Vehicle Collisions Happen Everywhere, Not Just at Hot Spot Intersections

Vehicle Collisions Happen Everywhere, Not Just at Hot Spot Intersections
By Simon Jay

Collision Data

Slow Street’s Vancouver map, of vehicles colliding with walkers and cyclists, shows that vehicles collide with people at a large number of intersections, throughout the city, and at most downtown intersections.

Some intersections clearly have more collisions between vehicles and people than others, and the intersections with the most collisions are often termed collision ‘hot spots’ or ‘black spots’. The hot spots, where the most collisions happen, are the largest dots on the map, and are all found along routes with other similarly dangerous intersections.

Our map also highlights a pattern of collision ‘hot routes’ and ‘hot areas’, where higher numbers of collisions between vehicles and people have occurred. For example the fast arterial routes of Burrard, Main, Clark, Broadway and Hastings Streets are easy to locate because of their strings of larger red dots. Downtown and the Broadway Corridor are also easy to distinguish because of the blur of coloured dots.

Slow Street’s map highlights many of the same findings as Morency and Cloutier’s 2006 research on Montreal’s collision hot spots. Their academic research was published in the journal Injury Prevention, together with an editorial by Jacobsen. For example Morency and Cloutier found “pedestrian crash sites are broadly dispersed” (p. 363) and “more motorists hit pedestrians in the central boroughs than in the outlying areas” (Jacobsen 2006, p. 356).

Slow Street’s would therefore like to highlight some of Morency and Cloutier’s (2006) conclusions, which are still relevant today in cities like Vancouver.

  • “Limiting analyses and interventions solely to ‘‘black spots’’ [hot spots] largely fails to deal with the area-wide problem of pedestrian safety.” (p. 363)
  • A pedestrian safety strategy which concentrates on collision hot spots “cannot substantially reduce the total number of injured or the insecurity that many pedestrians experience when walking”. (p. 360)
  • “In Montreal, it seems doubtful that the total number of road victims can be reduced without a strategy embracing all central boroughs.” (p. 363)

Tellingly Slow Street’s map of Vancouver collisions, shows that the traffic calmed area of the West End in Vancouver’s downtown, has seen considerably fewer collisions in comparison with the rest of Vancouver’s core.

Area wide traffic calming strategies for more of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, especially within Vancouver’s core, would therefore be the best way to reduce collisions between vehicles and people. By saying this, Slow Street’s is again echoing Morency & Cloutier who conclude that “prevention strategies should include comprehensive environmental measures such as global reduction of traffic volume and speed” (2006, p. 360).


Jacobsen, P.L. (2006). Why we fight about black spots. Injury Prevention, 12(6), 356-357.

P Morency, P., & Cloutier, M.S. (2006). From targeted ‘‘black spots’’ to area-wide pedestrian safety. Injury Prevention, 12(6), 360-364,


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