Traffic collisions are not accidents. They always have a cause, which means they can be prevented.

Our Vision Zero strategy is our long-term plan to reduce serious injuries and death due to traffic collisions to zero in our community. Everyone has a role to play in achieving this vision.

Read our full strategy

On this page:

  1. Traffic collisions in Kitchener
  2. High-risk driving doesn't make sense
  3. Our strategy
  4. Staff reports
  5. Partners
  6. Vision Zero dashboard

Traffic collisions in Kitchener

More than 1,200 traffic collisions happen every year on Kitchener streets, causing more than 200 injuries. Over the past decade, there’s been an average of one death per year.

You may notice we use the term “collisions” rather than “accidents” to make an important point: these collisions do not happen by accident. There is always one or multiple causes of any collision. We’re committed to studying, innovating and educating ourselves about those causes so we can learn to prevent them.

High-risk driving doesn't make sense

Most of the traffic collisions in Kitchener involve one or more motor vehicles (examples: cars, trucks or motorcycles), which means our driving behaviours are very important.

Some common high-risk driving behaviours include:

Aggressive driving

An aggressive driver follows too closely, exceeds the speed limit, disobeys a traffic signal or fails to yield the right of way. These are all behaviours that a driver can choose to change.


Have you ever seen someone speeding on a quiet residential street and wondered “how much time are they really saving?” The answer is not much.

Take an average trip to a grocery store, for example. Assuming the trip is about 5 km, the difference in travel time driving 50 km/h compared to 40 km/h is less than one minute. This example may not seem dramatic, but the difference could save a life.

If a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h is in a collision with a pedestrian, the survival rate for the pedestrian is about 15%. The survival rate increases to 70% when the vehicle is driving at 40 km/h and to 90% when driving at 30 km/h. This is why we're lowering speed limits in residential neighbourhoods to 40 km/h and in school zones to 30 km/h.

Distracted driving

Distracted drivers are inattentive and can cause collisions. When you’re driving without distractions, your reaction time is typically between one and two seconds. If you’re texting, reading messages or otherwise distracted, your reaction time increases to three or four seconds. If you’re driving at 50 km/h, the extra two seconds add about 26 extra meters to come to a full stop.

Our strategy

We believe that no loss of life on our city streets is acceptable. We want to eliminate serious injuries and death due to traffic collisions. Our Vision Zero strategy is a multi-year plan to get there by creating safer streets. By improving how we design our streets, enforce traffic laws and educate our road users, we will help to improve safety. This concept started in Sweden in 1997 and has become popular around the world.

Our strategy has five main components:


We need continuous data-driven evaluation and analysis of the road network. This includes tracking the impact of safety efforts and understanding the causes behind traffic-related serious injuries and fatalities. Some ways we evaluate are through annual collision analysis and street network investigations to find the areas with a higher probability of a collision that can result in a serious injury or fatality.


The design, operation and maintenance of our transportation network can significantly impact the frequency and severity of collisions. We acknowledge the role of human error and aim to account for it. For example, dedicated infrastructure for vulnerable street users (like cyclists or pedestrians) or street narrowing/speed humps to reduce speeding are examples of engineering modifications to improve traffic safety for everyone.


Illegal driver behaviours, such as impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding, are major contributors to severe collisions. These high-risk behaviours can be reduced through different types of police enforcement and related programs. Considering the limited resources available, we work with the Waterloo Region Police Service to target the areas most in need of enforcement.

Automated Speed Enforcement units remind drivers to slow down in areas where children and other vulnerable road users are. The goal of using ASE is to reduce speeding and increase safety in school zones within the region. The Region of Waterloo leads this program. Visit the region’s website to find more information.


Increased awareness and education related to street safety are fundamental to all Vision Zero programs. We’ll work with our partners to use educational programs to target high-risk driving behaviours such as aggressive driving, speeding and distracted driving. We are also working with local school boards to increase awareness and education for students.

As a part of our Vision Zero education, we created an education campaign that supports the goal of the Vision Zero Strategy to reduce the number of serious injuries and death due to traffic collisions to zero in our community. 

Traffic collisions are not accidents. They can be prevented.

We developed the videos below to promote awareness of the strategy and improve driving behaviour.


The continuous involvement of communities and other stakeholders is key to a successful and effective Vision Zero program. Subscribe to our Engage Kitchener page to learn how to contribute ideas and identify your priorities for a Vision Zero action plan.

Staff reports

Read these staff reports to learn more about our Vision Zero approach:


We're working with these groups towards the common goal of reducing injuries and fatalities.

  • University of Waterloo
  • Waterloo Regional Police Service
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region
  • City of Waterloo

This collaboration has helped us use shared resources and expertise to improve street safety and align our efforts towards achieving Vision Zero.

Vision Zero dashboard

Visit our Vision Zero dashboard to find collision statistics and project updates.