May 30 • 28M

Road Safety: Do we need better practitioner-researcher relationships?

And why behaviour change might be the missing link to road safety improvements

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A series where we talk to traffic and mobility experts, discuss innovations, and highlight business leaders within transport and city planning.
Episode details

In this episode, we chat with Robyn Robertson, the President and CEO of The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) - a Canadian-based foundation that works with governments, communities, industries, and road safety organizations to make roads safer and reduce road deaths and injuries among Canadians. TIRF has worked to improve road safety for all Canadians by generating and sharing knowledge on current and emerging issues and trends that affect road safety.

What you’ll learn:

  • Behavioural change, attitudes, and the hurdles facing road safety professionals

  • Researchers VS practitioners and why partnerships are important

  • Canadian road safety statistics and trends

  • How to minimise your risk of injury and death as a driver, passenger, or road-side user


“For us as an organization, it's incredibly important that our research is used. I would never do research for research's sake. I don't want to publish a technical report that sits on a shelf. “

“The pleasure of what I do comes from working with practitioners because I get to see change happen. I get to make change happen every day by helping them use the research”.

“On one hand, it's one of the hardest things to do - changing habits, changing behaviour - And on the other hand, it can be the most powerful and the fastest method that we have to make roads safe”.

“ We always look at the issue of impaired driving because it's one of the largest contributors to crashes”.

“In Canada we have an incredibly high seatbelt usage rate, but unfortunately in crashes, I still see much lower rates. That's obviously one of the key factors in fatalities is having unbelted occupants in the vehicle. Alcohol and distraction and speed are fairly equal-sized problems when you look at them as a proportion of all road fatalities.”

“Alcohol, distraction, and speed each account for about 1-in-4 fatal crashes in Canada”

“The pandemic has played a big role in that and they've seen increases in risk-taking.”

“I think the biggest frustration I see is the tendency for people to focus on that other road user. We talk about the other driver and what the other driver did. And the reality is we don't control anyone else's behaviour on the road. When we go out, we control ourselves and that's it.”

“ if we spent more time thinking about our own choices on the road, every time we walked out the door and stepped off the curb, got on our bike, got behind the wheel of a car, and thought about what we can control instead of getting frustrated by what you see others doing on the road”


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