In the past year, Surrey staff began creating the Vision Zero Safe Mobility plan which is aimed at increasing road safety in the city. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)

Road safety plan in the works for Surrey

Surrey to host ‘Vision Zero’ road safety summit in new year

Surrey city council has approved a summit in Surrey next year that is aimed at increasing road safety in the city.

According to a corporate report in Monday’s (Dec. 17) agenda, staff recommended that council support the approach and focus area for the Surrey Vision Zero Safe Mobility plan and endorse the city hosting “B.C.’s first” Vision Zero Summit in collaboration with the Provincial Health Services of B.C. Feb. 8 to 9, 2019.

During the Dec. 17 meeting, council approved those recommendations.

The corporate report also outlines the next steps for the plan, which includes finalizing and presenting the final plan to council in January with the summit to follow shortly after, if approved.

In the past year, Surrey staff began creating the Vision Zero Safe Mobility plan for the city. Since then, staff have given multiple presentations to stakeholders, as well as held consultation sessions for the plan.

Vision Zero, according to the report, “emphasizes that no loss of life in the road transportation network is acceptable.”

“Anticipating human failings and errors in judgement, the approach prioritizes safety by creating safe roads, slowing speeds, improving vehicle design, educating people, and enforcing the rules of the road to encourage safer road user behaviours.”

Surrey’s road safety focus, reads the report, “must be centered” around five areas: pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclist, intersection locations where most people are killed or seriously inured and agressive driving behaviours.

The report states that the four pillars of the “Safe Systems Approach” are: safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe road users.

The approach, reads the report, was first initiated in countries such as Sweden, Norway and the U.K., and has since “gained momentum in many countries, including the United States of America and Canada.”

Surrey, according to the report, has “expended considerable effort and funding to improve road safety” in the city, such as: safe and active schools program, a traffic management centre, ICBC road safety program and a walking program.

Despite the work being “very important” in increasing safety, the report states that injury collisions in Surrey have risen by more than 26 per cent over the last 10 years.

The report states that while these collisions cause personal tragedies to the families involved, it also has “very broad societal impacts,” including policing and fire service costs, immediate and long-term health care and disability costs, legal and court costs, increased insurance premiums, loss of earning and reduced or lost productivity at work.

These “costs to society” are estimated by ICBC to be more than $400 million per year for the City of Surrey’s collisions alone, reads the report.

“While this increase in injury collisions is due to numerous complex factors, such as rapid development, urban sprawl, population and traffic growth, and the high prevalence of high risk driving behaviours, it remains of considerable concern.”

The report states that Surrey’s traffic injury rates are “the second highest” in B.C., adding that Surrey had more traffic fatalities that any other municipality in the province.

Data from the traffic accident system (2012 to 2016) in Surrey states that: every hour one person is injured, every day crashed cost more than $1 million, every month more than one person dies on city roads and every year injury collisions are increasing by three per cent.

City staff introduced the plan in November of 2017, following “concerning trends in ICBC data.”

RELATED: Surrey creating road safety plan after ‘concerning’ stats from ICBC, Nov. 29, 2017

The insurance corporation’s data showed that from 2010 to 2015, total collisions per 100,000 went up 13 per cent in Surrey.

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