On Tuesday, the United States Consulate General convened the Lagos Transportation and Traffic Webinar with the theme “The Never-ending Story, Traffic Congestion in Lagos: What Can Be Done? Will it Be Done?”
The online program brought together Lagos State transportation and traffic management officials, business and civic leaders, diplomats, members of academia, and media executives.
In her welcome remarks, U.S. Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, highlighted the imperatives of reducing the chronic traffic congestion in Lagos while facilitating economic growth and development.
“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,” Pierangelo said.
Delivering keynote remarks, the Director of Public Works in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ms Robin Hutcheson, described how improvements in mass transportation directly contribute to economic growth, a healthier environment, and improved customer satisfaction.
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, can 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 that a model transportation action plan could include options such as sidewalks, bike lanes, ferries, buses, and light rail, among others.
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,” Hutcheson said.
The webinar also featured the Publisher of Business Day, Mr Frank Aigbogun; Lagos State Director of Transportation Operations, Engineer AbdulAfeez Toriola; Professor of Transport Management at the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Dr Innocent Ogwude; and Managing Director, XFA Advisory, Ms Tola Odeyemi.
Mr Aigbogun shared a riveting personal account of his experiences with the negative consequences of the perpetual traffic difficulties in Lagos.
The other speakers reinforced the contention that the development and maintenance of viable transportation solutions are an unmistakable requirement in a megalopolis that serves as the economic engine of the country.