Vehicular Traffic situation in Lagos Metropolis - Bottlenecks and wayout

Bachelor Thesis, 2007

50 Pages, Grade: 1.0




1.0 Introduction
1.1 Existing conditions
1.2 Justification and Rationale for the Project
1.3 Objective of the Project
1.4 Expectation

2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Traffic Demand and supply
2.2 Road network density and efficiency
2.3 Public transport provision
2.4 Road Safety
2.5 Roads network world over
2.6 Sector Management
2.7 Traffic Situation in other part of the world
2.8 Government Strategy

3.0 Methodology
3.1 Forms of Data
3.2 Data Source
3.3 Data sourcing instrument
3.4 Procedure of Methodology
3.5 Data Collection
3.6 Data Analysis Techniques
3.7 Research Limitations

4.0 Presentation and analysis of Data
4.1 Analysis of Data

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendations




Lagos, a typical example of third world, is faced with the threats and challenges of chaotic vehicular traffic. Contrary to popular belief attributing the situation to inadequate road network, it was found out that over 90% of places in Lagos have access roads. It was also found out that the roads, said to be inadequate have rather been turned for other uses such as indiscriminate parking of abandoned vehicles, street trading and beggars colonies. Added to these is the poor maintenance state with potholes and ditches being the order of the day. The gutters and canals are either not there or are overfilled. Three major road axes were critically studied. Situation photographs were taken, questionnaires administered and analysed. Measurements were also taken. The results were compared with those obtainable from other advanced countries.



Lagos state was created on 27th May 1967 by virtue of state (creation of Transitional provisions) Decree No. 14 of 1967, which restructured Nigeria’s federation into 12 states. It has a land mass of 3345km2 and ranked as the smallest state in Nigeria by 1 and mass but the largest by population – (Ogunbiyi A.A. 2005).

Lagos State is located on the South-Western part of Nigeria on the narrow coastal plain of the Bight of Benin. The state lies approximately on longitude 20.42’E and 3.22 East respectively and between latitude 60.22’N and 60.42’N. It is bounded in the North and East by Ogun State of Nigeria, in the East by the Republic of Benin and stretches over 180kilometers along the Guinea Coast of the Bight of Benin on the Atlantic Ocean. (Olagunju K. 2004).

Since its creation in 1967, Lagos state land mass remained the same despite the number of times the country has been restructured and the ranking remained as well. That is Lagos is still the smallest state in the country with respect to land mass and largest in population.

1991 Lagos State

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Ogunbiyi A.A. 2005

Being the former capital of the country Nigeria, the industrial development and other investments in Lagos goes beyond local entrepreneurship but also with foreign involvement. Thus, a lot of human activities take place in Lagos daily.

The development of social amenities linking neighbouring state also constitute the factors that make Lagos a metropolis (i.e. the chief city of a region or Nigeria, a capital – Oxford, Advance learner’s dictionary)

These social amenities include roads, pipe borne water, hospitals and schools. In which road being one of the amenities that maker Lagos accessible. In other words, transportation involving the movement of goods and services and passengers from one place to other make human activities take place in Lagos, and also increase its population.

Transportation being classified as one of the kind of industries – INDY VINCENT D’. Even one of the leading industries, has been in existence before industrialization and civilization era.

The development of every developed state in the world today is due to accessibility of means of transportation in and out of the country. This development can only be accomplished when there is energy. This requirement led to the enslavement and use of numbers of humans as primary sources of energy. The construction of engineering works, whether by oriental, Mediterranean or American – Indian, have been accomplished principally by human labour.

This project is very important in the development of Lagos state, the former capital of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is the economic or commercial capital of the country. The complex traffic situation in the metropolis needs a very serious attention that calls for a survey of the present situation.


A metropolis like Lagos with a substantial commuter population, traffic flow and parking are important part of life experience. Based on filed observation and conversation with the populace. It is clear that traffic congestion is a common phenomenon on many roads within the metropolis at certain times of the day in some areas. This gives rise to degration to the quality of life in Lagos metropolis.

All most all the services access meant for use is inefficient and disrupted. Traffic along the express lanes is unsightly. Parking lot are no longer in use, they have been converted to mostly commercial and business spots.

This gives a kind of perception to drivers that makes them park anyhow, anywhere and at anytime as they like. Within the metropolis, many of the drivers are not duly licensed. They violate traffic rules and regulations and often get away scot-free. Also due to one-way traffic floor created by reckless drivers, there is undesirable and avoidable queue of vehicles at several intersections.

Finally, many of the roads have deteriorated. They are full of potholes which become deathtraps when left for too long before repair. In addition, roads are often damage in the process of some construction activities and laying of water pipes, communication and electricity cables. This makes drivers slow down as they approach such areas. This thus results in bottleneck. The poor drainage networks and channels leads to perennial problem of street flooding during the raining season in the Lagos metropolis which then causes disruption in traffic flow.


