FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST FREE FLOW OF TRAFFIC IN METROPOLITAN LAGOS
The world today has continued to witness a tremendous geometric growth in human population, with a great influx of people migrating into the cities to settle in search of opportunities. This has increasingly put pressure on mobility which is key to development and constitutes the driving force of all human activities; economic, social or political (Oyesiku, 2002). The need for linking places, settlements and land uses creates a rising demand for transportation facilities for commuting people and distribution of goods and services, as well as an increase in the number of vehicles and road users.
Besides, there is no proportional increase in number of roads or transport routes to match the teeming populace. This results in exertion of more pressure on the existing transport channels beyond their designed capacity of use, leading to delay in traffic and traffic congestion. This has led to difficulty in navigating within and outside the city as it is typically seen in the mega-city of Lagos, which is reflected in the increasing bumper-to-bumper traffic delay experienced during the peak hours of 6.30 am – 11.30 am and 3.00 pm – 7.30 pm in the mornings and evenings respectively (Asiyanbola et al., 2012). Traffic delay is defined as a condition of traffic delay (i.e., when traffic flow is slowed below reasonable speeds) because the number of vehicles trying to use a road exceeds the design capacity of the traffic network to handle it. Downs (2004) defined traffic congestion as the situation when traffic is moving below the designed capacity of the roadway. Kombs (2008) maintains that the situation is usually caused by the rapid growth in motor vehicle use with less than corresponding improvement in the road network and related facilities, the poor structural pattern of roads especially in the traditional areas of cities and the unplanned growth and haphazard land-use distribution. Business and commercial distributions depend on urban transportation systems for the mobility of its customers, employees and suppliers. However, the poor urban transport scenery causes delays which leads to loss of man-hours. A man-hour is the total amount of work/labour performed by an average worNR in one hour, without taking into account breaks generally required such as for rest, eating or other bodily functions. Oni (2002) identified traffic problems as multi-dimensional and bewildering, highlighting the countless man-hours lost in traffic congestion and the wastefulness of human energy and motor fuel as factors that have a serious impact on the economic efficiency, productivity and social performance of the area. Effective transportation system is significantly important in sustaining economic growth in contemporary economies as it links different parts of the country and the global world (Eddington, 2006).The factors which contribute to the traffic problem include the poor geographical location of the city, coupled with inadequate and inefficient transport activities, irrational behaviour of drivers and acute growth in the level of car ownership. Other factors responsible for traffic congestion in Lagos mega-city and in Nigerian cities in general are: inadequate parking spaces, erratic public transport, over-reliance on road and indiscipline among the motorist (Adedimila, 2001; Oyesiku, 2002)
1.2 PROBLEM BACKGROUND
The study area is one of the major roads in Lagos State, being an inter-state Road, linking Lagos and Ogun states as well as other communities such as Agege, Ijaiye, Ipaja, Igando, Ikotun and Ikeja. Solving the challenge of traffic delay on this road appears challenging as the area keeps developing, thereby pulling more traffic to the area. This study focused on assessing the loss of man-hour experienced by drivers with a view to reducing road traffic delay within the study area.
1.3 RESEARCH PROBLEM STATEMENT
Road accidents disproportionately affect the poor, making road safety an economic development imperative. Most of the victims of road accidents are not even in motor vehicles. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders are most vulnerable road users and account for majority of traffic deaths in low and middle income countries. A good example is Lagos expressway where by pedestrians alone comprise almost 75 percent of road accidents fatalities and the pattern is not any different from other third world countries like Nigeria.
Road accidents are economic burden and pose a major challenge to health care system. The economic cost of road crashes and injuries is estimated at 1-1.5 percent of Gross National Product (GNP) for low and middle income countries. Critical and often scarce health care resources get consumed by road crashes cases. This hurts country’s ability to responds to other health needs. Road traffic injuries also place a heavy burden on household finances of the victims and their families. Many families are driven deeply into poverty by loss of a bread winner and the added burden of disabled members
Lagos-Abeokuta expressway was designed purposely to serve international heavy traffic goods, and it acted as a bypass in the past years but with the high rate of population growth in Lagos its function has increased more than five folds which have also compromised the objective of its role.
This is one road which experience a lot of high vehicular traffic resulting in unmoving traffic jam. This has resulted out of the fact that most heavy traffic vehicles that use it are moving at a slower pace and when added the usual danfos that applies this route and the private cars, hand carts, cyclists and pedestrian with no distinctive route to follow, there is definite traffic snarl-up. The mix of traffic modes together with the mix of local and through traffic with no special lanes normally result in total chaos. Lack of adherence to planning regulations which results in illegal allocation of road reserves to “well” connected individuals has aggravated the situation
1.4 RESEARCH GOAL
The main goal of the study is to investigate factors contributing to traffic problems on Lagos-Abeokuta expressway
1.5 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
- Examine the traffic conditions on Lagos-Abeokuta expressway
- To analyse relevant factors which affect smooth flow of traffic on Lagos-Abeokuta expressway
- To propose appropriate planning interventions to improve transport situation on Lagos-Abeokuta expressway
1.6 RESEARCH ASSUMPTIONS
An international Trunk Road in normal circumstances is a class A type road, which is wide and stable enough to withstand the weight of heavy trucks that are destined to international countries that are across the border. In Width it should be a bout 12m and properly served with special lanes for ambulance, police and other emergencies. Pedestrian paths and cyclist ways are also suppose to be provided to avoid modal conflict which is currently experienced along this road. Proper planning of this international trunk road will not only reduce the number of accidents and traffic snarl-up along this road but will also save people prime economic time, wastage of fuel, pollution and most importantly enables the country to keep pace with other rapidly developing countries a cross the globe.
A hypothesis is an empirically testable statement about a relationship involving two or more variables. The study is based on the following research hypothesis;
The current Lagos-Abeokuta expressway do not have the capacity to play its effective role as it supposed to be and this has compromised a lot of other activities
Given that majority of transportation in Lagos, Nigeria, and the neighbouring states are through road therefore there is every need to plan for crucial roads which plays the interlinking role such as Lagos-Abeokuta expressway in order to ensure that development in the country and the neighbouring states is sustainable.
There is also the need for an integrated transportation plan, which will ensure co-existence between motorized and non-motorized transport uses andusers.