Pat Cliche and Staff Sgt. Rick Dubeau are Co-Chairs of the North Bay Road Safety Committee.

Pat is also known to Parachute staff in her role as Northern Injury Prevention Coordinator (OIPRC). We interviewed them to find out more about how North Bay is incorporating Vision Zero into their community’s road safety approach.

What is the Vision Zero: North Bay Road Safety Strategy?

As we state in our Mission Statement: our goal is to “Achieve road safety excellence in North Bay through evidence-based strategies and collaborative community partnerships.” Through our partnerships, we are working towards zero fatalities and serious injuries on our North Bay roads.

Is there a steering committee, and if so, who’s on it?

Yes we do, and it includes:

  • A Northern Injury Prevention Coordinator (OIPRC) as Co-Chair
  • A North Bay City Police Service (Traffic Division) as Co-Chair
  • An Inspector from the North Eastern Ontario Provincial Police (Traffic & Marine Division)
  • A Sgt. Of the Ontario Provincial Police NE, who acts as Manager of RIDE Unit
  • A Traffic Constable of the North Bay Police Service
  • A Community Safety Officer from the Ontario Provincial Police, North Bay Detachment
  • A Regional Planner- Northern Planner, Road Safety Marketing from the Ministry of Transportation
  • A Health Promoter from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • A Manager from the District of Nipissing Paramedic Services
  • A Public Education/Fire Prevention Officer from North Bay Fire and Emergency Services
  • A Traffic Supervisor from the Ministry of Transportation – Northeastern Region
  • An Engineer (EIT) from The Corporation of the City of North Bay
  • The Manager of the North Bay Accident Support Services Ltd. from the North Bay Collision Centre  

How did this group get started?

The North Bay Road Safety Committee was established in 2003. In April 2016, the concept of Vision Zero was first introduced to the committee. That June, Parachute offered a webinar on the topic that featured presentations from Parachute, the Safer Systems Approach the BC experience and the Edmonton experience. North Bay took this opportunity to invite all northern communities to attend, and then followed up by sharing the slides.

In September 2016, the Co-Chairs met with the Mayor, Head of Engineering Department and the CEO of the City of North Bay. The Mayor granted us approval to proceed with developing the strategy. October 20, 2016, we established the Vision Zero subcommittee of the North Bay Road Safety Committee. We added members to the committee who could contribute to the success of the Vision Zero strategy, including from the Ministry of Transportation engineering, City of North Bay engineering, the Collision Centre, OPP traffic and Marine Inspector departments.

What have you been able to do so far?

We obtained “soft approval” from the City of North Bay, and we established a multidisciplinary committee of dedicated members in a short time frame. We created a guidance document, which contains our Vision & Mission statement, fundamental principles, as well as our short-term, and long-term goals and objectives. We developed our Terms of Reference and work plan. We’ve shared all our documents with Sault Ste. Marie and the Thunder Bay Vision Zero Committee. A member presented at the 2017 Ontario Injury Prevention Forum on May 2, 2017 at BMO, on how North Bay has implemented Vision Zero in a rural setting. Now we are actively seeking the implementation of heat maps for the District of Nipissing, as well as voting on a North Bay Vision Zero logo.

In Canada, the cities implementing or considering Vision Zero tend to be larger urban centres. North Bay is considered a medium-sized population centre. What kind of impact does this have on your work?

The major hurdle for our Vision Zero strategy will be finances. Presently the City of North Bay has the budget set for the year, with priorities like intersections, road repairs and bike lanes. Right now any recommendations that the Vision Zero committee makes may not be in the budget for this year. Unlike other larger urban centres, Vision Zero is currently not part of the city’s internal structure. We’re an independent committee, working on a strategy that might very well impact the city budget. So any implementation of our recommendations will have financial limitations. This means the city may not be able to make those changes, if the finances are not available.

Have you encountered any major challenges?

Yes, we have. Our biggest challenge is collecting data to form our heat maps. Our district has two major highways that run through the city: Highway 11 and 17. We collect data from North Bay Police, Ontario Provincial Police, City of North Bay and the Ministry of Transportation – but they are lagging in their data collection. The Collision Centre has been a huge help in obtaining statistics for the area. We have all this data, but no central location where a database could be created to input all of it. It’s an opportunity for the various partners to share the information to one person who would input it onto a map, but the challenge is getting permission for that to happen.

How do you plan to overcome this?

We need all the various stakeholders to agree to merge the information on the heat maps. The North Bay City Maps are approved, and we’re now working on adding the data from Hwy 11 & 17 onto the heat maps. At the next meeting, we need to determine who will input the available information on the heat maps.

Do you have any key learnings or recommendations to share with other jurisdictions interested in Vision Zero?

Yes, definitely. First, ensure you obtain permission from your Mayor to start the project. Then establish a committed committee: include city engineering, Ministry of Transportation engineering, enforcement, public health; and if you have a Collision Centre in your area, they have a large number of statistics available. Develop Vision and Mission Statements to assist in guiding your committee. Visit various websites for information: Parachute and places like Edmonton, which have implemented the strategy. Ask for their documents. Don’t re-invent the wheel. Share information instead.

What are the next steps for this group?

The committee will be making a proposal to the City of North Bay to adopt our strategy. We will develop a comprehensive five-year road safety strategy to reduce fatalities and serious injuries among all road users in our community. We plan to analyze motor vehicle collision data, develop heat maps, and identify priority locations requiring further investigation and potential interventions. We’ll conduct road safety audits at high-risk locations to assess the problem, identify existing safety measures, and form recommendations for enhanced evidence-based safety measures.

We hope to implement this five-year comprehensive strategy and evaluate it on an ongoing basis. We also look forward to attending The Parachute Vision Zero Network 2nd Annual Summit in Toronto in October 2017.