The essence of the term sustainable is that which can be maintained over time .This implies that any society or structure that is unsustainable cannot be maintained for long and will cease to function at some point.
From an environmental stance, the term refers to the potential longevity of vital human ecological support systems such as the planet’s climatic system ,systems of industry, forestry ,agriculture ,fisheries and human communities in general and the various systems on which they depend.
The basic definition of sustainability relates to society, economy and environment .The present day Nigeria transportation structure is far from the above expectations which leads us to highlighting the importance of a good sustainable transportation system which is pivotal to the growth and economy of any successful nation.
The importance of this topic and its ability to ensure continuity and longevity of our transport system is of extreme importance at this time especially because of the consistent decline of our transport infrastructures, lack of professionalism within the industry, use of obsolete technology systems, poor information system and lack of modern security systems to monitor and detect some of the inherent leakages and anomalies within the system. Fixing and plugging some of the leakages within the systems which cause us to lose billions of dollars annually has the potential to create massive employment opportunities and open up the nation ailing economy.
To achieve sustainable transportation requires knowledge of its effects on economy, environment and society. This present scenario indicates that transportation is unsustainable in Nigeria because of the excessive number of fatalities and injuries due to accidents on our roads, poor transportation infrastructure, lack of professionalism within the transportation sector, regular traffic congestion bordering on gridlock on our roads, high level insecurity in the nation, high pollution rate ,lack of proper maintenance of our transport facilities, ocean pollution due to oil spills and other major challenges been experienced in our nation.
Economy and transportation are two members of the same body that cannot be separated from each other. With proper planning, suitable foresight, discipline and determination we as a nation can collectively fix all the major challenges we are experiencing and increase the economic progress and sustainable future of generations yet unborn. The negative challenges of deep corruption we have been facing for decades has eaten deeply into the core nucleus of the economy, society and our present culture seems to abhor it. All these have impacted negatively on our image and reputation globally which contributes to the negative effects on our economy and reputation of our nation in the international community.
Transportation and its economic factors interact easily with each other. The transport sector is one of the most important component of the economy of any nation impacting on development and the welfare of populations. When transportation systems are efficient, they provide social and economic opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to markets, employment and additional investments. When transportation systems are incomplete in terms of capacity or reliability, they can have an economic cost such as decreased or missed opportunities. Efficient transportation reduces costs, while inefficient transportation increases costs. Transportation also carries an important social and environmental load, which cannot be neglected.
Thus, the economy of any nation has two impacts on transportation; direct, and indirect. Direct impacts relates to accessibility change where transport enables larger markets and enables costs savings, saves time and ensure safety. Indirect impacts relates to the economic multiplier effects where the price of commodities, goods or services drop or their variety increases. Business and trade also increases, there is improvement in agriculture, extension services and products, thereby causing increased transportation demand in the nation.
Efficiency of the transportation sector has effect on increasing productivity in the economic system of our nation, these two boost each other continuously.Investments in transportation sector has a big role of increasing the GDP of our nation, add value to the quality of life and living conditions of our People.
Since the transportation system was created to solve human needs ,its Performance should be strategic in order to meet the needs of the industry and our nation at large, so there should not be discrimination of who leads the transportation sector and its agencies in our nation, the best man qualified for the job should be given the opportunity in order for the sector to be sustained and perform its statutory function for which it was created.
Greater efforts should be made by this current administration to ensure professionalism, equity, fairness in appointing well experienced and seasoned professionals in transportation to all our transportation parastatals and its agencies in our nation.if the desire to explore the great opportunities in the transportation sector are genuine and we must also review some of the old policies because of the changes that has occurred over the past years ,we must also adapt and adjust our policies to be dynamic to blend with the current changes in our nation today.
Sustainable transportation refers to the broad subject of transport that is sustainable such that it impacts positively on social environment and climate improvement and encourages continuity of energy supply. Some of the components for evaluating sustainability include the type of vehicles used for road, water or air transport while the source of energy and the infrastructure used to accommodate the transport are good road network, railways, airways, canals and terminals.
Transport operations and logistics as well as transit oriented development are also involved in evaluating the strength and performance of the sustainable transport of any nation, it is also largely measured by transportation system effectiveness ,its efficiency as well as the environmental and climate impacts on its immediate society.
We all will agree that our nation lags behind in all the above mentioned areas because of our lack of determination, discipline resulting in inefficiencies in our transport system and therefore we summarize that the way forward,is for us to go back to the drawing board by highlighting all our grey areas and also organize a national transportation stakeholder forum which will address all our challenges within the industry, organize a brainstorming session and have a blueprint as a guide for a lasting solution to our nation’s transportation challenges.