How the Safe x Connected Award Winning Pilot Accelerator Improved Road Safety
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in Canada, providing home, automobile, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance to 2.4 million customers. A subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, Aviva Canada has more than 4,000 employees focused on creating a bright and sustainable future for their customers and communities.
Insurance is about providing people with peace of mind, for unplanned events such as getting involved in an auto accident, and helping people back on track after they have had a claim.
Problem: Roads are unsafe in Canada
Trouble lingers on our roads – for ourselves, our families and our neighbours. We cannot ignore the dangers any longer. Whether we’re pedestrians or drivers, when it comes to overcrowded city roads and outdated infrastructure, it’s important to stay safe. Along with the increasing number of cars on the roads, other modes of active transportation are on the rise – bikes, scooters, and walking among them. Keeping all road users safe remains a critical issue. So how can we find a smarter way around and make our roads safer?
The Take Back Our Roads initiative was started in 2019 because Aviva wanted to make roads safer for everyone, no matter how they get around. The project saw them engaging directly with municipalities that were trying to be “smarter” and partnering with other innovators also tackling this issue.
Why Highline Beta?
Aviva enlisted Highline Beta to design and launch a pilot program accelerator that would help them find the right startups to work with and execute towards delivering commercial pilots and real change.
“From conception to execution, the entire process with Highline Beta was very positive and collaborative. We worked closely together and we pulled it off seamlessly.”
Christine Malik, Sustainability Manager, Aviva Canada
The Safe X Connected Cities Accelerator launched in early 2020, before COVID-19 hit Canada. The main goal of this 6-month, milestone-driven program was to define and implement pilots focused on road safety, primarily with Aviva Canada and additional industry partners.
Highline Beta designed and co-delivered with Aviva a tailored coaching and hands-on mentorship program with 12 Aviva corporate mentors and 11 external subject matter experts.
We searched North America for the most forward-thinking early-stage startups that were tackling road safety issues in an innovative way. It was important to ensure that the cohort of startups selected solved a variety of road safety issues, including:
- Cycling Safety
- Pedestrian Safety
- Data Solutions
- Sensors & Digital Signage Solutions
- Accurate Detection Solutions
Two cohorts were completed in 2021 and 2022.
Six early-stage startups, eager to work with us on solving real challenges in our cities were selected from hundreds of applications. These experts in areas like traffic and congestion, imminent crashes and distracted driving, piloted their technology and got assistance in developing their solutions even further. Aviva’s breadth of insurance data and expertise in the space provided meaningful upside and benefit to the participating startups.
One of the more unique aspects of the Safe x Connected Cities accelerator were the partnerships with 6 Canadian municipalities and 3 private transportation companies to actively engage and deploy solutions on the most dangerous intersections, highways, bike lanes and streets.
The Accelerator partnership with Highline Beta was a standout aspect of Take Back Our Roads, our social impact platform. At Aviva, we believe in working collaboratively with partners, to leverage data to find solutions to real-life problems and bring about meaningful change for Canadians. By helping to facilitate collaboration between businesses, governments and partners, innovative solutions to road safety issues were brought to the forefront to help make Canadian roads safer for all.
Paul Fletcher, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Aviva Canada
The Take Back Our Roads initiative, had significant media attention and received the IMCA Showcase Best of Show Award in the External Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign category in 2020.
One of the big wins from the first cohort was the pilot with MicroTraffic. Together with Aviva, MicroTraffic launched a grant application program for Canadian cities to apply to, which would give them access to MicroTraffic’s technology. MicroTraffic uses video capture at intersections to detect near misses and provide recommendations on improving intersection safety. Five cities were selected to participate in the program and MicroTraffic implemented their technology with support from Aviva. This resulted in a 3-way win – a win for the municipalities, a win for MicroTraffic and a win for road users and Canadians.
In startups, things are often chaotic and not all the pieces are in place. Highline Beta truly helps to accelerate corporate deals for startups like MicroTraffic. Leaning on guidance from a large corporation with full structure and teams in place can have a transformative impact.Craig Milligan, Founder and CEO MicroTraffic