Change for Good Roads – An intersectoral approach to urban road safety

Author(s): Smith, Taylor

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As the concept of Vision Zero began to take hold in Canada, Parachute started to see overlap and integration across sectors. Parachute saw the potential for a strong and co-ordinated collective composed of sector leaders from injury prevention/road safety, active transportation, environment and public health to come together and advocate. Although different in their motivation and potential solutions, each sector is similar in their call for active transportation and better use of our urban spaces and roads.

Because of this, Parachute prioritized the creation of a road safety collective, using a process that identifies and engages key stakeholders who are influential in their respective sectors and beyond, having credible voices from different sectors in a process that facilitates information sharing/exchange and provides a space for co-creation, identification and development of a strategy for change for safe, healthy, and sustainable urban roads.

We observed that collective action is the missing link in driving positive change in urban road safety. Safe, healthy, and sustainable urban roads are only possible if we treat the underlying issues as a complex problem, one that involves not only urban planning, but also public health, engineering, and other sectors, and retains a focus on inclusion, equity, sustainability, community, and more. It is at this intersection of interests that sustainable changes in road safety will occur. It is only by coming together to take collective action that these needs and priorities can be aligned so we can continue to work toward a safer and more inclusive society.


The vision of Change for Good Roads is to align sectors to become a stronger voice in creating safe, active, healthy and sustainable urban roads through influencing public policy dialogue and actions across Canada.

This initiative brings together a diverse group of organizations and individuals to:

  • identify further points of intersection and synergy;
  • share knowledge and expertise;
  • find potential for collaboration with one another; and
  • produce a report summarizing the key strategic areas of focus and outcomes of the roundtable discussions

Specific actions to be taken and tangible impact are the desired outcomes from this collective.
The long-term goal of the initiative is to promote and sustain collaboration across sectors and increase public support for proven effective interventions to reduce severe and fatal road crashes. In doing so we will deliver a much safer road system - driving to eliminate death and serious injuries on our roads, with the vision of making Canada's roads the safest in the world.

Target Group:

  • The 20+ organizations involved in Change for Good Roads initiative.
  • Vulnerable Road Users and the Canadian public/general population.


Key Activity 1: Build and convene road safety collective with diverse, cross-sectoral representation

  • Engage Impakt, an organization that helps corporations and civil society organizations solve social problems, to apply their proven Change for Good approach to develop a clear and cohesive strategy to support a Parachute-led collective. The approach uses a mix of virtual in-person discussions, idea generation and prioritization, augmented by an asynchronous online platform to refine and target ideas.
  • Conduct scan of national organizations who are influential and have credible voices across different sectors (injury prevention, road safety, transportation, environment/climate change and physical activity).
  • Reach out to lead national multi-sectoral organizations to participate in 3 virtual roundtables; assess interest and commitment to having representation on collective.
  • Convene 3-4 virtual roundtables on topics identified in a process that facilitates information sharing/exchange, provides an online collaboration platform for co-creation, identification and development of a strategy for change, specific actions to be taken and the tangible outcomes which define collective success.

Key Activity 2: Create a national blueprint for action and activate.

  • Work with Impakt to review key learnings across all roundtables, identify alignment/consensus on action-focused deliverable(s) and opportunities for collaboration and communication.
  • Develop the national report that reflects the consensus of ideas and proposed actions of roundtable collective representatives. Focus on specific consensus-based actions to be taken collectively to address national road safety challenges; addressing goals set out in SDGs that will benefit all sectors involved, with the primary orientation toward reducing road fatalities while improving Canadians' health and physical lifestyles.
  • Share final draft report that summarizes the findings and calls to action with roundtable collective representatives.
  • Create a dissemination, communication and outreach plan, that includes key messages, calls to action, and templates, and share with all collective representatives. This plan will provide the entire collective with concrete steps they/their organization can take to maximize impact.


We expect the following outcomes from the above activities:

  • Increased multi-sector collaboration through creation of a new collective
  • Increased understanding of gaps and opportunities for addressing national road safety challenges
  • Priority actions to address gaps are identified and agreed upon by the collective
  • A national report that has consensus from the multi-sectoral collective of organizations
  • An increase in collective action from these organizations, as a group and individually, focused on the calls to action from the report
  • Increased visibility of the calls to action with policy-makers, sectors involved in the collective.

The key lessons learned out of the roundtable discussions with the collective organizations include the following: the importance of collaborating and communicating between sectors, the need to change the culture of road use, the need to champion equity and accessibility, and the importance of engaging communities in co-creation. Parachute will continue the momentum gained through this initiative by putting together a plan to provide the Change for Good Roads collective organizations with concrete steps that they/their organization can take to apply this information and maximize impact.