom up interim targets, which are soundly related to interventions, their likely effectiveness in the road safety strategy, and the quality of their delivery.

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Why is stakeholder engagement important?

Good practice in implementing road safety programs suggests a comprehensive systems approach is the best way to have the biggest impact in reducing road traffic collisions. This generally means as roads are improved and perhaps speed limits set appropriately, these will have better results if these projects also include some targeted traffic enforcement combined with public awareness campaigns. All of these comprise the community road safety strategy. Additional benefits can also be gained through engaging local stakeholders.

  • Stakeholder Engagement (Hyperlink to TIRF paper on Stakeholder Engagement) encompasses a wide variety of activities from consultations with stakeholders to community development and capacity building. The goal of stakeholder engagement is to develop and enhance their participation in road safety and decision-making, and raise awareness within them of their own personal behaviour in contributing towards improved road safety.

    Developing a road safety plan takes not only time and energy, but also different skill sets. Identifying natural partners who have different skill sets and share an interest in road safety can help make it easier to develop and implement an effective strategy. In every community the composition of stakeholders may vary. However, some of the potential partners to consider include City Councils and municipal/regional transportation departments, police, public health officers, automobile clubs, public transportation agencies, local businesses (e.g., delivery companies, real estate agents and others who spend time on the road) and advocacy organizations. Efforts to include stakeholders and individuals who represent all age ranges are also important to ensure the community is well-represented in terms of interests, perspectives, experiences and preferences.

    The first step to building effective partnerships with stakeholders is to understand their mission, goals and activities to determine how the community road safety plan can complement and/or benefit their respective organizations. While organizations are often willing to contribute to social causes, these causes are numerous, and also in addition to their day-to-day activities. As such, stakeholders can be more motivated by requests that include a benefit for their organization. These benefits may include visibility in the media, at events or in the community, more opportunities to engage directly with members of the public, official recognition or acknowledgement of their contribution, opportunities to connect with key audiences or opportunities to promote their products or services. In this regard, meeting individually with each stakeholder to learn about their organization and priorities can provide organizers with information to help them to create a more relevant and effective request for their cooperation, and gain much needed buy-in. At the same time, knowledge about the politics that influence each stakeholder and their ability to engage in certain tasks (e.g. fundraising, advocacy) or to work with others can help ensure the roles and responsibilities of each partner are clearly defined and appropriate, and expectations are consistent with these qualities.

There are many roles for the stakeholders and partners.

  • Undertake project – lead
  • Undertake pilot project
  • Facilitation
  • Coordination
  • Encouragement
  • Undertake public communications
  • Facilitate liaison
  • Provide materials
  • Provide data
  • Share knowledge
  • Funder

(Additional information on stakeholders and partners can also be found in Module 1 – Fundamentals of Community Road Safety)

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Who are potential stakeholders and partners and what can they contribute to the plan?

Potential Roles and Responsibilities


Potential Role

Transportation/Public WorksProvide safe infrastructure. Accommodate Vulnerable Road Users. Set appropriate speed limits.
HealthLead role in healthy community activities. Promote healthy lifestyle, encouraging walking and cycling. Promote and check child safety seats from birth.
Emergency Medical Services provide prompt attention to road traffic collisions to prevent fatal and serious injury outcomes.
SchoolsEncourage Safe Routes to School programs (with other partners, including parents). Promote road safety through the school curriculum.
PoliceCommunity Police Officers promote road safety education. Traffic Police Officers enforce high-risk driving behaviour legislation.
MediaPromote road safety through media campaigns. Stress the importance of collision free driving.
Sports teamsEncourage fans to adopt safe behaviours, such as not drinking and driving, distracted driving.
Faith groupsSupport the World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic crashes.
Local business/Chambers of CommercePotential funding source of traffic safety programs (particularly auto insurance companies).
Employers/UnionsPromote the purchase and use of 5-star vehicles. Promote collision free days in workplace safety programs. Develop and implement safe driving at work policies.
Licensed premises/bars/restaurantsProvide reward (free dessert/non-alcoholic beverages) to designated drivers. Participate in designated driver programs.
Service clubs, e.g., Rotary, Lions, etc.Participate in designated driver programs, such as Operation Red Nose.

Community participation potential in traffic enforcement

The role of the community in promoting traffic enforcement can be described under three basic approaches, which range in terms of the extent to which they support the traffic police, the level of commitment involved, and their independence.

  • Consultation – is the logical starting point for improving collaboration between local residents and the police. Local residents can assist traffic police by providing additional information on the location and circumstances of unreported crashes, as well as on locations where crashes are waiting to happen, and where offences such as illegal turns or speeding, are a problem. In some communities the traffic police have established local committees or community road safety forums.
  • Volunteers – Local residents interested in assisting the traffic police on a more regular basis can volunteer on such programs as traffic wardens and school patrol programs. Speedwatch (British Columbia) is a partnership involving volunteer citizens, police and ICBC designed to help reduce speed-related collisions by raising public awareness of the actual speeds drivers are travelling. The program originated in Washington’s King County Sheriff’s department and was adopted in BC in the early 1990s. Volunteers use portable radar equipment and an electronic digital board to monitor speeds in neighbourhoods, particularly school and playground zones. Drivers get instant feedback on their speed displayed on the reader board as they pass. Experience has shown over 70% of drivers travelling 10km/h over the speed limit slow down when they see a speed reader board.
  • Speedwatch helps address traffic and speeding issues through:
    • Creating public awareness about road safety;
    • Community action to address speed-related problems;
    • The collection of speed-related data; and,
    • Assisting police to determine speed problem locations.

