Collisions and Neighbourhood Income: New research in Calgary

In 2016, 1691 pedestrians and cyclists were injured in collisions in Alberta, 3 of which were fatalities. Several North American cities have correlated pedestrian collisions with socio-economic factors such as income, age, gender and ethnicity, as well as with the quality of the built environment. We wanted to know if the same held true in Calgary. We commissioned a literature review and new GIS research to explore this with our partners in Toronto and Montreal.

Are we designing our cities for health equity?

Preliminary results tell us there is a correlation between collision frequency and nearby household incomes. Research is underway to explore additional contributing factors. Of particular interest is analysis of collisions as a rate of total pedestrians or of local population density. Research in other cities suggests that serious pedestrian collisions are more likely in areas that experience both lower incomes and lower pedestrian flows.

A summary of our literature review and results is now live on our national website, We will also be presenting our results at the 2019 Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals Conference, which has a Vision Zero theme this year, and is being held in Calgary at the Hotel Arts. Check it out!

What can we do to prevent collisions? For one, we can design a road system that protects against human error. For inspiration, check out Complete Streets Transformations by Complete Streets for Canada, or the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide. We can also weave strong design guidelines into high level policy, which is what we suggest in our most recent edition of Healthy Places: Designing for Health in Alberta; and we can ensure that we spend public dollars both equitably and effectively to work towards zero traffic-related deaths in Calgary.

Celia LeeANC