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Announcing Winners

Posted on October 26, 2018

On September 25, 2018 members of Toronto’s innovation, design and city-building communities participated in the Vision Zero Challenge Pitch Competition. After months of planning and preparation, the top 5 teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges, city staff and engaged Torontonians.

After a difficult deliberation the judges selected the Challenge winners. The winning teams shared solutions that demonstrate high-potential to improve road safety today, as well as into the future. Along with prize money, the winners will receive coaching and training at Civic Hall Toronto to further develop their ideas side by side City staff.

First Place - Civic Hackers FTW
Civic Hackers FTW’s tool prioritizes the needs of Vision Zero policymakers, implementation partners and local communities. Drawing on insights derived from user research, this team built an interactive map that allows traffic collision data to be easily aggregated, visualized and analyzed on a citywide and ward level. The map can be used to determine the contributing factors of a collision and includes information about neighborhood demographics and community services. This tool will equip all road users, as well as policymakers, with the information they need to improve road safety and introduce targeted interventions.

Second Place - TechForRoadSafety
TechForRoadSafety’s solution combines video and traffic signal data to analyze the behaviour of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers involved in near-miss collisions. Near-miss analysis is an emerging field within transportation planning and offers policymakers a new approach to understanding intersections and streets that have unsafe conditions. This technology could be deployed at any intersection to collect real-time data, the first step towards generating an effective safety solution.

We would like to thank all individuals and partners who participated in the Challenge. Your insights, knowledge and lived experiences were vital to making the Vision Zero Challenge a success.

Join us at the Pitch Competition

Posted on September 10, 2018

After months of research, testing and iterating, the time has finally come! On September 25, the top 5 teams will present their innovative solutions at the Vision Zero Challenge Pitch Competition. Aimed at improving road safety in Toronto, each team will have the chance to present their unique idea to a panel of judges, followed by short Q&As.

After the presentations, judges will deliberate to select the final Challenge winner and runner-up. Both teams will receive prize money and continued programming supports from Civic Hall Toronto. During the deliberation period, attendees will have a chance to network and enjoy light refreshments.

Join us in celebrating everyone’s hard work and be inspired by thoughtful, new approaches to road safety in our city.

Register for the Pitch Competition

The top 5 teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges with content and technical expertise.

Meet the judges:

Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services, City of Toronto
Barbara Gray’s commitment to innovation drives her work as General Manager of Transportation Services in the City of Toronto. As Deputy Director of the Transportation Department in Seattle, she led the development of the first city-wide Pedestrian Master Plan and Complete Streets policy and oversaw daily operations for policy, planning, and right of way management. She launched the plan to include a public realm activation program, a Project Coordination Office and a 24/7 Transportation Operations Center.

Her current projects include leading Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan, Toronto’s involvement in the Complete Streets policy-initiative, the Ten Year Cycling Network Plan, and pivotal pilot projects including congestion management initiatives and the King Street Transit Pilot. She is committed to a focus on building equity into decision making, improving multimodal design and leveraging technology and data to drive better project outcomes.

Gabe Sawhney, Executive Director, Code for Canada
Gabe Sawhney is an experience designer, creative technologist and innovation strategist. He uses design and technology to address creative, civic and business challenges. He’s a pioneer in the Canadian civic tech community, helping co-found Civic Tech Toronto and launch Code for Canada. Civic Hall Toronto is a program of Code for Canada.

Rebecca Goodwin, Steering Committee Member, Walk Toronto
Rebecca Goodwin is a Steering Committee member of Walk Toronto, an all-volunteer, grassroots advocacy group formed in 2013 to work with various levels of government, community groups and citizens to improve walking conditions and pedestrian safety in Toronto. Walk Toronto has been a vocal advocate helping to prompt City of Toronto officials to adopt and fund the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.

