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Frequently Asked Questions

The Challenge

What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is the belief that the only acceptable number of fatalities or serious injuries from traffic related incidents is zero. The approach, originated in Sweden in 1997, takes a systems approach to road design and safety. It adapts the design, function and use of the transportation system to take human error into account so that no one will be killed or seriously injured from traffic related incidents.

What is the Vision Zero Plan?

The Vision Zero Plan is a five year (2017-2021) action plan focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. With over 50 safety measures across six emphasis areas, the Plan prioritizes the safety of the most vulnerable road users, through a range of initiatives.

It is a pledge to improve safety across our city using a data-driven and targeted approach, focusing on the locations where improvements are most needed. The Plan addresses safety for the most vulnerable users of our transportation system—pedestrians, school children, older adults and cyclists. Based on factors that contribute to serious injury and fatality crashes, the plan will also focus on aggressive and distracted driving, and safety for motorcyclists.

What is a Challenge?

A Challenge is an approach to consider new ideas that respond to social, economic or environmental problems. They take place over a longer period to give participants enough time to build more robust solutions. Challenges are an open invitation to diverse groups to solve specific issues by leveraging available tools and resources (e.g. data, research).

Challenges are designed to give guidance on the characteristics of what the end tool could look like, but not be prescriptive on what it has to look like. This creates an environment that spurs creativity and unlocks new possibilities.

How do I find teammates?

The Vision Zero Challenge Slack workspace and the participant portal are great places to help you find teammates. You can also find teammates through your community, school or using our Vision Zero Challenge hashtag #VZChallengeTO on your preferred social media platform.

Rules and Regulations 101

Who can participate in the challenge?

The Challenge is open to anyone who is 18 years or older and lives in Canada (except for Quebec).

Are international students eligible to participate?

Yes! As long as they are residing in Canada (except Quebec) during the challenge. International students cannot participate from their home country.

I am not from a tech or data background. Can I still participate?

Absolutely! Participants from all backgrounds can join this competition. We are looking for a solution that that is backed by sound research and evidence. There are additional points awarded for working prototype solutions. We encourage you to find teammates that could help turn your ideas and insights into a functional tool.

What are the team requirements?

There are a number of reasons why you should join us: Teams can be between 1 and 8 people. All teammates must meet the eligibility criteria individually.

When does the Challenge open and close? What are the key dates I should be aware of?

The Challenge will begin Thursday, May 31, 2018, and will close at 11:59pm on Thursday, July 26, 2018. Check out the Timeline for all key dates.

What are my Intellectual Property rights?

All intellectual property rights remain with the creators of a solution. The City of Toronto and the Brookfield Institute do not obtain any intellectual property rights of Challenge solutions.

Can an individual who has an already-licensed product (i.e. the product is theirs, they own the IP, it is already licensed) incorporate that product into the design of a broader digital tool that they will submit as part of a team?

Licensed products may be used, provided the product and IP is owned by one of the team members. However, it is the responsibility of the team to ensure there are no restrictions associated with their licensing agreement. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the team to sort out who owns the IP regarding any improvements. We recommend seeking legal advice on protecting your IP.

Will the Challenge cover travel expenses for the Pitch Competition?

No, participants are responsible for covering their own travel expenses to the Pitch Competition or other events as a part of the challenge.

What do I have to build?

We are looking for submissions that use data, design and technology to make all Toronto road users, especially seniors, newcomers and school children, safer today, as well as in the future. We are looking for submissions that have strong research and evidence to back up their idea, as well as demonstrate the ability to build out a functioning prototype. Check out our judging scorecard for more information.

Where can I find the complete Rules and Regulations

You can find the complete rules and regulations here.

The Judging Process

What is the Judging Process?

The Vision Zero Challenge will follow a two-phased judging process:

  • During Phase 1, submissions will be judged by a panel of judges with technical and content expertise. Judges will evaluate submissions using the Phase 1 judging criteria. Five teams will advance to the second round. The Top 5 teams will be provided feedback from Phase 1 judges to refine their idea before the Pitch Competition.
  • The Top 5 teams will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of high profile judges. Teams will be evaluated on Phase 2 judging criteria.

Make sure you review the judging scorecard which will be the primary tool judges use to evaluate submissions.

Who are the judges?

We are building a panel of external judges from diverse backgrounds across Toronto. We will use the expertise of civic innovators, data analysts, designers, urban and transportation planners, academics and advocates. We will announce the full panel of judges shortly. Stay tuned for more details!

What do Challenge winners receive?

The Vision Zero Challenge will award a total of $10,000 in prize money. First prize will win $7,000; The runner up will win $3,000. These teams will be awarded the opportunity to join Civic Hall Toronto - a program that connects government innovators, entrepreneurs, technologists and residents, and empowers them to collaboratively address civic challenges. Through Civic Hall, the winners will be given the opportunity to continue to build and refine their product working closely with City staff. Winners will get access to events, the opportunity to share, collaborate and co-create with innovators from across sectors. They will also receive training and supports consisting of a kick off-session to determine team’s needs; three half-day project coaching sessions; and access to training workshops on relevant topicsn.

Participant Tools + Resources

What data, tools and resources can I use?

As part of this Challenge, the City of Toronto has released many datasets for you to use, analyze and build upon. This includes a number of datasets that touch on different elements of the Vision Zero Plan, including historical information on collisions, data describing travel demand and transportation infrastructure, Vision Zero safety programs implemented and planned to date, socio-demographic information on Toronto’s residents and much more. There is also a centralized list of relevant policy and research materials. In addition to this, take a look at our capacity building tools that show you how to do user research and testing. Check out our Resources page to learn more.

Who are the Challenge mentors? How can I connect with them??

We have a rockstar group of mentors with diverse backgrounds, skills and knowledge who can provide assistance throughout the Challenge. Mentors will be available on Slack during “office hours” as well as some meetups. Take a look at our schedule to find out when mentors will be available.

What is Slack?

Slack is a free messaging and chat platform that helps teams connect and collaborate in real time. We have set up a Slack channel specifically for this challenge. Slack is a great tool to chat with other participants, find teammates and troubleshoot questions.

To gain access to our Slack workspace, you will need to first register for for the Challenge in the participant portal. We will send an invite shortly after registration. Slack is free to use and we have compiled some tips and guidelines (below) to help you get started.

If you have any other questions about Slack or need help joining the workspace please feel free to get in touch.

Are there any guiding principles or social rules for using the Slack workspace?

It is important that participants feel safe communicating over Slack. By encouraging all participants to follow these guiding principles, we hope to foster a safe and collaborative environment for participants to connect, find teammates, create channels, and ask questions as they work towards building their solution.

The Vision Zero Challenge team is dedicated to providing a harassment-free environment for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion, or technical skill level. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

While using Slack, please remember that:

  • This workspace has been created to ensure a welcoming and constructive environment for participants to ask questions and connect.
  • We do not tolerate rude or hostile comments.
  • Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate at any time.
  • You should try to actively listen to the discussions or questions being asked and be wary not to dominate a conversation.

We reserve the right to expel a participant (and their team) from the Vision Zero Challenge at any time if we feel a participant is in violation of these guiding principles.

By registering for the Vision Zero Challenge and/or our Slack workspace, you agree to the preceding guiding principles. For full rules, please see our Rules and Regulations

It’s my first time using Slack. Where can I find resources on how to best set up and use Slack?

Slack has some amazing resources for new users just getting started. We encourage you to start with their Getting Started for New Members guide.

For more in-depth Slack support, resources also include:

If there is anything we have missed or you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us through our Slack workspace or via email!