Developing nations seeking to develop their economies must as a matter of urgency give priority to the transportation sector.
The call for advanced 21st century networks of roads, airports, maritime space, train routes and land transportation networks is important in cities, towns, small communities and the rural areas in such environment.
Investments in transportation infrastructure is surging globally and the need for Nigeria to begin to look inwards in investing a sizeable part of its resources in the development of modern transportation systems and structures are essential to drive the economy of our nation upwards as well as upgrade and extend the life of the old structure.
Global economies today are driven by digitization and fast moving technological innovations, which in turn drives new and modern systems of transport for goods, services and people. In both urban and rural communities around the world ,the challenge of moving people and cargo efficiently, safely and sustainably while providing transportation for all segments of society and not just for the rich elite or top government officials alone, remains a challenge which demands new solution in our increasingly globalized ,urbanized , and environmentally compromised society.
Long established theories and procedures of transport planning and policy makers must evolve rapidly if they are to help sort out our ever more complex transportation infrastructures. We need to embrace new and modern technological methods if we hope to build and operate a better transport system that can deliver these goals we desire.
Also transportation planners and policy makers in Nigeria must accept the fact that a large number of the our nation’s transport systems cannot meet the needs of our rapidly growing population and many passengers expectations in terms of safety, security, ETA ,ETD.
Government and its agencies need to urgently call for stakeholders and experts brainstorming sessions on the way forward. They need to find urgent ways to attract more private and public investors into the sector. Investors also need to jettison old and traditional approaches to cost benefit analysis, so that the investments can capture as many of the different positive impacts of transport as possible and it must be done in such a way that balances with high standards and quality.
If transportation planners and policy makers can successfully address these challenges, they would have succeeded in adding a major value in our quest of improving the lives of our citizens in different communities large, small, central or remote, while at the same time protecting nature and making it possible to deliver the benefits of economic buoyancy in a sustainable and inclusive way.
When embarking on transport planning for even the simplest form of transportation, the need to lay out a proposed route for bicycles in a city, town or rural neighbourhood for instance presents diverse challenges. When you scale it up to the city or regional level ,the complexities and challenges involved increases widely ,especially at a time when the megatrends of urbanization, social and economic challenges, climate change, poor power systems, youth and communities unrest, security challenges which bear heavily on the success of even the best laid transport plans.
Generally, transportation remains the one industry that keeps all other elements as well as the entire system in constant motion and it is very difficult to conceive of a situation where transportation does not play a major role in the life of any nation or society.
Economically transportation provides and enhances the space, time, quality and utility of goods. Socially transportation facilitates the formation of a wider variety of spatial patterns of human activities .In addition, transport promotes national unity, socio –economic integration, stimulating the sense of oneness and mutual understanding in a culturally diversified society like Nigeria.
Transportation therefore occupies a very strategic position in modern day life and is often described as that part of economic activity that is concerned with increasing human satisfaction by changing the geographical position of goods, people and services. It is the hub upon which all other activities are spatially arranged.
The Nigerian government, its agencies in the transport sector, private sector, consultants and professionals within the transport industry must rise up by harnessing ways to develop social, economic, financial and environmental resources that meets the need of the present scenario without compromising the potential of future generations to meet their own needs.
My advice and recommendations to the Nigerian government of today, is that no nation, state or local government should embark on a transport planning effort without a guiding principle that takes into consideration the impacts it has against the future generation and for sustainable development. For economic transformation to increase, there is need for deliberate assemblage of all sectors of the economy and natural resources together.
Transportation cannot exist in isolation on its own, hence there is need for other sectors to contribute to the GDP of the nation .In ensuring that economic development of the country is pursued and achieved through collaborative approaches , transportation as the GATEWAY of the economy of our nation cannot stand on its own and translate into economic development ,therefore the government needs to reposition the economy in such a way that priority is given to the key drivers of the economy such transportation, education, technology, communication, power, security, mineral and natural resources for us to experience an accelerated growth and economic prosperity.