Rebecca is a private land conservation innovator, creative solution-finder, and specialist in cross-border philanthropy and fundraising. She has several decades of wide-ranging experience as a volunteer, employee and self-employed consultant serving philanthropists, charities, social enterprises, non-profits and government agencies throughout North America and in the U.K. addressing environmental, social and educational challenges.

Announcing our top 5 teams

Posted on September 4, 2018

Congratulations to the top 5 teams selected to move forward in the Vision Zero Challenge! These teams will present their solutions to a panel of judges at the Pitch Competition for a chance to win prize money and support from Civic Hall Toronto.

Drive for Life and ZeMind Games
This solution recognizes that road safety education needs to be more engaging and more widely available. As such, this team developed state-of-the-art gaming and simulation technology provides new, relevant training for all road users.

Civic Hackers FTW
Civic Hackers FTW’s tool puts the needs of the Vision Zero policymakers and implementation partners first. By building an interactive map, Civic Hackers FTW hopes to support data-driven decision making within the City of Toronto.

Tech for Road Safety is an AI-enabled solution that prioritizes safety interventions. It does this by leveraging the power of big data and technology to analyze the movements of all road users and make recommendations to implement safety interventions.

Raymond Jean’s Team
In order to keep people safe on Toronto’s roadways, this solution proposes a system of pedestrian chevrons and contra bike lanes designed to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries for all vulnerable road users.

Grant Taylor’s Team
Drivers face a number of distractions each time they are on the road. Recognizing that traffic collisions are caused by human error, this solution takes a data-driven approach to warning drivers as the likelihood of an collision increases.

Vision Zero Challenge is Officially Closed

Posted on July 30, 2018

The Vision Zero Challenge is officially closed! Thank you to everyone who participated in the Challenge and contributed to making it a success. We’re excited to see your creative and innovation solutions that seek to make Toronto’s streets safer for everyone.

We’d also like to thank the mentors who provided support and guidance throughout the entire process. Your insights and advice were essential! Thank you! These include individuals from the City of Toronto, Ontario Digital Service, Walk Toronto, Green Communities Canada, and OCASI.

Next Steps

We’re lucky to have a Phase 1 judging panel comprised of experts and community advocates passionate about road safety and design in Toronto. Our Phase 1 Judges will begin scoring submissions next week. They will determine the top 5 teams moving forward to Phase 2 and participating in the Pitch Competition. Check out our scorecard to learn more about what our judges will be looking for while reviewing submissions.

All participating teams can expect to hear from us towards the end of August. In the meantime, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Meet our Phase 1 Judges

Posted on July 20, 2018

We’re excited to announce our Phase 1 judging panel. This panel is comprised of experts and community advocates passionate about road safety in Toronto, who will bring diverse skills, perspectives and lived experiences to the evaluation process. Phase 1 judges will determine the top 5 teams moving forward to Phase 2 and participating in the Pitch Competition. Check out our scorecard to learn more about what our judges will be looking for while reviewing submissions.

Get to know our judges!

Geoff Kettel

Geoff Kettel is a community connector and advocate for “making places better”, through his active involvement in land use planning, heritage preservation, active transportation, and community development. He is currently Co-President of the Leaside Property Owners’ Association, Co-Chair of the Federation of North Toronto Residents‘ Associations (FoNTRA), Chair of the North York Community Preservation Panel, member of the Steering committee of Walk Toronto and the Advocacy Committee of Cycle Toronto. He writes a monthly column on community planning issues in the Leaside Life newspaper. He is also the founder (2006) and co-chair of Neighbours’ Night Out in Thorncliffe Park.

Previously, Geoff had a 33 year career in the Ontario public service serving in various ministries, and prior to that was a a Land Use Planner in private practice. He also holds a Bachelor of Science, and Master of Geography from the University of Wales, and the University of Western Ontario, respectively, and a Master of Business Administration from the Schulich School, York University.

