Viewing Lagos Traffic through the eye of economics

Written by   on   Apr 20, 2017 / 21 Comments

WHY LAGOS TRAFFIC DECONGESTION SHOULD BE A TOP PRIORITY

 With the present economic reality in Nigeria, there is an urgent need to increase local production to mitigate and even possibly reverse the current economic recession.

I spent about 3 hours to commute from Ajah to Agege on a Monday afternoon (off peak time); a huge waste of my time. This clearly describes the inefficiency of the Lagos transport system. And that needs to change and even more so now Nigeria is facing the challenges of an economic recession.

Lagos state government estimates the population of Lagos state at about 17.5 million. To be conservative, let us assume that 50℅ of the population are workers. That puts the Lagos state workforce at about 8.75 million. Conservatively also, we assume that 20% of Lagos state workforce spend at least 4 hours on the road each working day (5 days a week) commuting to and from the workplace. This tantamount to spending 35 million man hours per week or 1.75 billion man hours per year assuming a 50 week work year. To put this in the right perspective, this represents a loss of approximately 200 000 man years per year wasted by workers in Lagos state traffic alone.

The real losses can be identified as the opportunity cost of 200 000 man years on Nigeria's economy. These includes worker fatigue which reduces worker productivity rate, loss of extra time workers could have put into production, loss of time for proper upbringing of children to reduce social vices, loss of time for recreation which will generate additional revenue for those who provide such services, loss of revenue in the form of taxes for Government due to lower production from workers and most importantly loss of time for productive thinking to solve problems in the workplace and the society and to generate ideas which may culminate in new businesses and development.

The economic value of these losses cannot easily be quantified but do easily run into billions of dollars down the drain in Lagos traffic per annum (A conservative estimate based on a 40 hour work week, NGN 50 000 monthly salary and exchange rate of NGN 315 to USD 1 puts the losses at USD 1.736 billion per year).

The financial incentive to debottleneck the transport system in Lagos state alone is huge and cannot be overemphasized. The government must make this a top priority to free up productive time which can be spent to reverse Nigeria’s economic recession.

 

Onochie Okonkwo

 

Onochie is a process Engineer. He is working to help reverse the current trend of importing petroleum products into the country. He is a critical thinker and a firm believer in Nigeria. 

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Comments (21)

May 17, 2017

Amara (Esq.)

Lasgidi!!!????????????. Many making a living from the traffic situation; many more being disadvantaged by the traffic situation. There really should be balance though.????

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Apr 21, 2017

Faith

I remember when I was doing my Internship at Apapa. I almost cried at times. Imagine trekking from Apapa to mile 2 because of traffic congestion. Nice analysis Engr Onochie

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Apr 21, 2017

Onochie

That's serious...


Apr 21, 2017

Stephen Ojo

Nice piece, Mr Okonkwo, thank you for bringing to our notice the number of man-hour time being wasted yearly as a result of traffic congestion in Lagos State. If the government of Lagos can embark on major road maintenance and repair of potholes, if they can encourage transportation by sea with proper orientation and awareness among the people, safety being a major concern e.g, Ikorodu to Victoria Island and vice versa, Badagry to Apapa, Apapa to Island, Badagry to Island and so on, most man-hour time being wasted could be used for better productivity, with increased and improved productivity, I don't see a reason to complain during recession. Just as you have posited, traffic decongestion should be a priority, if the number of cars that ply most major routes can be reduced, it will be instrumental to having less hours spent on roads. The problem is everyone wants to drive to work which leaves us with plenty cars on the road, again, you are also aware that, most industries are somewhat concentrated in some specific areas, e.g Island/Lekki, Ikeja, etc, hence, traffic congestion should be expected, To achieve that (Reduction of Cars on roads) , I think alternatives must be provided, just as I have put forward, sea/ water transportation is a good measure. Lagos is more or else a coastal region, so, the option of rail might not see the light of the day, except if more overhead bridges will be constructed to accommodate rail lines. You know, that involves a lot of money, so it's less realistic. Again, the use of Long Vehicles such as those of LagBuses/BRT should be encouraged and provided in enmasse, for all commuters whether influential or an average, it will definitely help to decongest the roads. I believe if some of these points are considered, there will be a better society devoid of accidents, traffic cluster, evil and other delirious acts.

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Apr 21, 2017

Onochie

I do agree with you. Sometimes I wonder, if the solution comes to us so easily, what is wrong with our leaders? Is it that they do not know this? Or that there is something we do not know?


