Image: Thamyris, Adobe Stock
The holiday season is a time when we think about our family and friends. It’s also a time when more people are on the roads and more potential exists for collisions and loss of life. Police and media communicate ways people can stay “road safe” over the holidays – and insights from Peg data can help their efforts.
Navigating busier-than-usual Winnipeg roads can be frustrating and distracting for drivers, especially when streets are filled with snow and ice. More alcohol flows over the holidays and the potential for impaired driving increases. But more knowledge can counter these risk factors by informing better transportation and social policy. The knowledge that Peg indicators can reveal about how Winnipeggers use public transit and active transportation—as well as how automobile use and commuting patterns affect our city—can translate into better lives and improved road safety for all Winnipeggers during the holidays and year-round.
According to reports, more than 35 collisions occur on Winnipeg streets every day, particularly at intersections, and the collision rate increases dramatically during the winter months.
The Peg data on traffic accidents leading to fatalities tells a story about Winnipeg roads.
Collision fatality numbers reflect many factors including the safety of road infrastructure, car safety features, law enforcement practices, health and hospital services and urban environmental planning. Built environment, road conditions, time of day, and driver behaviour (seatbelt use, drug and alcohol use, use of cellphones while driving, etc.) can all play a part in a collision.
So what can Peg tell us? We see a 22-year fatality low point in 2017, and four of the lowest fatality numbers happening in the five years before that. What factors contributed to this positive trend? It’s hard to draw any straight lines, but we can point to things like an increased police effort to curb impaired driving during the holidays and more options to get drinkers home safe as contributing factors. Peg data bolsters the case for them as well as any other positive road safety developments or trends we see in our city.
Local key indicators with a global connection
The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a blueprint for everyone—government, business, nonprofits and individuals—to work together to make a better, more sustainable and equitable world. All Peg indicators’ relationships to the SDGs are explained on mypeg.ca. Peg indicators around road safety and traffic fatalities are connected to SDGs like Good Health and Well Being and Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Commuting patterns are another factor in road safety, and affect human and environmental well-being. Peg tells us more than 75 percent of Winnipeggers use an automobile to commute. Less than 15 percent use public transit, and less than 10 percent bike or walk. We can see these patterns have been stagnant since 2001—knowledge that can become a call to action.
Why are people opting for their cars, which are responsible for the majority of Canada’s carbon monoxide and a large piece of our greenhouse gas emissions? If we want a sustainable city that embodies the SDGs, we need to ask this question and provide more incentives and opportunities for people to move to active transportation and public transit. If we are successful, it will mean fewer drivers, fatalities related to driving and an improved environment for us all.
Peg is here to help
The Peg community indicator system curates more than 60 indicators to measure the well-being and sustainability of Winnipeg in the areas of education, governance, social vitality, economy, basic needs, health, and natural environments. This data is a free, accurate source of support for community decision-making and priority setting.
Move from information to action
Peg’s easily accessible data can help citizens, groups, and decision-makers take action to increase road safety and overall well-being in Winnipeg.
To browse Peg’s Winnipeg indicators tracking road safety, transportation data and more, visit mypeg.ca
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