Friday, April 26, 2019 6:06 pm
In order to solve the debilitating traffic logjam in Lagos and other big cities across the country, government and those involved in the planning and implementation of urban mobility must strike a balance between the means of movement and the number of persons requiring such means at any given time. This was the recommendation of Professor Adebayo Owolabi while delivering the 107th Inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA. Owolabi who spoke on the topic “Mobility Equations: Transportation Engineering Perspective” said holdup, congestion, traffic jam and gridlock with attending impediment to economic and social progress will not disappear through wishful thinking or tentative measures without correcting inherent imbalance bedeviling the Country’s transportation sector.
The Professor of Transportation Engineering said a carefully planned multi-pronged transportation reform rooted in modern scientific paradigms is urgently needed. Professor Owolabi said diversification of the transport system through the development and integration of viable rail, water and air transport in the mix is required to decongest and reduce pressure on the country’s road network. He said the entire system should be well coordinated and synchronized with a control mechanism put in place. He advocated the introduction of mass transit system i.e. the deployment of municipal buses with large carriage capacity to supplement the existing dominant Para-transit system in urban centres like Kano, Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha, Abuja and other emerging mega cities. He said such a measure will decongest the gridlock and immobility associated with the country’s transportation system. He said ring roads which have the potential of enhancing interconnectivity and decongesting the main trunk roads should be constructed as a matter of priority for metropolis like Akure. Other effective regulatory and control mechanisms suggested by the don include traffic signalization, road channelization and grade separation (i.e. the introduction of interchanges and flyovers). He urged the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to speed up the implementation of the priority index assessment model for prioritizing road maintenance operations. Professor Owolabi said inbuilt safety measures for pedestrians should be factored into the proposed reforms .He advocated for a ‘safe gap system” where a pedestrian who begins to cross a roadway immediately after a vehicle passes completes the crossing before another vehicle arrives.
The lecturer, who designed, fabricated and tested an infrared traffic counter that can be used in place of the expensive conventional intrusive traffic and piezo-sensors, to facilitate traffic data collection said it can overcome the demerits of manual counting of vehicular movements on roads. He also cited alternatives to pavement materials such as cold recycling of reclaimed pavement materials for rehabilitation of distressed highways. According to him, termite re-worked laterite soil as highway construction material, cocoa pod and palm kernel shell ashes as partial replacement of Portland cement, and as stabilizing Agents for some Nigerian problematic soils and the engineering properties of the naturally occurring Bitumen in Ondo state Nigeria could be used for road construction in certain locations. He posited that transportation is a critical factor in regional growth as it determines the extent to which an area can capitalize on its economic endowments.
Speaking in his capacity as the chairman of the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape commended Professor Adebayo Owolabi for the sound delivery of the lecture. He described the lecture as timely as major cities in the country experience major traffic gridlock. He described Owolabi as an astute administrator and an erudite scholar who has provided academic leadership for his colleagues and mentored many protégés.