In Toronto, a pedestrian is seriously injured or killed every three days on our roads. Between 2005 and 2016, there were over 2,100 pedestrians killed or injured in traffic collisions. The thing is, traffic collisions aren’t accidents; they are preventable events that can be eliminated through smarter street design, targeted enforcement, and thoughtful public engagement.

Toronto’s first road safety plan, Vision Zero, acknowledges that deaths and serious injuries on our roads are preventable and outlines clear priorities to ensure that people can travel safely around the city as pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and drivers.

The challenge is how to best implement Vision Zero.

At the Brookfield Institute, we believe that users should be engaged in the design and delivery of public programs, services, and policies. Which is why we are thrilled to partner with the City of Toronto on the Vision Zero Challenge. This is an eight-week competition where participants will work in teams or independently to develop innovative and data-driven solutions to make Toronto’s streets safer for everyone, especially vulnerable populations, today as well as in the future.

By entering the Challenge, participants will be guided through a design process. Resources and supports will help participants understand user needs and the policy context, practice the art of problem definition, demystify the data sets, and test their ideas with end users. Mentors with expertise in transportation planning, data science, and design will be available to troubleshoot questions that emerge. We’ll also host digital ‘office hours’ with end users – newcomers, seniors, school safety experts, and active transportation advocates – to ensure all participants can conduct user research and testing.

The top five teams will have the opportunity to pitch their solution at Elevate to a panel of judges. The two teams with the most promising solutions will be awarded a total of $10,000 and the opportunity to receive coaching and training at Civic Hall Toronto to further develop their ideas side by side with City staff after the Challenge.

We know that a problem as big as road safety cannot be solved in eight weeks, which is why we are very excited to work with partners like the City of Toronto and Civic Hall Toronto to allow civic innovators to refine and build out their idea after the Challenge in a supportive environment.

So how can you get involved? The first step is by registering to participate and joining us for the Vision Zero Challenge Kick-Off Event on May 31. If you’re interested in being a mentor or want to learn more, please get in touch.