By Benjamin Omoike
A Pilot Scheme aimed at Live Traffic Report, to aid Lagosians with information while commuting around the metropolis, has been launched by the Lagos State Government.
The development, which is an initiative of Lagos Traffic Radio, an Agency of the Lagos State Government, occasioned the inauguration of Live Report Motorcycles for on-the-spot reporting of traffic situations in the State.
Speaking at the event, which held in Ikeja, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, described the development as a symbol of creative thinking of the Agency.
The Commissioner, who said that the State is moving towards a transportation system driven by technology, lauded the initiative, while stating that it is going to play a key role in traffic management across Lagos.
Omotosho said the Pilot Scheme is a key step towards using technology to revolutionise the management of traffic in Lagos, stating that the problem of traffic in the State, is a source of concern challenging the creativity of the present Administration.
He added that the fact that information is necessary to efficiently commute in the State without being stranded, speaks to the significance of the scheme.
“If you look at the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, transportation is a very big pillar and in fact the very first one, and because it is the very first one, we are not joking about it.
“We are looking forward to the day that we are going to be reporting from the skies. I am also looking forward to the day that every thing that we do about Transportation is driven by technology.
“It high time we got this kind of thing all over Lagos; the drone monitoring traffic and everything. All I want to assure you is that that first pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda is so important that whatever idea anyone body brings that can ease transportation in Lagos and make us look forward like all other big cities in the world, Mr. Governor is ready to accept such ideas,” he said.
Applauding the Agency’s initiative, the Commissioner said: “I was excited because of the symbolism of it all; because of the creativity that this has brought. The symbolism of it is that they are not just sitting down there, they are thinking about how to improve what they are doing.
“They are going to fasten the movement of our Traffic Radio officials to accidents and every other thing disturbing traffic, so that people can get accurate information. There is nothing you spend on information management and gathering that is too much.
“I see this as a first step. It will get to a stage that Traffic Radio will acquire its own helicopter and get its officers all over the place to do their job based on the fastest technology.
“It will get to a time that we are going to be reporting from everywhere, because there is nothing left for us; the population is there, the traffic is there. So everything is challenging us, challenging our creativity, and ability to manage the little resources that we have.
“You are not looking at the this as just mere inauguration of motorcycles but the symbolism behind it; that it’s going to ease reporting, and enhance the fact that of all the things that we do, either in government or private affairs, information is key. if you don’t have information, you are dead. You need to know where you are going to, you need to know what has happened where you are coming from.”
He, however, urged the management of Traffic Radio “not to rest on their oars”, but rather “continue to think on your feet on how to do better as a Radio station.”
Reckoning with the transportation technology system of the State’s Junction Improvement Programme, positioned at Allen Avenue, Ikeja, he said the new development which will be extended to other parts of the State, will reduce physical operations of traffic officers as defaulters cut by cameras would be sanctioned through technology.
In his remark, the General Manager, Traffic Radio, Mr. Tayo Akanle, said the initiative was borne out of the occurrence of incidents on highways, coupled with little or no comprehensive live reports.
According to him, the pilot scheme is designed to change the travel experience of commuters “as they usually undergo harrowing experiences whenever there is a major incident on the road.”
He added that the development will aid on-the-spot report of traffic situation in the State, adding that the “professional, comprehensive, real time and accurate” information will be shared through the radio station and social media of the Agency.
Speaking on the benefits of the acquired Live Report Motorcycles, he said: “These motorcycles would aid our operations by allowing us to arrive timely at the particular incident spots towards providing on-the-spot live and accurate reports that would assist commuters make informed decisions, especially knowing the root cause of the traffic gridlock they are experiencing at that particular time.
“Furthermore, the reports disseminated would now be more professional, comprehensive, real time and accurate, as it would be handled by trained journalists from the Station. The information will now be shared through the airwaves and on our ever increasing social media platforms for a wider reach.
“You will all agree with me that the speed and manoeuvring ability of these motorcycles would be apt for this operation, just as it is a clear departure from the past where our reporters arrive late at these incident spots, thereby hindering the provision of live and accurate reports for commuters.”
Akanle added that the live reports at the incident spots will serve as a major boost to the delivery of information on traffic flow, while providing available alternate routes that will reduce convergence of vehicles leading to gridlock situation on highways.
“It can also be used as a veritable database for future projections on traffic management and transportation systems design for the State.
“The whole idea however, is inspired by the need to enhance road traffic movement and add value to the travel experience of motorists and commuters in Lagos State,” Akanle said.
He appreciated Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the support towards the actualisation of the Pilot Scheme, which, according to him, is borne by the desire to vitalise the traffic management system of the State, as captured in the Administration’s policy thrust, tagged the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda.
He added that the Pilot Scheme is complementary to the efforts of other stakeholders in the management of traffic in the State.
“This Pilot Scheme, is the contribution of the Lagos Traffic Radio to the actualisation of the Traffic Management and Transportation component of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda for the socio-economic development and empowerment opportunities for all residents in Lagos State,” he said.
In his remark, the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Oluseyi Wenu, hailed the initiative, stating that the importance of such on-the-spot reporting cannot be over emphasised.
According to him, the effort is key to the actualisation of the Administration’s traffic management vision, a pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
According to the General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Engr. Olajide Oduyoye, the initiative is an improvement on the profile of traffic management in the State.
Against the notion that the development is an encroachment on the duties of LASTMA, Oduyoye said that the development is a welcome complement to make LASTMA’s work much easier.
The Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos, Mr Olusegun Ogungbemide, represented by Mrs. Olabisi Sonusi, said the development is timely and highly commendable, particularly with the congestion of traffic during the “ember months”, the 4th quarter of the year.
According to her, the information accruing from such scheme will assist commuters to make informed decision, based on traffic update, adding that it will widely assist Lagosians during the lingering torrential rainfall.