Driving change in the built environment: Road safety resources for local practitioners

Author(s): Richmond, Medeiros, McCullogh, Pike, Fuselli, Macpherson, Hagel

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The built environment (BE) supports the way road users, specifically vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, move through their communities; navigating routes to work and school as well accessing spaces for play and physical activity. Most importantly, the BE plays a significant role in how vulnerable road users are protected from interactions with motor vehicles. Evidence suggests there are several population-level BE interventions that significantly reduce the number and severity of injuries from these interactions; however, access to evidence to support BE change is limited. Further, implementing effective programming for road safety is hindered by limited understanding of local contexts and the barriers to implementing effective interventions. Developing meaningful and relevant resources, using local data and evidence for and with practitioners, is necessary.


The objective of this work was to co-develop useful and relevant road safety resources using both qualitative and quantitative data sources with, and for, road safety practitioners from five major urban centres in Canada.

Target Group:

The target group for this work included a sub-group of stakeholders from the CHASE (CHild Active-transportation Safety and the Environment) research team. The CHASE research team is dedicated to producing evidence-based recommendations for practitioners in road safety to increase safe active transportation among children and youth. The CHASE stakeholder group includes practitioners in public health, policy/decision-making, transportation, police services, schools/school boards, and active and safe travel advocacy groups from five major urban municipalities/regions across Canada. These areas include Toronto, Peel, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver.


An integrated knowledge translation approach (i.e., process of co-creating research products with and for stakeholders and knowledge users, throughout the research process) was used to build local resources for road safety programming. Data collected as part of the CHASE research projects including motor vehicle collision rates, the number of children using active transportation to school, and reported barriers and facilitators to implementing BE change were used to develop resources for local stakeholders.

The activities used to develop the resources included webinars, stakeholder meetings, and consultation with experts. Data from stakeholders was collected according to the needs of the stakeholder group, including data that supports the decision-making process for local changes to the BE. The co-design resulted in a resource with two key components: 1) communication of local data specific to injury and active transportation; and 2) summaries of the barriers and facilitators to supporting change to the BE for road safety and active transport.


Local resources were developed specific to the needs of road safety practitioners. The resources include data visualizations of municipal/regional motor vehicle collision rates, active transportation rates, and the barriers and facilitators to implementing changes to the BE at a local level. Recommendations toward evidence-informed decision-making for BE change were also included.

Relevant resource development is predicated on effective researcher-practitioner partnerships and active engagement of stakeholders. The resources developed with and for practitioners in road safety must be informed by local data and evidence as well as understanding of the critical constructs for decision-making that results in changes to the BE.