Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Thoughts on Decongesting Lagos...

When Chxta Bee identified "decongesting Lagos" as one of the priorities for the incoming Federal and State Governments, I glanced at it casually and moved on. However, I have returned to an earlier post I shared on this subject after experiencing ONE day of Island-Mainland traffic this evening.

In addition to the solutions I proffered in my post of July 2014, I would now like to add that the most sustainable way to "decongest" Lagos is for the other States to attract more businesses and support them to operate profitably and sustainably. In addition to slowing the population drain to Lagos in search of greener pastures, this will develop their economies, grow State government revenue, and grow employment numbers in the formal and informal sectors.

The current model wherein many young Nigerians from across the country (including yours truly) relocate to Lagos because it offers better opportunities is not sustainable over the long run. At this rate, in only a few years - it will be nearly impossible to get anywhere on time in Lagos.

PS: It took me 4 hours to get home from Lekki Phase 1 (and 2 hours to get there in the morning). Some friends who work on the Island (and live on the Mainland) confirm they spend an average of 4 hours a day commuting to and from work. That is 20 hours a work-week, 80 hours a month, and 960 hours (40 days) a year spent in Lagos traffic!


  1. The stats are crazy!!! This solution is long term thing, what do you think are the options for an immediate solution atleast to all the traffic.

    1. LOOOOL Tomi. Interestingly, I don't see any short-term fixes. Solutions will take at least a few months to show results. For starters, from first principles, minimizing traffic means reducing the number of cars on the road. Among other options, we could:

      1. Enable/support private sector investments in Water Transportation - alongwith strong safety certifications and regulation. It should be made cheaper & relatively safer to go from Ikorodu & other suburbs to the Island/Mainland via waterways - rather than the current state where everyone gets in their cars or in public transport and uses the roads.

      2. Make public transport more comfortable by cleaning up BRT buses (and ensuring they stay clean), clamping down on traffic-offenders who use the BRT corridor for private cars & cause traffic in supposed express BRT lanes, & providing more BRT buses. I would take it one step further and create a 'class system' in BRT buses. i.e. if I'm willing and able to pay N500 for a more comfortable seat & better air-conditioning / quiet - rather than N100 or N200 for a standard seat --- I should be able to. This is about the only way I'll ever get on a BRT bus again of my own volition.

      3. Hasten completion of the light-rail project, and implement light rail in a sustainable fashion. Comfortable & clean trains should run on schedule, and the trains must be kept sane. No fliers / preachers / etc on the new trains. This also takes some more people off the road.

      ...and a host of other measures.

      I hope we never have to take drastic measures like in some Asian countries where some people can drive on odd-numbered days and others on even-numbered days depending on the last/first number of their plate number.

      Of course - over the long run - the solution still remains to halt (and then REVERSE) the population drain from other states to Lagos by helping their economies grow. States must be encouraged to grow their IGR by encouraging more & more businesses to operate sustainably in their territories.