THE IMPACT OF TRAFFIC CONGESTION
1.1 Background to the Study
It is pertinent to highlight the relevance of creek road in Apapa. Any traffic hindrance on it will definitely generate a lot of hiccups in the logistics business that is the core activity on this road.
Creek road is the major road that leads from the premier Apapa port (Wharf) all the way to link one of the country’s international airports (Murtala Muhammad airport, Ikeja); which is several kilometres away from each other
This road is one of the roads that yields quantum amount of revenue to the financial cover of the federal government of Nigeria. In terms of interconnectivity, it links Tin Can Island Port, Conmaldi and some other container ports and oil farm depots are located along the route. The perpetual and incessant traffic congestion caused by heavy duty shipments on it’s on it has really affected activities as turnaround in doing businesses on this corridor elongated more than necessary.
Several efforts in the past and recent times have been made in finding lasting solution to this traffic menace, but yielded no desirable results. Most of the government efforts at resolving this issue have always been sort of Fire Brigade Approach. There is urgent need for alternate routes and modes of travel in and out of the port.
Multi-modal transport system is required. It is quite obvious that traffic congestion is the largest hindrance to the success of transportation/logistics business most especially in this part of the world. Its impact can never be under-estimated as every country is devising methodologies and techniques in combating this traffic menace.
Road traffic in and out of sea port complexes become more crowded and less safe everyday in Lagos, Nigeria. In the past, road transportation was not a very big problem due to the small number of vehicles that were on our roads. During the last years, since the number of vehicles (automobiles and Road vehicles) increased, a lot of traffic problems have occurred. Apapa, a city in Lagos State would be the location and subject of this study due to extremely high port-related activities in the area.
This increase in vehicular activities has led to congestions and delays when entering or leaving Apapa, especially during the peak hours and this has called for the study of alternative transport mode use and intersections management in the area to know how they are faring in directing and controlling traffic, especially how those intersection tend to reduce conflicts along the three major intersections in Apapa – Liverpool Road, Point Road and Wharf Road. Where two or more roads meet is called an intersection and this usually presents an opportunity for conflicts among vehicles, because it is an area designated for the vehicles to turn to different directions to reach their desired destinations. The main functions of intersections is to guide vehicles moving in different directions to their respective paths, thereby improving safety, reducing conflicts, and increasing the flow of traffics. Intersection safety remains a challenge for intersection designers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Several factors contribute to the traffic menace into and out of Apapa port complex. These include the lack of holding bays, which is an unprofessional way of doing shipping business. Many shipping companies in Apapa area operate their businesses without having personal stemming port/ holding bays for export shipments. This has become necessary on the same road with the efforts to return empty containers back to the Apapa Port. Other factor include the import/export profitability, which is to establish the cost difference between import and export shipments vis-a-vis its economic impact especially profitability in most of the Inland container Depots. Against this backdrop, this research effort will include the causes such as-lack of holding bays for empty containers, unorganized parks by container trucks before proceeding to the port for loading and off-loading, effect of oil farms situated along this corridor, the narrow nature of the road especially in the trucking of heavy duty shipments, lack of alternative transport mode to road in this area which have alleviated the current situation for better. On the other hand, the cumulated effect of this unending traffic congestion is multi-dimensional to the economic sustainability of logistic business on this corridor.
Underutilization of the Railway system, Lagos Lagoonal System and pipeline with over-dependence on road, the over-pressurization of road has brought about the endemic problems on the road itself and associated infrastructures. The road is characterized by accident, road mishaps, traffic congestion and robberies etc.
The poor traffic situation arises as a result of the various roles of Apapa as industrial, commercial, educational, administrative and transportation centre. Also, the geographic location of the city, the unruly behaviours of drivers and the sudden rise in car ownership consequent upon improved standards of living, use of trailers and tankers have all combined to compound the problem.
This rapid growth in the population of Lagos has exerted tremendous pressure on the existing deteriorating transport infrastructure in the study area, due to the fact that Oshodi/ Apapa Expressway is the main artery in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, it is a major link to many inlets and outlets within and outside the metropolis.
