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Lagos battles traffic in a unique way




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By Olamide Udoma

Lagos is an unplanned, constantly expanding city, which will, in years to come, engulf neighboring towns. One of the biggest challenges confronting residents in Lagos is traffic and it is a problem that has plagued the city for years. Due to its large population, an inadequate public transport system and dilapidated roads, the roads are congested with motorised vehicular traffic.

The geography of the city doesn’t help either. The commercial centre is a combination of Victoria Island, Ikoyi, and Lagos Island, where the majority of the population congregates, between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. The traffic patterns are simple; between 6am and 8am, thousands of motorised vehicles  move from the north, west, and east of Lagos to the commercial centre (5km² of Lagos’s total, 999.6km²),  and between 5pm (not 6pm, due to the need to beat the traffic) and 9pm, motorised vehicles move back out to the residential areas, which can be as far as the neighboring state, Ogun State. Lagosians who make this commute daily spend at least 4 hours a day seated and travelling in vehicles. This can be described as wasted man-hours.

My view on the Ministry of Transport’s inadequacy to implement and manage sufficient public transport for the 18 million residents in Lagos does not extend to their management of traffic. In keeping with the saying ‘ give honour to whom honour is due’, the Lagos State Ministry of Transport have implemented some unique and commendable ways to manage the colossal problem of traffic. The video below says it all.

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Olamide Udoma is a researcher, writer and filmmaker holding degrees in BSc Architecture, MA Design and MPhil Infrastructure Management. Olamide has worked in London, South Africa and Nigeria with various organisations focusing on transport management, slum upgrading and housing rights in urbanising African cities. At Our Future Cities NPO, she is the Lagos manager and editor.