Positioning LAMATA as model for mass transportation in Nigeria
In a city like Lagos, where yearly growth rate nears six per cent and over 20 million inhabitants compete with limited infrastructure, the unending presence of gridlock across the state remains a major concern for commuters, forcing them to be more strategic in planning their movements within the state.
Lagos is adjudged the largest city in Africa with about 21 million people as against 11.2 million in 2011. It is Nigeria’s largest city and its economic capital. Being 7th fastest growing city in the world, which sits on only 0.4 per cent of the country’s territorial land as the smallest in the country, combined to laud the efforts of Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA) in fast racking economic activities and limiting the number of vehicles on the road.
Geographically, the metropolitan area of Lagos is also fast spreading, now extending beyond the borders of state into the neighbouring Ogun state in the north. Commuter trips are therefore growing both in length and number.
Introduced 4th of June 2006, LAMATA was envisioned to provide a strategic planning platform to address long neglected transport needs of the metropolis and co-ordinate activities of the different executing agencies to provide a common and consistent basis for implementation.
Eleven years into the establishment, Corps Marshal of Federal Road Safety Corps [FRSC], Boboye Oyeyemi, who recently said the number of cars in the country was putting undue pressure on the nation’s road network, thereby causing accidents had called on the country to copy the example of LAMATA in meeting the challenge of urban transportation.
This is also the view of public transport export and Chief Executive Officer of Planet Project, Biodun Otunola, who said the poor mass transport scheme in the country was bane to projected economic development.
Indeed, the formulation of the Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) aimed at transforming the Lagos transport sector beyond its current challenges, according to transport experts would help in the identification of possible transport infrastructure and services required to meet growing travel demand for Lagos State by 2032.
To LAMATA, the STMP would be achieved under the Lagos Urban Transport Project (LUTP) one and two, which is the phased implementation of the Lagos State Government transport sector policy and strategy designed to resolve main issues identified by various studies conducted by the state government in conjunction with the World Bank between 1988 and 1996.
The first phase of the project was implemented between 2005 and 2010 with five major components, which roughly correspond to the six-point transportation strategy of the government. These include Institutional strengthening and capacity building, urban road network efficiency improvement, bus services enhancement, water & Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) promotion and rail mass transit. One of the land mark projects implemented under LUTP 1 was the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Lite system, a 22km partially segregated BRT corridor from Mile 12 to CMS.
The LUTP two, a follow-up of phase of LUTP one, has aim at improving the capacity to manage the transport sector in the Lagos metropolitan areas and enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the public transport network, through a combination of traffic engineering measures, management improvements, regulation of the public transport industry, and expansion and enhancement of BRT system. It has four major components, which include institutional development and capacity building, improvement of public transport infrastructure and enhancement of traffic management, improvement of Lagos State metropolitan road network and Project management and monitoring.
The implementation of LUTP two led to the extension of the BRT corridor from Mile 12 to Ikorodu and the launch of 434 new Air Conditioned BRT buses in November 2015 by the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.