By Evelyn Usman
Director of Public Works in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America, Ms. Robin Hutcheson, has suggested a model transportation action plan , as a way out of the traffic congestion in Lagos State.
Delivering a keynote address Tuesday, on Lagos Transportation and Traffic Webinar themed “The Never-ending Story, Traffic Congestion in Lagos: What Can Be Done? Will it Be Done?” ,organized by the United States Consulate General, Hutcheson, explained that traffic congestion, principally due to automobile traffic, could take a huge toll on the citizenry’s mental and physical health.
Hutcheson, who is also the President of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Transportation Officials in the United States, said the model transportation action plan could include options such as sidewalks, bike lanes, ferries, buses, and light rail, among others.
According to her, cities with 21st century ambitions must provide residents with safe, accessible, efficient, and equitable transportation choices, noting that improvements in mass transportation directly contributed to economic growth, a healthier environment, and improved customer satisfaction.
She said “Under any plan, the responsible agencies must engage their communities, ask them what they want, understand the issues, identify the opportunities, and pursue funding and implementation together”.
Earlier in her welcome remarks, U.S. Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, highlighted the imperatives of reducing what he described as chronic traffic congestion in Lagos while facilitating economic growth and development.
“We believe this topic of Lagos traffic is very important due to its impact on economic development and daily quality of life. Lagos is the economic capital of Nigeria and it is important that we tackle the transportation and traffic difficulties,” Consul General Pierangelo said.
The online program brought together Lagos State transportation and traffic management officials, business and civic leaders, diplomats, members of academia and media executives.
Among them were: Publisher of Business Day, Mr. Frank Aigbogun; Lagos State Director of Transportation Operations, Engineer AbdulAfeez Toriola; Professor of Transport Management at the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Dr. Innocent Ogwude and Managing Director, XFA Advisory, Ms. Tola Odeyemi, among others.