Intelligent transport systems: Its benefits to Nigeria’s public transport sector
Public transport refers to the means by which larger proportions of urban and rural dwellers gain physical access to goods, services and activities they need for their livelihoods and well-being. It includes a variety of transit options such as buses, light rail, and subways.
Despite Nigeria’s population estimated at almost 200 million, GDP $397.30 billion in 2018 and blessed with abundant natural resources including being the world’s sixth largest oil producer and largest 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 quite disheartening and a mystery why our nation still lacks modern transport infrastructures that can help boosts the living standard of our people.
Mega cities cannot fulfil their vision without providing new solutions for transportation within the cities and so needs intelligent transportation system (ITS) as a driving force to facilitate its initiatives that will help improve mobility and improve transport infrastructures.
ITS is one of the fundamental structures smart cities are using to improve the lives of its citizens and achieving sustainability. It includes tracking high pedestrian areas, traffic patterns, metro stations and coordinating bus times. It also enhances interoperability, general awareness of situations and has capacity to share information swiftly.
It also offers a comprehensive approach to risk management, putting emergency procedures and response capabilities in place, identifying dangers, including vandalism or violence, fare evasion, and medical emergencies. The Nigerian transport system is urgently in need of modern infrastructures such as ITS because it would continue to suffer both in direct and indirect investments opportunities, unless urgent steps are taken by this government to address the status quo.
Smart city transport technology helps cities to function productively, while improving services for businesses and lives of is citizens. This technology has the ability to improve travel across traditional modes of transport, such as cars and buses, with immediate benefits for city dwellers and also enhances traffic safety such as dangerous weather conditions, heavy traffic, and unsafe speeds which can result in accidents and loss of lives.
Real-time weather monitoring systems helps correlate information such as wind speed, visibility and road conditions, rainfall, providing traffic control and information on current driving conditions and 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 in this regard, helps measure the size, type and weight of vehicles as they travel and transmits the collected data to a central server.
Intelligent transportation systems help 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 use smart intersections that help grant priority to certain vehicles such as public transit and emergency vehicles.
It also helps parking management such as illegal parking in hazardous city streets because conventional parking enforcement systems are not very effective and are costly. Smart parking violations systems also help scan parked vehicles and transmit information to the parking meter to document illegally parked vehicles and helps in acquiring traffic data, for instance electronic traffic counters can record the type and number of vehicles accessing a road or visiting a specific area of a city and can also measure peak traffic times, journey length and other data.
An efficient transportation system plays a very vital role in both the developed and developing world economies because it serves to reduce reliance on private car-ownership by providing an affordable alternative for commuters. The demand for public transport service is a direct consequence of the quality of the living environment, household, community and social networks of the nation, therefore is very important to understand the characteristics of the public transport demand of that nation. It is also very important to have a very good understanding of the nature of the public transport systems in order to make demand forecasts which plays a fundamental role for quality planning, operations and policy formulation.
Intermodal transportation network system is the backbone of economic security and competitiveness of any society, as well as help in the quality of life of the society, because it helps facilitates the movement of people, goods and links communities and states to each other. The failure of past and present governments to improve transport infrastructures is partly responsible for the reduction of both direct and indirect investments opportunities in our nation.
Intelligent transportation systems is very important in our nation’s transportation sector and so would require 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 motor vehicle miles and traffic congestion which is a major challenge around Tin can island and Apapa Port.
It will interest you to note that despite the huge investments made by past governments of Lagos State the most developed state in Nigeria, 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, Lagos has consistently rocked the bottom for the third year in a row because of poor infrastructure, stability, health care, environment and culture. Its general rating stood at 38.5-20 percent on stability, 37.5 percent on healthcare, 53.5 percent on environment,33.3 percent on education and 46.4 percent on infrastructure.
The need for the federal government, state governments, houses of assembly to organise a national transportation workshop to begin the process of addressing the challenges in our nation’s transport sector is highly expedient and so bills that will facilitate the implementation of policies to promote intelligent transportation systems needs to be sponsored because of its potentials to create thousands of jobs for our citizens, provide farmers with better access to cities and a better living condition for Nigerians.