Apr 21, 2017

Chuwaa

Nice stats. This is how our leaders ought to think:ECONOMICS! However a lot of solutions have been suggested and even implemented by the government like the Estate Bustop sidelane, the Iyana Oworo Bustop, Ajah flyover etc. But all these are very short term solutions. The solution is very simple but it will lead to greater 'loss' for the Lagos state government. Remove the bureaucracies and political bottlenecks that has sidelined other ports in Nigeria like the Onne, Calabar, Warri etc and divert ships to them. The number of businesses and people that will move put of Lagos will greatly reduce the traffic. It's a simple solution, but one that can shorten the IGR of the state.

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Apr 21, 2017

Onochie

I agree with you. Getting the other ports to work is a good strategy for Nigeria as a country and it will take away the trucks that transport the containers from Lagos. But will it surely reduce Lagos state IGR? I do not think so because the port is owned by the Federal Government and the duty paid to customs goes to the federal government too.


Apr 21, 2017

Mazeli

Nice piece... Concise and poignant.

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Apr 21, 2017

Debby

But then again, think about those that make gain from Lagos traffic: from the radio stations/OAPs who keep you entertained, down to the hawkers who keep you refreshed... Then, think about how to convert those Lagos traffic years of your life into money/profit/gain, and you'll be very fine... Peace.

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Apr 21, 2017

Onochie

That's it... Time is a resource that is very valuable... If I spend 3 hours every day in traffic commuting to and from work. In a year, I will spend roughly one month on the road. That's huge.


Apr 21, 2017

Toby Nwazor

Applause man! The statistics you reeled out got me, you did your homework. You are absolutely right you know. All those man hours being wasted, and not to talk of the physical and psychological effect it has on productivity is part of why we are where we are o. We really need to lay A lot of emphasis on productivity if we want to. Move forward as a nation and block channels like this that are against it. Great job man I expect to see more of these on national dailies too.

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Apr 21, 2017

Chizzy Odilinye

The negative impact on family life can't be neglected either.. The high rate of divorce in Lagos may be connected to psychological problems caused (indirectly) by traffic


Apr 21, 2017

Monday I.E

Mr Onochie this piece is absolutely spot on. Look at the estimations,imagine how much Lagos loose per year,in fact Nigeria in general. Our govt need to try to profer a better and effective solutions to improve the country economy. That being said,the question is,is the govt seeing this piece and if they are what are the effective strategies to cushion this effect,if there is,do the government av the right manpower to shoulder this responsibility? There are capable hands in Nigeria but I am not sure if they are rightly positioned.

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Apr 21, 2017

Chizzy Odilinye

Monday who is the government if not you and I? We need to be able to think through solutions. Problem solvers are in short supply.. You can package your idea and mail to the president or vice.. You can never tell who will read it

Apr 21, 2017

Onochie

One aim of this article is to raise awareness. If we as Nigerians are aware of the impacts of our actions and inactions....there is a greater chance that we will demand good leadership that will solve our problems.


Apr 21, 2017

Just1Freeman

Excellent analysis Mr Onochie. I have always wondered how many man-hours are wasted in traffic in Lagos every day. Nice of you to bring it out this way. I hope this gets to someone.

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Apr 21, 2017

Abayomi

Great thought worthy of the front burner for our government. Like Onochie rightly said, the losses due to traffic congestion in Lagos state cannot be quantified. As a matter of fact, besides the economic losses he tried to quantify, there are other intangible, albeit highly consequential losses we suffer because of traffic congestion. Enough said about the problem though, what is the effective solution?

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Apr 21, 2017

Onochie

Clearly, building more roads in the long term will not solve the transport problem because as you build more roads, widen existing roads or build more flyovers more cars will fill the roads. The long-term solution will be to move people out of the roads. This can be achieved by building an efficient metro system in Lagos and developing water transport (expand and modernise existing jetties in Lagos, make the jetties safe and secure for passengers, use better, safer and more modern boats etc).


Apr 21, 2017

Ken Adejumoh

This is a nice piece man. Though I must commend the administration of governor Ambode for making traffic decongestion top on the agenda. lots of work are on going I. Different locations of the state with the construction of overhead bridges, lay-bys and others. You thought is spot on as too much man hours are spent on Lagos traffic. If the government could make plans (long term though) to have rail system, and proceed with the spate of repairs and expansions, we would definitely achieve a better traffic system.

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Apr 21, 2017

Chizzy Odilinye

Well Said Onochie. Keep people off the road.. I remember the days of even and odd.. That didn't last long though

Apr 21, 2017

Onochie

I agree with you.... the long term solution is to move people out of the roads. A good metro system and safe waterways will be a good way to go...


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