Jesse Coleman

Jesse Coleman leads the Big Data Innovation Team in the City of Toronto's Transportation Services Division. Created in 2015, the team’s mission aims to leverage emerging transportation datasets together with existing City data to develop a new understanding of transportation issues across all modes in the City. As team leader, Jesse’s role has been to build a modern data science team focused on analysing transportation data sets that measure the impact and benefits of the City’s policies and projects. The team partners actively with Universities, researchers and the Toronto tech community to drive its innovation agenda. Prior to joining the City in August 2015, Jesse worked for 10 years in the private-sector as a Transportation Planning consultant with IBI Group, where he was involved with several long-term transportation planning studies around the GTHA and Canada. Jesse is a Professional Engineer and earned a Masters of Applied Science in Transportation Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Jill Cheyne

Jill Cheyne is a manager at Toronto Public Health in Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. She holds a Master of Adult Education and Community Development, an undergraduate degree in Nursing Science and is currently a Master of Business Administration candidate. She has over 10 years of project management experience. The majority of her career has focused on developing, monitoring and executing project plans; managing and calculating municipal and provincial budgets; collecting and analyzing data; consulting and negotiating with stakeholders; developing reports and recommendations for improvement initiatives; and developing and leading change initiatives. She is passionate about active and safe transportation and thrilled to be part of the Vision Zero Challenge.

Kristen Evers

Kristen Evers is a Green Projects Team Leader with the Sustainability Office at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Since joining the Sustainability Office in 2013, Kristen has developed and implemented active, safe, and sustainable transportation initiatives at the TDSB. Prior to this, Kristen worked in other public sector and non-profit environmental and educational organizations in communities across Canada. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Guelph, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa and a Master of Environment and Sustainability from the University of Western Ontario.

Maggi Mitchell

Whether designing events or building digital products, Maggi Mitchell is passionate about creating thoughtful and memorable user experiences. As the Director of Operations at UX Research Toronto (UXRTO), Maggi is growing a community for UX researchers to make research practices more accessible and talked about. This past March, Maggi orchestrated UXRTO’s first UXR Conference where over 400 UX researchers, enthusiasts and product people spent the day learning from international and local thought leaders. Since then, Maggi has launched the groups first “Intro to UX Research” course in collaboration with over a dozen local UX researchers. View previous examples of her work: @getdropbike, @yogatreestudios and @cityoftoronto. She’s also proud alumni of the University of Toronto, holding a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Physiology.

Mike Barnet

Mike Barnet is a Senior Project Manager working on the Delivery of the Vision Road Safety Plan at the City of Toronto. Mike has experience working in both the private and public sector in a variety of areas, including policy development, program and business development, and operations management related to road safety, intelligent mobility, and new and emerging transportation technology.

Nour Abu-Shaaban

Nour Abu-Shaaban is a third year student in Ryerson University’s Environmental and Urban Sustainability program. She is passionate about arts, geography, travel, fashion and youth advocacy. Nour is currently working for a non-profit organization as a Youth Program Coordinator that assists newcomer children and youth. Nour is responsible for the development, oversight and implementation of a range of innovative after-school activities designed to support the settlement of newly arrived Syrian children. These programs include artistic and recreational activities, as well as homework support. With more than 8 years of experience with community and program development, Nour is adept in risk assessment, program implementation, and group leadership.

Priyanka Vittal

Priyanka Vittal is a lawyer with a national non-profit organization and has been a Board member and a member of the Cycle Toronto Advocacy Committee since 2017. Since moving to Toronto, cycling has been an important part of Priyanka’s identity and everyday life. She’s interested in having Toronto integrate cycling safety into its larger mandate related to sustainable growth and urban planning. More specifically, she thinks that Vision Zero is not just a nice idea, but a goal that Toronto needs to actively work towards; as technology drives change, cities must be able to adapt and reconsider road design.

