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LASTMA and the deployment of modern technology in traffic management

LASTMA and the deployment of modern technology in traffic management

It takes conviction, strong will and determination to achieve any dream in life. Sometimes the dream or vision one has may be tested in different ways in order to ascertain how sustainable or durable it would be. Having a vision or dream of a project and going all out to achieve it are twin missions. Anyone who achieves these two could indeed be called a great goal getter.

Above describes the goal-getting spirit of His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the then Governor of Lagos State (1999-2007) and now the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, when he established the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) specifically on July 15, 2000. First, he dreamed big about the economic consequences of the traffic situation in major parts of Lagos and secondly, defying all odds, he created an Authority that would be in charge of traffic management and control.

Those who had thought the Agency wouldn’t stand the test of time when it was created 23 years ago have all been disappointed given the growth LASTMA has witnessed between then and now. The quantum leap in traffic management in Lagos has brought a high degree of sanity, compliance, orderliness and reduction in accidents on our roads today.

It is also important to state that LASTMA enforces traffic laws by ensuring compliance of motorists with the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law (2018) as amended. The enforcement is usually preceded by an enlightenment and sensitization campaign on traffic rules and regulation at all quarters. LASTMA personnel carry out their duties in line with the Mission Statement of LASTMA: To promote a state-wide culture of traffic regulation, control, and management, as well as to ensure smooth traffic flow on Lagos roads.

What has really changed about the activities of LASTMA between the year 2000 and now? This question cannot be answered in just one sentence as many developments, which manifest as growth, expansion and deployment of technology into traffic management have taken place. Some of these changes are discussed as follows.

LASTMA has expanded in operations and this led to the creation of more units and departments for effective traffic management in the State. Guided by the operations of the Agency are 4 E’s of traffic arrangements which reflect the core duties of LASTMA. The first ‘E’ stands for Traffic Engineering and it explains the road design or construction and how the roads are to be used.

The next ‘E’ stands for Traffic Education/ Enlightenment as this explains road signs, traffic rules and regulation. Traffic Enforcement is what the third E denotes. This explains why traffic law breakers are made to face the full consequence of their actions. The last E means Traffic Evaluation which gives room for assessment of LASTMA’s activities for the purpose of feedback.

Another visible change clearly noticed by many is the extra hours of work input by LASTMA personnel as they now run three shifts which are morning, afternoon and then the night shifts peculiar to the rescue unit of the Authority.

On a regular basis, officials of LASTMA are being trained on various capacity building programs to effectively and efficiently carry out their primary responsibility on the road in line with international best practices.

Another change which has taken place in LASTMA being explained here would be incomplete without making reference to the Lagos State School Traffic Safety Advocacy Programme tagged “Operation Catch Them Young”. The programme, which was established years ago, has now been revamped with weekly visits to some private and public secondary schools to educate students on traffic rules and regulations including road safety. School students also come on excursion visits to LASTMA headquarters for first-hand enlightenment on traffic rules and regulations.

The introduction of new modern technology in traffic management and control in Lagos State has brought significant change in the manner of operation of LASTMA personnel. The State Government has equipped LASTMA officers with new Traffic Management Solution (TMS) handheld cameras in order to capture real time traffic offences.

The TMS handheld camera is designed such that it captures traffic infractions from a distance and at real time with video evidence. Once you contravene any section of the Lagos State Traffic Sector Reform Law (2018) as amended, and you are being captured with this TMS camera, you will receive a notification containing a link on your mobile phone informing you of the fine, date and area where infraction is committed.

The notification would also contain video evidence of the violator’s car including the vehicle registration number. The offender has two options, that is, to either make fine payment or challenge the video. The payment options can be done via mobile app, website or bank channels. While the challenge options include mobile app, website or mobile court. The failure to pay due fines will result in denial of vehicle particulars renewal until all outstanding fines are cleared.

Read also: LASTMA, the mobile courts and a revenue generation mandate

In view of the above, motorists are urged to strictly adhere to traffic rules and regulations at all times to avoid being penalized. The use of TMS cameras by LASTMA officials on the road has a positive impact on traffic management in Lagos. The importance of these TMS cameras cannot be overemphasized.

It has increased the level of voluntary compliance with the State Traffic Laws, orderliness on the roads, reduction of road accidents, safety of road users and enhancement of transparency in general operations. Also, the use of TMS cameras helps to discourage physical contact between LASTMA officers and traffic violators because video evidence is captured from a distance.

In addition, this TMS camera has significantly been assisting in traffic management in Lagos as its use is aimed at scientifically addressing indiscipline among unruly motorists. At 23, it can only get better for LASTMA as the Authority continues to grow in leaps and bounds for effective and efficient service delivery to all motoring public in Lagos State.

Taofiq, director of Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, writes via [email protected]