By Tope Fayehun, Akure
A Professor of Transport Geography, Emman Funlayo Ogunbodede, has called on government at all levels to focus on building infrastructures to address the problem of inefficient transport services and inadequate transportation in the urban space.
Prof. Ogunbodede made the call today while delivering the 10th Inaugural Lecture of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria, entitled, ‘Trading space for a Cost: A Transport Geographer’s View’.
He said, “As human beings grow, so, also, the urban space records growth and development. Hence, transport infrastructural needs, at any point in time, must be pursued vigorously by government at all levels to reduce transportation problems in our urban space.
Importantly, too, and as much as possible, we must not allow political decisions to override planning decisions, if we want to ensure adequate and efficient mobility in our cities.”
Ogunmodede asked government to encourage the construction of circular roads in cities with over two million populations in order to aid efficient distribution of traffic within the urban centres, while the movement of traffic that are not destined for the city centre should be diverted to circular roads or bye-passes with a view to assisting to distribute traffic not meant for the city centre to the periphery.
He added that bus priority routes are made an integral part of the road transport infrastructure in Nigerian cities with over 2 million people, while road transport infrastructures and complimentary facilities’ development should be phased out and made to coincide with vehicular and spatial growth of settlements.
The don emphasized the need for para-transit or Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, on some routes, especially the ones that link up both commercial and public land uses to residential zones of the city, which according to him, would go a long way to reduce congestion in some routes and also reduce waiting time at bus stops to such zones.
According to him, provision of supplementary power supply to streets and traffic control points should form part of the Corporate Social Responsibilities of major eateries, banks and hotels that often put on their electric power generators each time there is power failure.
Ogunbodede further said, “The three tiers of government should promote the use of non-motorized mobility in the urban centres that now qualify as metropolis and megalopolis. Light rail system should be encouraged from the city centre to the outskirts of the urban environment. This will greatly discourage and reduce the congestion
experienced in the Central Business District, CBD.
“Traffic Information System, TIS, should be incorporated into the existing traffic management system of cities. This TIS must be built on a well-designed database. The database must however be updated from time to time to meet the exigencies of traffic dynamics. TIS should be fully deployed to create effective monitoring platform for traffic situation to road users and curb traffic offences.”
While canvassing the development of curriculum on safety awareness education for motor traffic offenders, drivers’ license applicants and all other roads users, he urged city planners to make the necessary provisions for a public parking space in the core area of the city with appropriate transport complimentary facilities to encourage the free flow of traffic.
He added, “The existing urban road transport infrastructure like roads and complimentary facilities like street lights, traffic lights, drainages, zebra-crossings and bus stops should be properly maintained and put to effective use.
“Consideration should also be given to the reconstruction of major roads, provision of more motor parks, fly-overs, over-head bridges and traffic lights at intersections as the city assumes a new settlement status.”