Rossana Tudo

Rossana Tudo is a Project Manager at 8 80 Cities who is dedicated to building engaged and inclusive cities. She is a versatile urban planner with eight years of planning and research experience spanning three cities: Toronto, Montreal, and New York. Having worked in a wide range of roles and fields, she applies a creative and multi-disciplinary approach to all her work.

How to Prepare for Submission

Posted on July 17, 2018

The close of the Vision Zero Challenge is just a few weeks away! The deadline for submission is Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 11:59pm (EST). Unfortunately, we cannot accept entries after this time. To help you prepare for the submission process, we’ve put together some tips and tricks:

  1. Read the Rules and Regulations. We’ve provided a summary of key components in the FAQs. It’s important that all team members understand the terms and conditions of entering the Vision Zero Challenge before submitting a solution. Please ensure that all team members are eligible to participate. To be eligible, participants must be:
    • An individual (or groups of individuals). Established organizations and businesses are not eligible to participate, but a team consisting of individuals from an organization or business can participate as individuals.
    • A legal resident of Canada. Residents of Quebec are not eligible to participate.
    • 18 years or older.

  2. Review the Judging Scorecard. This resource provides details about how submissions will judged and evaluated. By reviewing this document you’ll see what separates a good idea from a winning one.

  3. Choose Your Development Platform. If you are submitting a working prototype you can use the following platforms to submit your solution:
    1. GitHub
    2. BitBucket
    3. GitLab
    4. IBM Bluemix

    If you are using GitHub, BitBucket or BitLab, your repo must be public or you’ll need to add git-hackworks as a collaborator. If you are using IBM Bluemix, members of your project can be added from the Members page. Be sure to also invite

  4. Prepare Relevant Documents. Submissions should demonstrate key functionality, front-end design features, evidence of user research, as well as research and analysis of relevant data sets and policy materials underlying your proposed solution. Teams can submit a PDF document (max. 50 pages) and a YouTube video (max. 5 minutes) demonstrating the design and functionality of your solution. We recommend that you structure your PDF document to mirror the categories and criteria in the judging scorecard.

  5. Finalize Your Team. Before submitting, verify the names and contact information of all teammates. Only individuals listed on the submission form will be invited to participate in the Pitch Competition and be eligible to receive the prize money, which is split equally between members of the winning teams.

  6. Submit Your Idea.Once you’ve followed these initial steps, this guide will walk you and your teammates through the formal submission process. If you have any questions during the submission process you can direct message “Courtney_Hackworks” or “Yasmin Rajabi-Admin” on the Vision Zero slack group.

If you have any additional questions about the Rules and Regulations please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Prototyping Tools + How to Use Them

Posted on July 10, 2018

Now that you have turned your user insights into ideas, it’s time to test them! Prototyping is the part of the innovation process where potential solutions are designed and tested with users. The goal of prototyping is to obtain feedback quickly in order to improve your idea. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind as you move into prototyping:

  1. Narrow down which ideas are worth pursuing and which aren’t by ensuring that proposed solutions align with your user research and the initial problem statement:
  2. “How might we use data, design and technology to make all Toronto road users, especially seniors, newcomers and school children, safer immediately, and enable predictive and high priority interventions in the future?”

  3. Rapidly test potential solutions by building simple prototypes. This approach will allow you to identify areas for improvement before investing significant time in any particular idea. Prototyping methods include:
    1. Sketches + Diagrams - This is the easiest way to share concepts, and useful for initial validation of your prototype.
    2. Storyboarding - Use a storyboard to visualize your user’s journey. Overlay this journey with the proposed solution to see how your idea reduces pain points. This is ideal for developing a better understanding of the needs and wants of your user.
    3. Role Playing - Act out scenarios involving your user navigating the prototype to get a better understanding of user experience and user flow.
    4. Mockups - As you begin to eliminate potential ideas, create a robust prototype that has most—if not all—the end features of your submission. Invision and Sketch are digital product design platforms that are ideal for prototyping.
  4. Test your prototypes with users! Gathering feedback from users on your prototype will help you develop a stronger end product. Be sure to integrate this feedback into design and make it an iterative process until you’ve developed a refined solution.

