US consul tasks Lagos govt on addressing traffic congestion

The United States Consul General in Lagos, Claire Pierangelo has called on the Lagos State government to proffer long-lasting solutions to difficulties associated with the traffic situation in the state.

The Consul General made this known during the Lagos transportation and traffic webinar organised by the United States Consulate, themed “The Never-ending Story, Traffic Congestion in Lagos: What Can Be Done? Will it Be Done?”

Pierangelo noted that progress with the traffic situation in Lagos is dependent on the continuous discussion of the problems and proferring solutions.

“There’s a role for leaders at all levels to find solutions to the menace. We must keep working till the residents of Lagos see development because we deserve no less than developing countries can enjoy,” she said.

The webinar also featured the Director of Public Works in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ms. Robin Hutcheson, who gave some insights into the principles and framework that can be put in place to improve the traffic situation.

Hutcheson, also the President, Board of Directors for the National Association of Transportation Officials, highlighted how Lagos can achieve its goals of reducing chronic traffic congestion while facilitating economic growth and development.

She said that one of the major frameworks that could provide a better transportation system that will yield result is a lesser dependency on private cars by citizens.

“The government needs to invest heavily in transit because this will lead to remarkable success.

“Lagos is a rapidly growing world economy and to be competitive in the market, there needs to be an investment in transportation which will, in turn, create access to jobs.

“A thriving economy, more job opportunities and transportation happiness are some of the outcomes of such investment,” Hutcheson said.

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According to her, spending hours in traffic has physical and mental effects, and can also lead to a reduction in the quality of one’s life.

“Everyone should enjoy a level of comfort and happiness while in transit. Improvement can also be made by focusing on other channels of transportation which include water and trains.

“Seattle is unique just like Lagos and both cities share some similarities. The rate of people driving in Seattle has reduced because the state has the largest ferry system which many citizens commute by each day. The same can be implemented fully in Lagos to reduce congestion,” she said.

Similarly, Prof. Innocent Ogwude, a Professor of Transport Management at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said during a panel session that water transportation should be encouraged in Lagos.

“We have to learn alternative transport behaviours because when there are no options, you can’t tell people not to use their cars.

“The use of water transportation in Lagos needs to be maximised to the fullest because it is a coastal city with lots of peculiarities,” Ogwude said.

Other members of the panel are: Mr Toriola Abdulafeez who represented the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde and Ms. Tola Odeyemi, Managing Director, XFA Advisory Uber.

Also Lagos State transportation and traffic management officials, business and civil society leaders, diplomats, members of the academia and media executives attended the webinar.

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