1. Economic Importance: Lagos metropolis is a major city in Nigeria. It is the commercial nerve of the country. In the economic development of the country, the traffic situation in Lagos contributes greatly to it. The locations of many industries are all over the nooks and crannies of the state. Many imported goods come into the country through Lagos metropolis either via the seaports or airports. If the traffic snar – up on the Lagos roads persists, this could result in loss of investment through relocation of industries, loss of revenue accruable to the state from company taxation and other payable taxes. Discouragement of foreign investors from investing in the economy. (Adegboyega Coker, 2004)

2. Unnecessary delay in travel time: There is a high delay in travel time within the metropolis. Survey such as this is needed to identify the areas and causes of unnecessary delay ion travel time often encounter in the metropolis. For instance, a distance that should take 25 minutes, sometimes take endless number of hours on the road. This is as a result of bottlenecks at various intersections on the road.

3. High fuel Consumption: The fuel consumption rate in the metropolis is very high. The unnecessary increase in travel tine give rise to the increase in the fuel consumption level Vehicle owners are forced to incure more than necessary for fueling their vehicles. To reduce this unnecessary consumption, a survey of the traffic situation would be of help. (Adegboyega Coker, 2004)

4. Environmental Impacts: Traffic situation in the Lagos metropolis contributes adversely to the environment. There are a lot of emission and effluence that pollutes the environment resulting from the vehicles on the road. There is a serious increase in pollution when there are bottlenecks at intersections leading to endless queues. This emission, effluence and pollution are hazardous to the environment and thereby reduce the quality of life. (Afolabi University lecturer)

5. Health Impact: Drivers are stressed when faced with congestion during closing hours within the metropolis. They spend endless numbers of hours in traffic. Thereby reducing their number of hours required medically for a healthy living. (Adegboyega Coker, 2004)

6. Corruption: The traffic situation in the metropolis also in a way contributes to corruption. The policemen on Lagos roads are often exposed to the vile of corruption. Divers and Road users violate traffic rules and tend to have their way by giving bribes to the policemen and traffic officers who find it difficult to resist the temptation due to the poverty lever in the metropolis. A survey of the traffic situation will in a way help to reduce the corruption faced from this side.

7. Increase in population: To handle the population and as well organized traffic circulation system in Lagos metropolis. Thereby reducing the traffic congestion, a survey of the situation should be embarked upon.

8. Provision of Transport infrastructure: Traffic congestion within the metropolis would be largely reduced when there is provision of adequate and functional transport infrastructure such as elongated canopy – type, bus shelters, traffic signs / signals, towing vehicles and street lights / traffic lights. Also where new roads and existing roads should be rehabilitated can be identified when a survey of the traffic situation of the metropolis is carried out.


1. To carryout a survey of vehicular traffic situation in Lagos metropolis.
2. Identify the problems and areas associated with bottlenecks.
3. Proffer solution and the way-out of such problems.
4. Suggest ideas to improve and develop the vehicular traffic system of the metropolis.


On adoption and practice of either all or some of the recommendation at the end of this project work. The following impact or significant is perceived and expected to be achieved:

1. Reduced travel time
2. Reduced vehicle speeds
3. Reduced delay
4. reduced number and severity of crashed
5. Reduced environmental impact i.e. reduced emission, effluence, pollutions and fuel consumption.
6. Reduced health risks



Vehicle ownership is rising 15 to 20 percent annually in much of the developing world due to increasing urban wealth (World Bank, 2002). Yet most countries have not matched this growth with parallel expansion of transportation infrastructure, including roads, public transport, and traffic management systems. As a result, traffic congestion is severe and overall mobility is declining in most cities. Figure 1 shows growth in vehicle ownership and road networks in six of the world's largest developing countries. In each country, vehicles are added to roads more quickly than new roads are built. Growth in private vehicles has reduced demand for and eroded the quality of public transport in developing countries, which is typically characterized by long wait times, overcrowding, and irregular stops.

Figure 1: Source: EarthTrends, 2006

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Vehicular traffic in Nigeria is the heart of various activities either directly or indirectly. Lagos is considered to be the sixth largest city in the world, and also one of the fastest growing. Its current population is variously estimated at between 12.8 and 15.0 million, and it is expected that growth will continue at the current rate of nearly 6% per annum. The metropolitan area of Lagos is also rapidly increasing, now extending beyond the Lagos State boundary into the neighboring state of Ogun in the north. As a result, passenger trips are growing in length as well as number.

The Lagos metropolitan area is by far the largest and most complex urban area in Nigeria and, in economic terms, it is pre-eminent. It contains the largest manufacturing sector and provides employment for over 45% of the skilled manpower of the country. The commercial sector is similarly dominant with a vibrant local trading tradition. During the last twenty years or more, levels of efficiency and productivity in the metropolitan area have been adversely affected by the serious and growing weaknesses in the physical and social infrastructure needed to support the basic needs of the population and the productive sectors. Also Failures in the transport system are a significant contributor to this problem, and have resulted in major investments in staff transport by formal employers. Whilst Lagos is no longer the nation's capital, its role as the gateway to the country is still unquestioned, with the nation's most important commercial sea and airports in the metropolitan area.


