How Lagos can solve its traffic problem – Survey

Traffic Gridlock in Lagos
Traffic Gridlock in Lagos

An upgrade of the infrastructure in the water transport sector to encourage commuters to patronise boats and ferries would help end the perennial traffic congestion in Lagos, a new survey has said.

The survey, conducted by the research firm, SBM Intelligence, stated that a focus on water transportation would also help drive down the cost of transportation.

“The public transportation in Lagos is not sustainable, the influx of cars and the expansion of roads is not a solution,” said Rosemary Enemuo, senior analyst at SBM.

“We need to work on creating cheap and affordable transport system so Lagosians can enjoy.”

Congested roads

The two-week-long survey, which was conducted in October last year, used Ikeja as the central hub and covered BRT buses (the blue buses), LAG buses (the red buses), and minibuses (Danfo) along major road routes such as Ikorodu, CMS, Epe, and Badagry.

It was carried out in a bid to gather information on travel times, peak transit periods, rates of journey, rate of incidents and accidents, affordability and comfort as well as the social impact of transport delays on Lagosians.

The team also added a water route from Ikorodu (Ebute) to Victoria Island through Falomo and CMS.

Routes were used for the survey, with Ikeja as the starting point: Ikeja – Ikorodu – Ikeja, Ikeja – Badagry – Ikeja, Ikeja – CMS – Ikeja, and Ikeja – Epe – Ikeja. Modes of transport used included yellow (Danfo) buses, BRT and LAG buses (the blue and red buses) ferries, tricycles, and cabs.

Trip times were calculated by adding actual travel time to wait time, trips/routes requiring multiple journeys/bus rides had higher waiting times and higher overall travel times.

The Ikeja – Badagry route experienced the most amount of recorded incidents (strictly traffic and vehicle issues), according to the survey, while the other routes recorded assorted issues in addition (tussles with law enforcement, touts) and isolated robberies along the Ikeja – Epe and Ikeja – Ikorodu routes.

The data was also used to benchmark Lagos to some similar cities around the world.

“Via land routes, there are no direct trips from Ikeja to distant parts of Lagos like Badagry, Epe, and Ikorodu. This could be attributed to the fact that Danfos are for short-haul trips. As such, the most number of trips was recorded for shorter distances- Ikeja – CMS,” the survey noted.

Global benchmarks

In order to benchmark appropriately, SBM selected three cities, one in Africa and two in Asia- which have similar population numbers as Lagos but have significantly higher population densities than Lagos and compared trip times and GDP loss due to commuting times.

According to the Lagos State Waterways Authority, 1.2 million people commute via the waterways monthly in Lagos, a hugely smaller number compared to road users. This is mostly due to existing jetties being either in a state of disrepair or experience underutilization.

Ms Enemuo urged the government to allow the private sector to be a part of the solution, especially in railway transportation.

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“The government should not be the one necessarily providing this public transport, they should allow private industries, they do better, especially as regards the trains. They don’t have to be the sole group of people providing this social services.”

Commuters’ headache

Lagos has one of the worst traffic gridlocks in the world. Every day, commuters spend hours on the road before arriving at their destination.

Ibrahim Adeyemi, a journalist, said in addition to the hours spent in traffic, the roads are also in a bad state.

“I have spent nine hours in traffic in Lagos,” said Mr Adeyemi, who works at the Apapa area.

“Lagos transport is getting worse, it is not getting better. I think the best solution is first for Nigerians to abide by traffic laws and for the Lagos State government should that there are duty agencies at certain places that will control traffic, so if there is any problem there will be an emergency that can be called to solve the problem immediately.

“When you get to traffic checkpoints you will discover things that are causing traffic could actually be avoided. I will subscribe to the report of SBM of providing more train stations. It’s also a way of solving the problem if the government can achieve that. It’s going to be a way of trying to subdue the traffic every day.”

Lydia Temilola, a trader, lamented how commercial bus drivers hike transport fares during gridlocks.

“I have spent three hours from Iyana Ipaja to Ikotun (a 13-kilometre distance) during the December period, to the extent that people were trekking to their various destinations. The government should provide more buses like BRTs, if it’s enough people will not depend on bus alone. This will also help motorists to reduce trip fares.”


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