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U.S. Consulate, stakeholders proffer solutions to Lagos gridlock

The perennial traffic congestion in Lagos State was the focus of discussion at the Lagos Transportation and Traffic webinar organised by the United States Consulate General in Lagos Tuesday. The virtual event, which drew stakeholders in the transportation industry, government officials, scholars, and media practitioners, was themed “The never-ending story, Lagos traffic congestion: What can be done? Will it be done? Setting the ball rolling, the U.S. ConsulGeneral, Ms. Claire Pierangelo, explained why Lagos as the economic hub of Nigeria, needed to find a solution totheperennialgridlockwitha view to enhancing growth and development. She said: “We believe this topic of Lagos traffic is very important due to its impact on economic development and daily quality of life.

Lagos is the economic capital of Nigeria and it is important that we tackle the transportation and traffic difficulties.” In his keynote speech, publisher of Business Day newspaper, Mr. Frank Aigbogun, bemoaned productivity loss due to gridlock in the state, adding that the private sector should demand for solutions from both the Federal and the state governments. Delivering keynote remarks, Director of Public Works in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ms. Robin Hutcheson, described how improvement in mass transportation had contributed to economic growth, a healthier environment and improved customer satisfaction.

Ms. Hutcheson, who is also the President of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Transportation Officials in the United States, explained that traffic congestion, principally due to automobile traffic would take a huge toll on the citizenry’s mental and physical health. According to her, cities with 21st century ambitions must provide residents with safe, accessible, efficient, and equitable transportation choices. Hutcheson suggested a model transportation action plan would include options such as sidewalks, bike lanes, ferries, buses, and light rail, among others, saying under any plan, the responsible agencies “must engage their communities, ask them what they want, understand the issues, identify the opportunities, and pursue funding and implementation together.”

To Engr. Abdulhafis Toriola, who represented Commissioner of Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, listed some plans the state government had been working on to manage its 21 million population in the little space available. “We have invested massively in mass transit, especially BRT lanes with a soon to be launched Oshodi to Abule-Egba route, invested massively in water transportation with purchase of more boats and working to transit the public transport sector from the unorganised model to an organised one.”

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