The speed watch mission statement is “to reduce speeding in neighbourhoods, through an awareness program, operated by neighbours, for neighbours.”

Partnership initiatives.

Potential partners include:


  • Principal and other administrators
  • Parents and students, including those with disabilities
  • Teachers (physical education or health teachers are a good place to start)
  • PTA/PTO representative
  • School nurse
  • School district transportation director
  • School improvement team or site council member
  • Adult school crossing guards
  • Special Education teacher


  • Community members
  • Neighbourhood or community association members
  • Local businesses, including the Chamber of Commerce
  • Local pedestrian, bicycle and safety advocates
  • Groups representing people with disabilities

Local Government:

  • Mayor’s office or council member
  • Transportation or traffic engineer
  • Local planner
  • Public health professional
  • Public works representative
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Local pedestrian and bicycle coordinator

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Are there other community committees with a focus on road safety/injury prevention?

In addition to stand-alone community road safety committees there are several examples of committees that are related to road safety and include significant road safety interventions. Some examples are:

Vision Zero Committee

As discussed in Module 2 the Vision Zero philosophy has been adopted by several countries, including Canada, as the ultimate goal for their road safety programs, which is the elimination of fatalities and injuries resulting from road traffic crashes. Since the planning, development and implementation of a Vision Zero program crosses many disciplines it is vital the coordinating/oversight committee reflects this.

Active Transportation Committee

Active transportation refers to any form of human-powered transportation – walking, cycling, using a wheelchair, in-line skating or skateboarding. There are many ways to engage in active transportation, whether it is walking to the bus stop, or cycling to school/work.

(See Module 2 – Guiding Approaches to Road Safety for more information)

Healthy communities

Healthy Communities/Healthy Cities (HC) is an international movement involving thousands of HC projects, initiatives and networks world-wide. HC takes a holistic view of communities, recognizing that “everything is connected to everything” and “the whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Healthy Communities initiatives are multi-sectoral collaborations that integrate social, economic and environmental goals to benefit the whole community and strengthen community capacity to promote and sustain health.

(See Module 2 – Guiding Approaches to Road Safety)

Complete streets

A Complete Street is designed for all ages, abilities, and modes of travel. On Complete Streets, safe and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicycles, transit users and people with disabilities is not an afterthought, but an integral planning feature. A Complete Streets policy ensures transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire street network for all road users, not only motorists. Complete Streets offer wide ranging benefits. They are cost-effective, sustainable and safe.

The link between Complete Streets and public health is well-documented. Jurisdictions across North America already include Complete Streets policies in their suite of preventative health strategies. Complete Streets also promote livability. Human-scale design treatments such as street furniture, trees and wide pedestrian rights-of-way animate our public realm and encourage people to linger.

Complete Streets can exist in communities of all shapes and sizes; from downtown Montreal to Corner Brook and more suburban communities such as Surrey. There is no singular approach to Complete Streets. However, Complete Street policies ensure transportation planners and engineers design and manage infrastructure for all ages, abilities, and modes of travel across the entire transportation network.

Complete Streets in Canada

Since 2003, the term Complete Streets has seen an incredible growth trajectory to where it is today with over 1,200 policies adopted (as of July 2017) in the United States (Smart Growth America, 2017). There is growing interest across Canada, with Complete Streets policies passed by Calgary (2009), Waterloo (2010), Edmonton (2013), Ajax (2013) and Ottawa (2013). In addition to policies, Canadian cities are starting to produce Complete Streets guidelines, most notably in Edmonton (2013), and Calgary (2011), Toronto (2016) and Hamilton (currently under development). With the recent update to the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan in May 2017, Ontario became the first province to adopt a Complete Streets policy for both new and refurbished streets.

In Québec, Complete Streets are referred to as Rues Conviviales (Friendly Streets). Québec City adopted a Complete Streets policy in March 2017, while numerous other municipalities in the province have adopted Complete Streets approaches in street redesigns.

In Canada, most planning regulation is undertaken at the provincial level and, municipalities have less power to pass laws than our American counterparts. However, there are a still a number of different ways Complete Streets policies can be adopted in Canada, such as within Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement, Official Plans, or Transportation Master Plans.

Complete Streets Canada Policy Categories

For the purposes of tracking Complete Streets in Canada, the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) has developed the following categories:


  • Adopted by Council
  • Uses the term Complete Streets or Rue Conviviale in Québec
  • Can be either a standalone policy (e.g., bylaw) or is incorporated (e.g., as a chapter) into a larger policy document (e.g., Official Plans, Transportation Master Plans, district-level plans, site plans, corridor plans, etc.)
  • Must clearly direct incorporation of bicyclists and pedestrians, at minimum, into transportation projects

Design Manuals or Guidelines

  • Uses the term Complete Streets
  • Must clearly direct incorporation of bicyclists and pedestrians, at minimum, into transportation projects.


  • A proposed Complete Streets policy not yet officially adopted by Council
  • Council direction to staff to write a report with recommendations for Complete Streets (e.g., Complete Streets in Niagara or the City of Toronto’s Integrated Approach to the Development of Complete Streets Guidelines)
  • Uses Complete Streets concepts or principles (e.g. plan for all ages and abilities) but not the term Complete Streets in official planning documents (Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, etc.)
  • Must clearly direct incorporation of bicyclists and pedestrians, at minimum, into transportation projects

(Source: Complete Streets for Canada,

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Links to examples of Road Safety Plans

City of Ottawa:

City of Edmonton:

Check back often as this list is continually updated.


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