How to Generate New Ideas

Posted on July 3, 2018

Ideation is a step in the design process for generating a variety of ideas and possible solutions. Ideation allows us to get creative and discover new and unexplored territory.

Here are a few simple steps to start developing your ideas:

  1. Share what you’ve learned from conducting user research with the rest of your team. Place your findings on sticky notes or use storytelling as a compelling way to share your research.
  2. Identify any patterns that have emerged from discussing your user research findings. Group these into themes.
  3. Transform themes into insight statements by phrasing findings as “How Might We” questions. This great example provides step-by-step instructions for doing this.
  4. Generate new ideas by answering your own “How Might We” questions. In this stage of the design process, it’s better to prioritize quantity over quality. Remember, there’s no such thing as a bad idea. Here are some other creative approaches to brainstorming:
    1. Mash-up - Pair unexpected ideas together by selecting two unrelated categories and combining items from each category to create new ideas.
    2. Round Robin - Have each team member write down one idea and pass it along to another teammate to build upon.
    3. Storyboard - Use a storyboard as a tool to build empathy and approach “How Might We” questions from the perspective of identified users.

How to Conduct User Research

Posted on June 19, 2018

In order to create solutions that are desirable and useful for your target user, it’s best to conduct user research. User research will help you develop a deep understanding of who the users are, how they behave, and what they need and want.

To help you get started, we have a number of resources and supports available to assist with conducting user research. These include:

  • A curated reading list of human-centered design tools. This comprehensive list will guide you through performing user research, creating your own empathy and journey maps and many more methods to developing a solution with users in mind.

  • Office hours with user research experts and end-users such as newcomers, pedestrians, and school safety consultants. View our Mentor Schedule for upcoming office hours to find a time to connect with them.

Don’t forget - we encourage you to conduct your own user research outside of the Challenge office hours.

Here are some things to consider when conducting user research:

  1. Identify Your User. Don’t forget that there are different users identified for this Challenge. The Ontario Digital Government has created a fantastic user research guide that will walk you through how to define your user.
  2. Recruit Users. Recruiting users usually starts from your own personal network. Reach out to family, friends, colleagues and classmates as a first step. Attending meet-ups and events is another way to recruit users. Don’t forget that you can conduct observational user-research.
  3. Obtain Consent. Be sure to create consent forms and walk participants through the process before conducting interviews. It’s best to be very transparent and use plain language as overly complex language can be a barrier for participation. The Ontario Digital Government has created a guide that outlines how to prepare a consent form.

Kick-Off Recap

Posted on June 4, 2018

Watch the clips below to catch up on what you missed. You’ll hear from Vision Zero experts, better understand how road safety impacts vulnerable populations and learn about the resources available throughout the Challenge. After watching the Kick-Off videos you will have the resources you need to hit the ground running, and start building your solution.

Introduction to the Vision Zero Challenge

Remarks from Councillor Jaye Robinson on City Council’s commitment to Vision Zero.

Keynote: Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services. Her talk focused on how this Challenge can support the advancement of Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan and poses important questions to consider when building Challenge solutions.

Panel Discussion: Understanding Vision Zero From The User Perspective
A panel moderated by Luke Simcoe, Communications Lead, Code for Canada about the unique needs of different populations. Panelists include:

  • Dr. John David Stewart, Chair of Health Committee, Toronto Seniors Forum
  • Anjum Sultana, Council of Agencies Serving South Asians
  • Daniella Levy-Pinto, Steering Committee, Walk Toronto
  • Laura Zeglen, School Traffic Management Facilitator, Green Communities

We had breakout groups for a chance to delve deep into the needs and challenges faced by the end users. Summary of Breakout Groups

Participant Supports + Resources

1. Get Started Not sure where you should start first? We’ve created a guide that takes you through the innovation process and available resources at each stage.

