Driving Nigeria’s public transport system with modern technology system
The transport sector is the “gateway” to the economy of any nation and it is a great challenge why the sector and its infrastructures rocks bottom in terms of development in Nigeria. A world bank indicator which promotes trading across borders measured the efficiency of different ports globally and ranked Nigerian Ports at 183 out of 185 countries in 2017.
Although different governments in the past made efforts through different interventions such as 2007 ports reforms led by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former minister of Finance and world bank managing director attempted to resolve some of the challenges, such as infrastructure shortcomings, policy and regulatory inconsistencies, overlapping functions and duplicated roles among the different MDA’S.
There is very slow progress in the sector despite all the efforts made, when compared to the inherent potentials in the sector and the fact that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa unlike most first world nations and mega cities globally who desires efficient public transportation systems driven with modern technology to accelerate the growth of the sector has added very minimal impact.
Intelligent transport system (ITS) is one of the fundamental structures smart nations and cities are using to improve the living conditions of their citizens, accelerate business activities and also achieve sustainability. Examples of ITS benefits includes tracking high pedestrian areas, traffic patterns, railway stations, planning, scheduling bus times, enhance interoperability, create alerts of transport situations that enables swift capacity to share information among the different platforms and transport modes.
This structure also offers a comprehensive approach to risk management, putting emergency procedures and response capabilities in place that identifies dangers, including vandalism or violence, fare evasion, and medical emergencies. The Nigerian public transport system is in urgent need of modern infrastructures such as ITS to achieve greater results that can add both direct and indirect investments opportunities to the economy of the nation.
Smart city transport technology helps nations and cities to function productively, while improving services for businesses and lives of the citizens. The technology has the ability to improve travel across traditional modes of transport such as cars, buses, trams, railways, maritime and air with immediate benefits for city dwellers and also helps enhance traffic safety such as dangerous weather conditions, heavy traffic and unsafe speeds which can result in accidents and loss of lives.
ITS real-time weather monitoring systems also helps correlate information such as wind speed, visibility, road conditions, rainfall, providing traffic control and information on current driving conditions. It also limits infrastructure damages such as impacts of heavy vehicles which burden road networks, especially if they are overloaded. Modern technology such as weight-in-motion systems also helps measure the size, type and weight of vehicles as they travel and transmits the collected data to a central server.
It helps in traffic control such as permitting traffic lights to react to changing traffic patterns, instead of working on a fixed schedule in traffic. Adaptive traffic light systems also use smart intersections that helps grant priority to certain vehicles such as public transit and emergency vehicles.
Nigeria is the most populated nation in Africa with over 200 million people, the sixth world’s largest oil producer and largest oil producer in Africa with proven oil and gas reserves of 37 billion barrels and 192 trillion cubic feet, over 300 square kilometres of arable land and significant deposits of largely untapped minerals, it is a national concern why these resources cannot be translated into development of the sector.
Additionally, ITS helps parking management such as illegal parking in hazardous city streets because conventional parking enforcement systems are not very effective and are cost effective. Smart parking violations systems helps scan parked vehicles and transmit information to the parking meter to document illegal parked vehicles and generates traffic data, for example electronic traffic counters records the type and number of vehicles accessing a road or visiting a specific area of a city and also measures peak traffic times, journey length and other data.
It is interesting to note that transport contribution to the nations GDP increased to $720.241 million in the third quarter of 2019 from $642.927 million in the second quarter of 2019 and contributed 2.49 percent to nominal GDP in Q1 2019, an increase from 1.85 percent recorded in the corresponding period of 2018 and higher than 2.05 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018, a confirmation that the sector has a lot more value to contribute to our economy, if properly managed and developed.
Smart city transport technology helps nations and cities to function productively, while improving services for businesses and lives of the citizens. The technology has the ability to improve travel across traditional modes of transport
Australia, Canada, China, Germany, France, UK and Ireland are examples of nations that have benefitted from the development and upgrade of their public transport sector through the use of modern technology system in driving greater efficiency and strongly believe that Nigeria adopt the same strategy to develop the sector.
A smart and efficient public transport system plays a very vital role in both the developed and developing economies because it serves to reduce reliance on private car-ownership by providing an affordable alternative mode of transport for commuters. The demand for public transport service indicates and measures the quality of the living conditions of that society and nation, it is therefore very important to understand the characteristics of the public transport demand of that society and to have a very good understanding of the nature of the public transport systems in order to plan and make demand forecasts which plays a fundamental role in monitoring the operations network and policy formulation.
ITS is very important to Nigeria’s transportation sector and requires trained personnel to drive its efficiency to greater height because the purpose of introducing it is to add value and at the same time reduce lead time across the sector, such as the regular traffic congestion in and around Apapa Port the hub of marine transport in Nigeria.
Another example worth mentioning is the huge investments made by past governments of Lagos State the most developed state in Nigeria that accounts for over 60 percent of industrial and commercial activities of Nigeria. The 2019 global liveability index by economist intelligence unit recently released, ranked the state as one of the least cities to live in globally out of 140 major cities analysed and has consistently rocked the bottom for the third year in a row because of poor infrastructures, instability, health care, environment and cultural challenges. Its general rating stood at 38.5 percent, -20 percent on stability, 37.5 percent on healthcare, 53.5 percent on environment, 33.3 percent on education and 46.4 percent on infrastructure.
Furthermore, intermodal transportation network system is the backbone of economic security and competitiveness of smart cities and nations, as well as ensuring structures are put in place to upgrade the quality of life of the citizens through facilitating the movement of people, goods, services which helps link communities and states to each other. It is also important to mention that the failures of past governments to hire experienced experts to help upgrade the sector especially in the areas of planning and implementation of policies and infrastructures are partly responsible for the poor level of the public transport sector, which is responsible for the low foreign direct and indirect investments opportunities in the sector.
The urgent need for federal government, state governments and various houses of assembly to organise a stakeholder conference to begin the process of addressing the challenges in the sector is very expedient in sponsoring bills that will facilitate the implementation of better policies to promote implementation of technology to drive the sector can be put in place to block all the revenue leakages in the sector, help upgrade the transport system and also activate the diverse potentials in the sector which will help create thousands of jobs opportunities, provide better network and accessibility across the different cities within the nation and a better living condition for Nigerians.