Director, Centre for Multi-Modal Transport Studies, University of Lagos, Professor Iyiola Oni has said multi-modalism will promote accessibility, thus reducing carbon footprint with greener transport.
Besides, he said the development of effective policies for sustainable accessibility and mobility in urban areas of Nigeria is necessary, stating that effective and efficient multi-modal transport constitutes a catalyst for economic development.
Oni made this disclosure as a guest speaker at Lagos’s 2022 national transportation technology conference and exhibition.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Accessibility and multimodality in achieving a greener transport system in Nigeria’, he said greener transportation is feasible with the necessary infrastructure, investment and political will.
According to him, strategies of efficient, intelligent transportation systems include a strong base of high value-added transportation to encourage the applications of technologies that should be established and maintained.
He said a strong partnership should be established between government agencies, universities and private companies to accelerate the development, diffusion and implementation of new ideas and knowledge, stating that a legal and regulatory framework for innovation should also be pursued.
To achieve sustainable greener transportation, he said there must be a framework to support policymakers to formulate broad base greener transportation policies.
He said Nigeria needs to adopt a sustainable transport system with efficient fuel usage- eco buses, eco-boats, and light electric trains.
Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, said the multimodal transport operation in Nigeria is still largely under-developed, because of the following factors; lack of guaranteed scheduled services; lack of cargo information systems; lack of modern cargo handling equipment and methods; poor road/rail links to ports; poor state of transport infrastructure, paucity of funds, technological gaps, among others.
Oyeyemi said the multimodal transport concept has to be recognized as an important component of global logistics.
For instance, the enactment of the Nigeria Cabotage Act 2003, development of Inland Container Depot, dredging of River Niger as well as seaports terminal concessioning and railway reinvestment and reforms are a practical demonstration of the commitment of the Federal Government toward the realisation of multimodal transport in the country.
He said mobility is a critical factor in the advancement of humanity and society. Today, the transportation industry, which deals with the movement of people and products, has become one of the most dependable industries in the world.
Oyeyemi said the state of the transportation system in any climate reflects its development. He said today, the Nigerian transportation system is made up of air, rail, road and waterways. The Road with about 204,000 km network and an estimated 12.5 million vehicular volume as of 2021 remain the most interconnected and predominant mode of transportation used for facilitating trade, investments and other services, accounting for over 95 per cent of all mobility needs. Affordability and ease of accessibility make the mode heavily relied upon above others.
However, he said this has led to increased road traffic crashes with attendant fatalities and injuries. In 2021 alone, 13,027 crashes were recorded leading to 6,205 deaths, which account for a three per cent loss of the country’s GDP ($15.3b nominal GDP). He said other adverse effects of road transportation include infrastructure decay and Greenhouse Gases Emission (GHE), which constitutes a global threat to living as emissions of hydrocarbons by vehicles are viewed as a major contributor to GHE.
He stated that for the transportation system in the country to improve, a functional inter-modal transport system must be activated at all levels.
Oyeyemi said the increased demand for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has further necessitated the quest for the safety of pipelines and speedy transportation of hydrocarbons.
This mode, according to him, is designed to enhance safety in the transportation of petroleum products to major distribution channels in the country. However, the pipelines in the country are almost at the lowest rate of utilization for the transportation of petroleum products.
He said there has not been a balanced development of the country’s transportation system. High priority has been devoted to a particular sector against others bringing about uneven development across sectors.
Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, urged the Federal Government to develop a transportation fund for the development of transport infrastructure across the country.
Oladeinde, who spoke in a panel session, stressed that the Federal Ministry of Transportation should champion the fund by introducing the right policies.
He said, “The Federal Government should develop a policy that allows everybody to contribute to the transport fund. So it should start with the Federal Government, and then the state government. The policy would help states and everyone to develop their own transport fund.”
He noted that though private sector players would also play their part, the Lagos State government, with a commuting population of 15 million, should enact more transportation policies.