Total two-way passenger traffic crossing the three bridges between the mainland and Lagos Island in 2001 was 1.59 million per day of which 77% were public transport passengers. This represents an annual overall growth in passenger demand over the last decade of 3.4% per annum. The growth in public transport trips was 5.0% per annum. There was a decline in large bus (Molue) passengers trips of 2.9% pa and a decline in taxi trips of 5.5% pa. However trips by minibuses (Danfos) have increased dramatically by 17.2% pa. Car trips have shown a slight decrease of 1.1%. Travel by non-bus public transport (rail and water transport) has declined to less than 1.0% despite their considerable potential. In many areas of the city, poorly served by roads, passenger-carrying motorcycles (Okada) are now a significant component of the transport supply. Roughly 5,000 taxis are registered in the State, and these operate from designated taxi stands throughout the metropolitan area. The oil-fueled economic boom of the 1970s and early 1980s, led to substantial increases in private vehicle ownership with the motorcar fleet increasing by over 183% in the decade 1978-1987. Since then adverse macro-economic conditions have reduced the affordability of motorcars and the private car fleet has shrunk and aged as a consequence. Private vehicles now plying the roads of Lagos are typically ten and more years old and in poor condition.


The total road network of Lagos extends to 5180 kilometers of which 591 kilometers (11.4%) are federal roads, 2743 kilometers (53.0%) are state roads, and 1846 kilometers (35.6%) are local government roads. Density of this network (about 0.4 kilometers per 1000 population) is low even by the standards of other African cities and other major cities of the world. The operational efficiency of the Lagos road network is low with a limited number of primary corridors, operating at or near capacity, carrying the bulk of the traffic. Opportunities to access the primary corridors are limited by a lack of interchange facilities and, where access is possible, the interchanges are often inadequately designed and provide only partial access to the primary network.

Below the primary network there is a lack of definition of the road hierarchy with many tertiary roads fulfilling the functions of secondary roads. Very few junctions are signalized, and manual control of most is restricted to daylight hours.

Inadequate attention to drainage issues in the road design process and a poorly developed tertiary and secondary drainage infrastructure combine to make many roads impassable at times during the rainy season.

The use of the road space for other purposes is common with the major junctions, interchanges and bus stops hampered in their function by their use as unofficial bus stops, and encroachment by street trading and semi-official market activities. Provision and control of parking is ad-hoc in nature with a consequent mismatch between supply and demand in spatial and temporal terms. Most vehicles are 'parked' on-street even in important central business districts such as Lagos Island and Ikeja. On-street parking is virtually free and charges for off-street spaces are relatively low and often unrelated to the duration of parking. Discounting those within the curtilages of buildings, off-street parking provision is low relative to demand.


1. BUSES: Bus public transport in Lagos is almost entirely owned and managed by the private sector – principally individuals owning one or two second hand vehicles which they drive themselves or hire out to drivers on a daily rental basis. There is no major fleet operator, with recent surveys indicating that few if any operator has more than ten vehicles in their fleet. This is despite some initiatives by federal and state agencies in the past assisting with the procurement of new buses. Bus public transport operation in Lagos is therefore highly fragmentized with a high level of operational indiscipline. The existing bus fleet is estimated at 75,000 the majority of which are minibuses (Danfos). Comparisons with earlier traffic counts show that Danfo numbers have increased significantly in recent years, whereas Molue (medium sized buses) numbers are in decline. This reflects both the relative availability and affordability of the two vehicle types, with investors being able to enter the passenger transport market very easily through the purchase of imported second hand minibuses.

2.RAIL: The National Railway Corporation (NRC) currently operates a limited commuter service (typically, one train in each direction per day) in the Agege to Iddo corridor. There exists a branch line from this to the port in Apapa, which is hardly used. These rail corridors represent a major under utilized asset.

3.WATER TRANSPORT: use of the waterways in Lagos is regulated by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), a federal agency. Both the federal and state government provides ferry services, the latter through the LSFSC and have built a number of jetties along the various waterways of Lagos. Both rail and water transport currently carry less than one percent of the overall traffic in Lagos, but have good potential to become much more important.


This is a major concern with rudimentary (at best) driver training, poor driver behavior, unsafe vehicle conditions, variable road conditions, poor street lighting, the non-provision of pedestrian facilities, and poor traffic enforcement all combining to produce an accident rate that is probably amongst the highest in the world.

The detail road traffic accident data which was recorded by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Lagos command sector is shown below.

Source: FRSC, Lagos State Sector Command, 2006


Excerpt out of 50 pages


Vehicular Traffic situation in Lagos Metropolis - Bottlenecks and wayout
Transportation Engineering
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vehicular, traffic, lagos, metropolis, bottlenecks
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Adediran Adejuwon (Author), 2007, Vehicular Traffic situation in Lagos Metropolis - Bottlenecks and wayout, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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