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Road Safety


Road Safety


TIRF undertakes approximately 30 projects each year with a focus on studying risky behaviours, learning about the characteristics of road users, developing programs, policies and other prevention-based strategies.

Most importantly, TIRF works with transportation, health and criminal justice professionals to transfer knowledge and implement research findings in the real world.

Project-based funding to examine priority road safety topics aligned with TIRF’s research agenda is provided by governments, industry, associations & other non-profits. In addition, charitable corporate and personal donations make it possible for TIRF to develop a wealth of free educational resources to encourage safer choices & keep communities safe.

Road Users

Persons of all ages use our roads every day and the risks we face on the road change over time and with age. Adults of all ages equally rely on roads and transit to get to school and to work. Moreover, regardless of age, everyone uses our roads for health and leisure activities and to remain connected with family and friends. Commercial vehicles drivers face a different set of risks because of how much time they spend behind the wheel on the road in a much larger vehicle. Similarly, active transportation users such as pedestrians, cyclists, riders and motorcyclists face a different set of risks simply because they lack the protective exterior of a vehicle.


The focus of our research at TIRF is to improve understanding of what motivates people to take risks and engage in unsafe behaviours on the road, and how to change behaviour to better protect all road users. The level of risk-taking on the road varies in accordance with the type of behaviour, for example, a small proportion of drivers will drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs whereas a larger proportion of drivers may engage in distraction or speeding under certain conditions.


Over the past 50 years, TIRF has developed and evaluated a range of solutions to make roads safer for all types of users. Our research has evaluated different technologies and explored a variety of tailored strategies for specific groups of road users. Examples of our work include driver education and graduated driver licensing programs for young and novice drivers, training programs for commercial drivers and motorcycle riders, remedial programs and alcohol interlocks for impaired drivers, and technologies such as photo enforcement, ignition interlocks, driving simulators and online training.

annual projects
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Every year TIRF conducts more than 30 projects with funding from governments, associations, industry and non-profits to protect the many people who rely on our roads every day for business, family and leisure activities.

“I just wanted to send a quick note to thank TIRF for its invaluable support to the Safer Roads Ottawa program at the City of Ottawa. TIRF has been instrumental in providing initial support for the creation of the Fatal Collision Review Committee (FCRC) and support for presentations to City committees relating to evidence based research on automated enforcement initiatives. Their education initiatives including the community toolkit project and the in person sessions from Drop It And Drive® to well over 25,000 Ottawa High School students have had a profound effect raising awareness in our community about traffic fatalities and injuries in our community. On a national level, TIRF has also been a leader when it comes to the creation of the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) and their leadership has had an immense impact on municipalities and how we go about creating safer cities.”

Rob Wilkinson – Manager, Safer Roads Ottawa Program