Lagos Govt. Deploys Technology for Efficient, Effective Transportation

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The Lagos State government is deploying technology to integrate road, rail and water modes of transportation to make movement of people, goods and services across the state effective and efficient.

The three modes of transportation, road, rail and water, are to be synchronised to make movement fluid to save time and money, according to the Commissioner for Transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, who presented the two-year scorecard of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the state’s transportation sector, recently.

To achieve this, he said the administration set out to complete existing projects such as the rail ‘blue and red lines’, which is part of the inter-modal transportation system the government set out in the strategic transport master-plan.

Stipulated in this master plan is the construction of six rails and a mono rail, 40 BRT and over 20 motor routes to move people seamlessly from one point to another and to improve connectivity and access to the network, he said.

To ensure effective control of traffic, he said the governor signed an executive order in 2019 that extended the work hours of LASTMA to 11 PM and that over 1,000 officials were recruited, their allowance increased to encourage them.

“More importantly, we procured 500 communication gadgets so that we can improve communication among these officials. Also, tow trucks were added to the infrastructure that they require so that they can remove broken down vehicles before they cause congestion of traffic,” he said.

In addition to these, the government addressed 60 gridlock points on the state’s roads, adding that 28 of them have been completed. Twenty two and still be worked on because they need enforcement, stating that three of them are at concept stage.

He listed such junctions as Maryland., Allen Avenue, Ikotun, Lekki first and second roundabouts, Abraham Adesanya, Pen Cinema, Apongbon and Eko bridges Others are; Sandfill junction, Oniru, Four Points Sheraton junction, Akin Bolade junction, Muri Okunlola roundabout, and Ligali Ayorinde, among others.

A lot, he said has been achieved in the e-hailing business, stating that they got the buy-in of key stakeholders. “Five e-hailing companies have been registered and for safety, all of these companies are to bring their comprehensive insurance cover for all their vehicles. It will cover the drivers and the passengers. They will also have cameras.”

He said the government also has a bus reform to match the large number of people in Lagos. “Of the 24 million trips that we deal with in Lagos, about 15 million of them are public transport trips, and this is set to grow in the next 10 years and will continue to increase.”

On account of this, the government decided to modify the existing small bus system in collaboration with the key stakeholders, emphasising that “we are not taking out danfo drivers as people have reported in the past, we are reforming them into the new system. So, they form a cooperative and they have a road franchised to them and then we can regulate them properly.”

This reform, he said would provide reliable bus service, to formalise the operation so that we can hold any operator responsible if they violate the traffic laws, to improve connectivity.

“When we embarked on this bus reform, there were 824 routes in Lagos that were very inefficient and we have been able to rationalise them to about 400 routes. Every operator is assigned to a route that will be monitored and they have to meet certain parameters that we set for them.

“Most importantly, it will enhance city life as we begin to connect various parts of Lagos, environmental pollution will be cut down. We are going to bring high-capacity buses. For example, one high-capacity bus is equivalent to five danfos. When you take out five danfos and you bring in one high-capacity but, it will reduce emissions. Also, it will improve safety and security because a lot of these buses will have camera and we will be able to track them. So, drivers cannot vie off their routes.”

He said the most important of them all is the consolidation of duplicated motor parks, explaining that Ikeja, for instance, has 14 motor parks, which is very confusing, especially if you don’t know your way around Lagos. “So, if we have a consolidated bus terminal where 24 routes can emanate from, then it becomes very easy for me to describe to you that it is the place to get a bus to your destination.”

He said there would be three categories of buses, the BRT that will ply the more busy routes, then the connectors or feeder routes where Lagos bus services will be plying to bring people to the BRT and to the rail when they come on board. Then, there is the First and Last man buses that will take people from their communities where they live to the connectors/feeder routes and then to the BRT.

According to Dr. Oladeinde, the government produced close to 300,000 vehicle plate numbers in 2020 for use by motorists and that it did lane-marking on over a hundred kilometres of road to encourage lane discipline. “We have also completed 420 kilometres of kerb painting to enable people recognize where they are and to increase visibility, especially at night and during the raining season.”

The government, he said has also produced special plate numbers for articulated vehicles to enable it track them. These are three number plates mounted in front, rear and on top of the vehicle.

There is also a temporary vehicle tag for people who are yet to register their vehicles within the stipulated 30 days. These people can get the tag that is registered in their name. “This is important to improve safety on our roads.”

The commissioner said the rail line would begin from Agbado, extending to Oyingbo but that it would share the rail line from Iddo to Ibadan that was built by the federal government. An agreement to this was signed recently, according to him. There are eight stations along the route – Agbado, Iju, Agege, Oshodi, Mushin, Ikeja, Yaba and Oyingbo. The rail is expected to ferry over 500,000 people daily in addition to cutting travel time from two hours to 40 minutes. He said they are shutting down level crossing and putting over-passes in place.

This rail and road modes, he said would be connected to water transportation, which was the drawback in the past, because people had to wait long hours to connect to the next mode of transportation, he said.

“One of the drawbacks we had with water transportation was that it was not connected. So, each time you go to a terminal and want to travel to another terminal it could take you an hour before you find a connecting mode to take you to your final destination. We are working with Lagos Bus Services Limited to ensure that every bus terminal is connected.”