Speed kills. A pedestrian struck by a driver travelling 50 km/h is five times more likely to die than if they are hit at 30 km/h. Implementing a lower city-wide default speed limit is a critical component in preventing traffic fatalities. In 2015, Toronto and East York Community Councils approved the reduction of all local roadways with speed limits of 50 km/h and 40 km/h to 30 km/h.
As part of the City’s Vision Zero 2.0 Road Safety plan, speed limits on all local residential roads in the rest of the city (North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke) should be reduced to 30 km/h by 2025. In 2019, the City instituted the first phase of its Speed Management Strategy for arterial roads where the majority of serious injuries and fatalities occur, by reducing the speed limit on approximately 250 km of major arterial roadways to 50 km/h, which remains a dangerous speed that leads to fatalities in 85% of collisions. In 2020, the second phase saw the speed limit on 250 km of minor arterial and collector roadways reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h. While design changes are needed to increase compliance, a citywide speed reduction would be a meaningful step toward implementing Vision Zero principles consistently across the city.