Case study: How MicroTraffic leveraged Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator to launch a national road safety pilot

Earlier this year, Highline Beta and Aviva Canada announced the startup cohort for the Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator, a milestone-driven program focused on improving road safety. And today, we’re excited to share one of the successful pilots that was recently launched.

Winnipeg-based startup MicroTraffic, one of the startups in the inaugural cohort, has officially launched a grant application program with support from Aviva Canada to help Canadian cities improve road safety. 

Background

MicroTraffic is one of the startups that joined the first Safe x Connected Cities cohort. This Winnipeg-based startup is using Artificial Intelligence to look at near-miss traffic collisions and then proactively, rather than reactively, help reduce traffic fatalities and make roads — and dangerous intersections — safer.

Aviva Canada always believed in the ability for MicroTraffic’s technology to improve road safety–but the challenge was identifying the right pilot for both organizations to work together and make a difference. MicroTraffic generally sells direct to cities — not insurance companies. The program, designed by Highline Beta, focused both sides on identifying a potential pilot, which Aviva Canada could fund and support, and MicroTraffic could execute — while helping cities reduce collisions. The key to a great corporate-startup collaboration is identifying the right combination of assets that both sides can bring to the table, maintaining reasonable scope, and setting clear objectives for measurable results.

The key to a great corporate-startup collaboration is identifying the right combination of assets that both sides can bring to the table, maintaining reasonable scope, and setting clear objectives for measurable results.

How the MicroTraffic grant program works

In August, MicroTraffic announced a new grant program, available to Canadian cities with a population of over 100,000. Aviva and MicroTraffic are working together to offer these grants to government agencies, in order to improve road safety in dangerous intersections. 

The grant program will help make MicroTraffic’s technology more accessible to cities across Canada — and have a potentially transformative, positive impact on road safety. To date, 35 governments have programmed more than $200 million of road safety improvements using MicroTraffic’s diagnostic technology through pilots. In many cases, near-misses were completely eliminated. 

“By giving traffic engineers proactive information based on serious near-misses, we can tell them where and how the next fatalities are likely to happen so they can intervene,” said Craig Milligan, CEO and co-founder of MicroTraffic in his recent interview with CTV News. “This really is a game changer for cities so we’re encouraging all municipalities and provincial road authority departments to apply so we can work with them to make their local roads safer.”

MicroTraffic’s intersection safety analysis will be shared with municipal, regional and provincial government departments with responsibility for intersection and road safety. It’s a cost sharing model: participating cities are expected to pay just 25 per cent of the total cost, making MicroTraffic’s technology more accessible for cities, with Aviva Canada funding the remaining 75 per cent. In cases where local governments decide to use MicroTraffic’s analysis and recommendations and make the changes to the busy intersections to improve intersection safety, Aviva Canada will cover 100 per cent of the funding and enable MicroTraffic follow-up analysis to assess the intersections’ safety once more, helping cities measure the effectiveness of changes.

The triple win

This is a triple win: MicroTraffic gets to work with more cities, helping them achieve Vision Zero. Cities get to leverage MicroTraffic’s cutting-edge AI technology through a highly-attractive grant model, which lowers costs and mitigates risks, and makes roads safer. Through the partnership with MicroTraffic, Aviva Canada gets to tangibly impact road safety in cities across Canada — an effort that has long been at the core of their CSR model and “Take Back Our Roads” platform. 

The Safe x Connected Cities program is designed to bring everyone together for a common goal. It’s a systematic, designed approach to corporate-startup partnership that’s proven effective, as is clear in this case with MicroTraffic and their grant program.

Hear it from the founder!

Craig Milligan, CEO and co-founder of MicroTraffic spoke with us about his experience with the Safe x Connected City Accelerator. Here’s what he had to say:

“We wanted to learn from Aviva and Highline Beta mentors, while figuring out ways we could combine our expertise to make a bigger impact for road safety together. The mentorship has been fantastic. Highline Beta is a VC fund and venture studio, and they also work to accelerate corporate deals. Our time in the accelerator coincided with launching work on our raise, and Marcus Daniels, CEO and Founding Partner at Highline Beta has been a huge support, providing guidance and VC perspective to us. Aviva’s data science and marketing teams also taught us a lot. After the mentorship, I would say that relationships with the cohort companies were the next most important outcomes. We met some cool people working in similar spaces, and these people will be connections for life. Finally, we successfully launched a collaboration with Aviva that will make major safety improvements to 50 intersections in Canada.” 

If corporate partnerships might make sense for your startup, I think you should apply to a Highline Beta program, because everything will be facilitated and supported 100% of the way. 

Craig Milligan, CEO and co-founder of MicroTraffic

“I would 100% recommend the Safe x Connected Cities program. As a startup, we have been fortunate to catch the attention of a few large corporations, interested to partner with us. We have tried navigating some of these on our own, and it is super hard. But launching our collaboration with Aviva was way smoother and faster, because it was within the scope of the Highline Beta program with Aviva Canada,” added Milligan.  

Quick facts

  • Approximately 156,000 people are injured or killed on Canadian roads each year
  • Auto collisions, including those with pedestrians and cyclists, are the leading cause of pediatric injury and death globally
  • MicroTraffic’s data shows 75% of fatalities occur at locations where fatalities have not previously occurred
  • Some cities using MicroTraffic’s diagnostic data have seen near misses in select intersections reduced from 15 to zero per day after implementing recommended improvements.  

In the News 

As a result of MicroTraffic’s grant partnership program with Aviva Canada, there was a steady stream of media interest and coverage: CTV News in particular did an amazing job highlighting what MicroTraffic is trying to do. The CEO of MicroTraffic, Craig Milligan, who founded the company after years of working as a road safety engineer, is now fielding more media interest from CBC, Toronto Star, as well as local media outlets that take the time to do unique local stories, such as Livewire Calgary.

About Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator 

Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator is a challenge-based platform to help grow startups with a proven ability to tackle road safety, mobility and smart city challenges. Besides MicroTraffic, the other two startups selected for the inaugural program include:

  • Life Apps LLC: Fleet safety mobile software that measures and reduces distracted driving for commercial fleet operators
  • PreAct Technologies: Integrates directly with cars to determine whether a collision is imminent in the microseconds before it happens, deploying a sequence of safety features to reduce the chance of serious injury

For more information on MicroTraffic grant, please read the official announcement here. We’re now preparing to launch the second edition of the Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator. Keep an eye out here for more information. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the program or how we run pilot program accelerators to support successful corporate-startup partnerships, please reach out.