By Nkiruka Nnorom
Indications have emerged that Lagos State may be losing as much as N4 trillion annually to traffic congestion that has become the hallmark of the state.
This is contained in a report by a Lagos-based research institute, Danne Institute for Research entitled “Connectivity and Productivity Report”.
The loss, according to the Institute, was the culmination of an estimated 14.12 million hours lost by Lagosians while commuting to work on daily basis.
Professor Franca Ovadje, Founder/Executive Director, Danne Institute, presented the findings of the research at the virtual Transport and Traffic Conference organised by the institute.
Professor Ovadje explained that long commutes between where Lagosians live and work, among other factors, is a major cause of the unending traffic jams.
She also lamented that the growth of Lagos megacity is not leading to productivity increases due to the state’s connectivity issues.
Ovadje said: “We found that the cost to individuals of traffic congestion is N133,978.68 per annum for those who own their vehicles and N79,039.40 each year for those who use public transport.
“The total loss to Lagos is estimated at 14.12 million hours per day or N3.834 trillion per annum.”
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who was represented by the Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said Lagos was adopting a multi-pronged approach as the government is convinced that the state cannot spend its way out of congestion.
He explained that the strategy of the government is to modernise and maximise existing transport networks and implement the Lagos Transport Master Plan that proposes investment in a multimodal transport system like waterways and seven rail lines, and the development of the millionaire cities so that residents won’t have to go to the island to get well-paying jobs or do business.
On her part, the president of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, explained that Lagos is struggling to play a catch-up game because growth has outpaced planning for decades.
She suggested that the Lagos government agree on an operational framework with the Federal Government such that some federal assets, including roads and ports, could be controlled and managed by the state to reduce congestion.
Mr. Wale Adediran, President, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, alerted the public to the physical, mental and emotional effects of traffic congestion on the state working population.
He emphasised that law and order is at the heart of solutions to Lagos traffic problems.
Mr. Joseph Agunbiade, Cofounder of BudgIT was of the opinion that the government should prioritise data, innovation and disruption along with attracting massive private investment to close the transport infrastructure deficit.