2. Research + Data Sets We’ve released tons of datasets and curated research and relevant policy material. You can access them here! Having trouble understanding the data and research? Make sure you take advantage of Slack to connect with the Challenge mentors.

3. Mentors Mentors with expertise in transportation planning, data science and user design will be available to troubleshoot questions that emerge. We’ll also be hosting digital ‘office hours’ with end users - newcomers, seniors, school safety experts and active transportation advocates - to ensure all participants can conduct user research and testing.

4. Judging Scorecard Want to know what separates a good idea from a great idea? The scorecard will be the tool judges use to evaluate submissions and determine the Challenge winners.

5. Find A Team The best way to find teammates is through the Vision Zero portal under the matchmaking tab. You can select what type of skills you're looking for in team mates, and it will display all challenge participants with that skill set. You can also use the ‘find a team’ channel on Slack to chat with people before committing to any team.

Vision Zero Challenge Kick-Off Live Stream

Posted on May 30, 2018

We can’t wait to meet you at the Vision Zero Challenge Kick-Off! This event will give you an opportunity to hear from Vision Zero experts, learn about the resources available and connect with fellow civic innovators. After attending the Kick-Off, you will have all the resources you need to hit the ground running and start building your solution.

Can’t attend the Kick-Off but want to stay up to date on the Challenge?

We will be hosting a live-stream of the Kick-Off! The live stream will start at 6:30pm (EST) on Brookfield's Facebook page:



Welcome + Opening Remarks


Remarks - Councillor Jaye Robinson, Chair of the Infrastructure and Public Works Committee


Keynote - Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services


Panel Discussion: Understanding Vision Zero From The User Perspective

A panel moderated by Luke Simcoe, Communications Lead, Code for Canada about the unique needs of different populations. Panelists include:

  • Dr. John David Stewart, Chair of Health Committee, Toronto Seniors Forum
  • Anjum Sultana, Council of Agencies Serving South Asians
  • Daniella Levy-Pinto, Steering Committee, Walk Toronto
  • Laura Zeglen, School Traffic Management Facilitator, Green Communities


Overview of Participant Supports

Announcing the Launch of the Vision Zero Challenge

Posted on May 14, 2018

In Toronto, a pedestrian is seriously injured or killed every 3 days on our roads. Between 2005 and 2016, there were over 2,100 pedestrians killed or injured. The thing is, traffic collisions aren’t accidents, they are preventable events that can be eliminated through smarter street design, targeted enforcement and thoughtful public engagement.

Toronto’s first road safety plan, Vision Zero, acknowledges that deaths and serious injuries on our roads are preventable and outlines clear priorities to ensure that people can travel safely around the city as pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and drivers.

The challenge is how to best implement Vision Zero.

That’s why the City of Toronto and the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship are thrilled to announce the launch of the Vision Zero Challenge. This is an 8-week competition where participants will work in teams or independently to develop innovative and data driven solutions to make Toronto’s streets safer for everyone, especially vulnerable populations, today as well as in the future.

By entering the Challenge, participants will be guided through a design-process. Resources and supports will help participants understand user needs and the policy context, practice the art of problem definition, demystify the datasets and test their ideas with end users. Mentors with expertise in transportation planning, data science and design will be available to troubleshoot questions that emerge, and we’ll be hosting digital ‘office hours’ with end users - newcomers, seniors, school safety experts and active transportation advocates - to ensure all participants can conduct user research and testing.

The Top 5 teams will have the opportunity to pitch their solution to a panel of judges with content and technical expertise. The two teams with the most promising solutions will be awarded a total of $10,000 and the opportunity to receive coaching and training at Civic Hall Toronto to further develop their idea side by side with City staff after the Challenge.

So how can you get involved? The first step is by registering to participate and joining us for the Vision Zero Challenge Kick-Off Event May 31st. If you’re interested in being a mentor or want to learn more, please get in touch.