City of Toronto continuing to take action to improve road safety as students return to school

Toronto Mayor John Tory with students on 1st day of school

The City of Toronto continues to take action through its Vision Zero Road Safety Plan to protect the safety and wellbeing of all students heading back to school this week.

The return to school increases vehicle traffic and the number of people walking or cycling, particularly in school zones. As students make their way back to class, the City encourages all road users to be mindful of their surroundings, share the road, stay alert and obey the rules to ensure everyone’s safety.

The City continues to implement several Vision Zero Road Safety Plan actions, programs and initiatives to protect students, parents, guardians and teachers on the roadway, including:

•       Automated Speed Enforcement: The City’s 50 mobile speed cameras continue to rotate through Community Safety Zones with tickets issued to vehicles travelling in excess of the speed limit. Automated Speed Enforcement aims to increase road safety, reduce speeding and raise public awareness about the need to slow down and obey posted speed limits.
•       The School Crossing Guards Program: 798 school crossing guards are placed at intersections across the city to help children safely cross the street and remind people driving of the presence of pedestrians at key intersections.
•       School Safety Zones: The City has installed 362 School Safety Zones around Toronto and aims to complete 70 more by year’s end. School Safety Zones include safety signs, pavement markings and stencils, and driver feedback signs.
•       Pedestrian Head Start Signals: Close to 1,000 intersections across the city are equipped with a Pedestrian Head Start Signal allowing pedestrians to begin crossing the street before vehicles are permitted to proceed by delaying the green signal. This delay gives pedestrians the opportunity to establish a presence in the crosswalk, increasing their visibility and reducing conflicts with turning vehicles. Another 62 signals are planned to receive this safety treatment before the end of 2022.
•       Speed limit reductions: The City is currently reducing the speed limit on local roads and public lanes in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough to 30 km/h on a systematic, ward-by-ward basis. This multi-year, data-driven effort will create a consistent 30 km/h speed limit on all local roads in Toronto to curb speeding and minimize traffic-related fatalities. The City reduced the speed limit on 500 kilometres of arterial and collector roadways across Toronto between November 2019 and the end of 2020.
•       In-Road Flexible Speed Signs: The City continues to install In-Road Flexible Speed Signs to encourage compliance with the speed limit in high-priority areas, including in School Safety Zones. Installed in the centre of the road, these signs serve as a visual reminder of the posted speed limit and a physical device to slow down vehicle speeds. The City plans to install between 150 and 200 In-Road Flexible Speed Signs this year.

The City also launched a public education campaign today to remind drivers to exercise caution, stay alert and watch out for schoolchildren. The campaign includes messages on safety around school buses, pedestrian crossovers, busy intersections and School Safety Zones. The campaign runs until October 31 and is currently featured on transit shelters, bus backs, billboards and in parking garages in addition to radio, print, web and social media ads.

With an emphasis on enforcement, education and community engagement, the Toronto Police Service will be conducting a Back to School Traffic Campaign starting today and ending Friday, September 16, looking out for drivers who choose to speed or drive distracted, impaired or aggressively. Officers will also be in School Safety Zones, targeting vehicles parked illegally or those potentially putting others at risk. These behaviours lead to frustration, traffic congestion and an unsafe environment for all road users.

The City of Toronto’s Safety Guide for School Children and Parents includes important information and advice on walking, cycling, wheeling, driving or taking the bus to and from school:

The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is a comprehensive action plan to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. With more than 50 safety measures across seven emphasis areas, the plan prioritizes the safety of Toronto’s most vulnerable road users: people who walk and cycle, schoolchildren, and older adults.


“Back to school is a very exciting time for children and families across our city and this year is extra special as we welcome the vast majority of students back to in-class learning. We want kids to be safe inside and outside the classroom. That’s why the school boards, Toronto Police, and the City of Toronto are all focused on making sure the journey to and from school is safe. We are all working together to make sure our roads are safe as students go back to school. We continue to build on this work year-round to make our roads safer for everyone. We need the help of everyone to continue to make our streets safer. We’re a major city, with millions of people sharing our roads and sidewalks and we all need to act responsibly. But I do want to be clear that drivers carry the greatest responsibility and have to take it extremely seriously when they get behind the wheel. My plea to all drivers: please slow down and pay full attention. The biggest responsibility must rest with the drivers of Toronto because you are in heavy powerful vehicles which can seriously hurt and even kill people. We all have to follow the rules of the road and pay attention.”
– Mayor of Toronto

SOURCE City of Toronto

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