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Better traffic behaviour can save Lagos N4trn yearly – Report

Lagos roads

Achieving better traffic behaviour in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial hub centre, where a commuter spends an average of two hours to get to work each day, will save the state an estimated sum of N4 trillion being lost to traffic congestion yearly.

A report, tagged ‘Behavioural Causes of Traffic Congestion in Lagos’, by the Danne Institute for Research,revealed that having a good traffic situation in the state will save time and energy, which in turn would boost employees’ productivity.

Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday at the presentation of the report, which was funded by the Bank of Industry and Africa Finance Corporation, Franca Ovadje, executive director of Danne Institute for Research, said connectivity is very important for productivity because spending less time on traffic would create time for work and also reduce stress as well as health risk.
Ovadje said despite having a population of 21 million, Lagos is not seeing corresponding productivity due to poor connectivity that kills man-hours of traffic jams experienced by residents in the state.

According to her, Lagos should be getting high productivity because a report states that if the population doubles in developing countries, productivity should grow by 5 to 6 percent.

She said: “Interestingly, 35 percent of our respondents said their number one challenge in living and working in Lagos is the traffic congestion. We also found that the top three main causes of traffic congestion in Lagos are behavioural. These include bad road infrastructure, disregard for traffic laws, activities of agberos at the bus stops, and buses picking passengers.

“We also asked the respondents the three things they would do if they were Governor of Lagos State to solve the traffic problem, they said they would construct, repair and maintain roads; ban agberos from the road and enforce traffic laws.”

While calling on the state governor, commissioners of transport, and physical and urban planning to look at the views and recommendations of the respondents in the report, she said Lagos will make a lot of internally generated revenue from enforcing traffic laws in the state.

She said finding solutions to the traffic situation in Lagos should be on the front burner to enable the residents to tap from the opportunities in the state and attract investments.

Read also Lagos infrastructure spending fails to reach the poorest – AFDB

“Lagos is losing a lot of talents to japa syndrome and is due to traffic frustration in the state; if this continues, there would be nobody left to turn the state’s economy around,” she said.

Earlier, Fola Fagbule, head of financial advisory at Africa Finance Corporation, said the corporation was happy to support the tremendous work done in the report, and hopes it serves as a guide to policy-making for the good of the state.

On his part, Ayodele Ositimehim, director of traffic management and survey for Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), said louts, popularly known as ‘agberos’, have no business being on the roads, but can go into parks to collect money.

He said stopping vehicles on the roads to collect money causes obstruction to vehicular movement.

Read also: Nigeria, others account for 81% gig economy online traffic — World Bank

Akin-George Fashola, head of the directorate at Vehicle Inspection Service, said the Lagos State Government is concluding works on the Lekki Coastal Road Construction, which would soon be completed to support the operations of Lekki Deep Seaport and Dangote Refinery.

Meanwhile, the report revealed that Lagosians spend an average of 2.21 hours on the road to get to work each day while 45 percent of the respondents spend more than two hours to get to work. The worst hit are people who live in the Ajah, Eti-Osa, and Apapa areas of Lagos compared to those who commute from Surulere and Yaba.
It however suggested that the state government needs to construct, repair, and maintain roads to prevent traffic jams. It said that road construction and repairs should be done at night and alternative roads created during the construction period.

It also enjoined the government to enforce traffic laws as the third most important solution, even as it said that enforcing traffic laws requires political will on the part of the government.

The report said: “There is a need for strict penalties and more LASTMA officials should be employed to manage traffic more effectively, more policemen deployed and even soldiers deployed to the roads.

“For Lagos to become a livable city of civilised people, restoring discipline and sanity to Lagos roads is imperative. A massive campaign should be initiated against the touts who harass commuters, and sellers on the roadside. It is also important to discipline the disciplinarian, especially the traffic wardens and policemen that collect bribes.”