A paradigm shift in Lagos State Traffic planning

Written by on March 14, 2019

The start of train movements and waterways coverage, among others, on Lagos Traffic Radio last week may have set a paradigm shift in traffic planning that may help resolve gridlocks, writes ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE

The addition  of waterways and train movements reporting by Nigeria’s premier traffic radio station, Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1, established by the Lagos State Government, may have set a new tone in managing traffic patterns and movement advisory in and around Lagos, the nation’s economic nerve centre.

Lagos State, with its 26.6 million people, is Africa’s fifth largest economy. Traffic gridlock on its roads, caused by over- concentration on vehicular movement for goods and passengers have thrown up the need to deploy technology and information in managing the traffic pattern.

According to experts, road advisory by the radio station is meant to provide real time information on traffic situation to Lagosians and over the last seven years, virtually all residents of the state have had to rely almost exclusively on the state’s traffic radio.

A resident, Akintayo Thomas, said only Google Map, an advisory platform, presently beats Traffic Radio in terms of timely information to road users, commuters and motorists about traffic situations, which in recent times, have become a nightmare to many residents.

The station’s General Manager, Mr Tayo Akanle, said Traffic radio started seven years ago, with traffic coverage across the five divisions of the state.

He said the station started broadcasting simultaneously in Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe, in 2011, adding that having won the hearts of Lagosians on vehicular transportation, extending its reach to the waterways, train and shipping advisory, seven years after its establishment, is to consolidate on its status as the pioneer in this specialised mode of radio broadcasting.

Giving insight into how the new journey began, Akanle, who resumed at the station in September, last year, said after reviewing the station’s mandate, which clearly stipulated the coverage of all modes of transportation–road (vehicular, train), waterways and air, decided to extend its coverage to the other modes to further extend its coverage and “to offer our listeners a higher value for their time”.

Coming, as the government is tinkering with transportation policy for the state, which among others recommended sensitisation and aggressive enlightenment operations, the radio may be pioneering the idea of using data and feedbacks to manage traffic patterns and gridlock across the state.

At various fora, stakeholders have argued on the need for the government to take over the transportation industry from charlatans that populates its helms.

Giving an insight into the origin of the journey, Akanle said: “After conceiving the idea, we invited the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA). We deliberated on how we can begin to create that awareness. We came up with the first step to train water guards and we trained water guard supervisors from 24 jetties and five terminals.”

The training was to provide basic communication skills for those guards, who in turn are to provide basic information on movements on the waterways with boats and ferries that are privately owned, but regulated by LASWA.

“After the training, we commenced the broadcasting with letting the water guards provide us with basic information, such as the number of boats or ferries available at a particular jetty, their destinations, their safety preparedness against hazards, and awareness creation to the waterways as a faster alternative of commuting.

“All these information are being provided on all the jetties in Lagos State, so you can imagine that a boat from Ikorodu to Ebute Ero can spend between 15 to 20 minutes, whereas opting for road transportation may cost you between two to three hours. By creating the awareness it would help reduce vehicular movements or decongest our roads, and enhance their productivity. The operation started on February 25, they have started doing it the way we wanted them to do it,” Akanle said.

He continued: “From 6am to 8am, the water guards would call into our station live, and report traffic activities on boats that are ready to move to different locations. For instance, from Ikorodu, boats move to Falomo, Apapa, Ebute Ero, CMS and Ajah, all from one location at Ipakodo Jetty. In Ikorodu, we have Ipakodo, Baiyeku, and Offin jetties. So, moving from that part of Lagos to other parts is now being covered live. And the feedback is that with enhanced travel time, productivity has improved from patrons as they can now achieve more than they could hitherto do.”

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