The road intersections at Apapa were designed about four decades ago and at the time posed no problems. But the increase in vehicular activities – heavy duty vehicles and cars, cause great problems because capacity had not been taken into consideration as at the time of designing those road intersections, thereby causing great conflicts and delays to motorists. The increased economic activity in Apapa has caused a tremendous increase in trucks, cars and pedestrians which in turn creates untold hardships to road users who have to contend with the same capacity of roads built long ago. This increase in vehicular activities increases the conflicts at these intersections thereby causing delays, accidents and loss of man-hours that would have been used efficiently.
Most businesses in Nigeria depend on the Nigerian seaports for the supply of their goods and materials and more than 90% of that passes through Apapa thereby making Apapa a commercial hub for businesses. There is no gain saying the fact that logistics has a lot to do with time, but the problems caused by the capacity of intersections to exit vehicles faster in Apapa are just too much. On a very busy day, it could take a truck up to twelve hours to drive into Apapa from point Road intersection and another twelve hours to take delivery and exit through point road intersection or Liverpool.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this study is to critically analyze the conflicts that occur within an intersection from the conflict point of view and try to explain what happens and why at the three intersections at Apapa. In the same vein, the study will focus on the safety of those intersections, the levels of control and the capacity of those intersections to control traffic. The aim of this study is to critically evaluate accessibility to Lagos port. The objectives are to:
· determine the traffic characteristics;
· traffic congestion; and
· determine the points of conflicts in Apapa carry out traffic counts and determine its flow along these intersections.
· propose alternative modal choice at relieving the traffic madness in and out of Apapa.
1.4 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is to evaluate the impact of traffic congestion impacts in Oshodi Apapa Express way, precisely at the axis of Toyota Junction/Ladipo Auto dealer Market/Airport Road. The research study seeks to evaluate the traffic congestion within this route, its attendant effects on road users’ enroute Airport Road from Oshodi, Mushin and Apapa and possible solution to the problem. The scope of this study was limited to this part of Oshodi-Apapa expressway in Lagos Nigeria, this is as a result of the peculiar nature and state of the road and the kind of traffic generated on this road on daily bases. Basically, the study investigated issues arising from the objectives of the study, that is , the road condition, traffic conflict point, transportation and road intersection as well as various land use activities and socio-economic activities present along the corridor in terms of adjoining land uses that causes delay in traffic flow such as street trading, pedestrian movement, among others will be assessed, to ensure these activities do not obstruct the flow of traffic along the corridor any more.
1.5 Significance of study
The sustenance of a nation’s economic growth hinges on unhindered free flowing, advanced and smart transportation systems.
The study would assist in alleviating the traffic congestion resulting from the neglect of other transport modes apart from road. This study would be relevant to city designers and engineers involved in the design of intersections, in that it would increase knowledge as to what is needed or the basic factors to be considered when designing intersections. This study will also increase knowledge to students who are interested in conflict resolution in Port Areas. The study will also be beneficial to drivers, especially motorists and pedestrians, to understand the causes of conflicts at intersection because 95% of those accidents are due to driver error and wrong perceptions of other road users.
Most importantly, it would be beneficial to business owners and logistic companies which will enable them carry out their business effectively and efficiently.
This study is also significant in that all road users would be equipped with a better understanding of the workings of intersections and this will go a long way in reducing conflicts and accidents.
1.6 Limitations of study
This study will concentrate on the causes of accidents and delays related only to conflicts that happen at the selected intersections and would not cover other causes of accidents in Apapa. The study will not go beyond the descriptions of conflicts at intersections in Apapa and the roles it plays in the movement of traffic.
1.7 Study Area
Lagos state is situated in the South Western Nigeria within latitude 602′ N to 604’N and longitude 2045 E to 4020 E. The state is bounded form the North and East by Ogun State, in the West by the Republic of Benin and the south by the Atlantic Ocean. The total land mass of the state stretches over 3,345 kilometers with an estimated population of about 15 million. Apapa is the major port of the city of Lagos, Nigeria and is located to the west of Lagos Island, across Lagos harbor. It also one of Nigeria 774 local government areas. The study Area covers the distance between wharf Road and Warehouse Road, with geographical coordinate 6 27 N 3 22 E /6.450 N 3.367 E. the local government is bounded from the North by marine beach to include mobile offices and Ijora; while to the South by Atlantic Ocean, East by Lagos Lagoon, and West by Lagos Lagoon. The total landmass of the local government stretches over 38.5 kilometer.