Sometimes when one follows some events the Nigerian media throw attention to, you wonder how much value it breeds, in a country where many challenges will start tapering, if attention is thrown at them. A glaring example is the Lagos traffic problem, it is a very big one, but it is at best ignored, for solutions.
Please pause and wonder what Lagos traffic will look like in 3 – 5 years if things are left this way, with hopes still placed on more mass transit buses, rail transport and water transport. These ‘solutions’ will help, but the root of the problem will remain on most routes because the Lagos traffic problem has escalated beyond certain believed solutions.
Traffic in Lagos is seen as normal and most people schedule their movements with traffic in mind. Radio stations and the social media are helping to tell traffic on certain routes, during peak hours, giving an idea of what to expect or a lighter route to follow.
But the biggest amazement is that a problem as big as Lagos traffic, has no attention, no framework, and no outlook –publicly disclosed– for solution. Traffic is everywhere in Lagos and you just wonder, is it to be permanently endured or is there something that may happen someday to ease it everywhere.
The first solution to Lagos traffic and mostly ignored is the Press, the people privileged with being heard on a mass scale. The attention they can throw to potential solutions and how they can divert focus from stories of everything on the problem to elements of adoptable solutions will show their strength as part of the solution.
The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials are major solutions but still ignored. LASTMA officials are helpful to the situation, but need a reorganization that will see them contain the challenge quicker and better. More officials are needed on the team to see them split within distances on pikes during heavy traffic.
More officials will also have them split to alternative routes and help those on shifts work smartly, because recurrent overtime may lead to dawdling. LASTMA officials should be trained, not like the orientation they get on entry, or symposiums and forums held to charge them, but perennial training that consists of situations from the field and how best they should handle it.
LASTMA needs serious help, if it needs to meet the objective that lead to its establishing, and the Lagos government should have them as priority. Wooing the private sector to help may be necessary, but it is solely the responsibility of the Lagos Government because it will have an effect on commerce, hence IGR in the state.
Security checkpoints inducing traffic in Lagos are problems lying with an ignored solution. Vary your blocks, is a message constabularies should remember, once they notice that their block is a source of traffic during peak hours. Intelligence on their job can help them nab suspected criminals, without blocking the road, stifling the doings of traffic lights and wardens.
Giving priority to construction of alternative routes, deployment of more smart traffic technologies and involving more tools to punish traffic offenders are some of the ignored solutions for traffic in Lagos. Solutions to Lagos traffic are more and with all to table, the situation can be contained.
The Lagos state government may need a committee, for Lagos traffic solution, interested organizations may also hold a forum for Lagos traffic solution where everything will be assessed and direction on how to go will emerge. Nothing, beyond the power of Lagos state government can induce traffic – even in Apapa, if willing to fight it thoroughly. So it is with the government to look at ignored solutions and see how traffic will be eased.
By David Stephen, he blogs at www.trpns.com