One of the greatest frustrations of city life is traffic, especially the bumper-to-bumper traffic that clogs the roads and pollutes the air. Unfortunately, this daily tribulation experienced by millions of city people is showing no signs of improvement. The situation is the same all over the world. In China, several thousands of motorists in a recent report were said to be trapped in a traffic jam that was about 100 kilometers long. In Texas, administrators have reported that congestion has grown everywhere all over the cities. In Mexico city a 20 kilometer drive through the city center can take over 4 hours longer than it would take the average pedestrian to walk the same distance. In Portharcourt, Rivers state Nigeria, it took an average of about 3 hours for workers to get to their various house after close of work everyday.The same thing goes for Lagos state where workers that are suppose to resume work by 8 a.m have to leave their various houses as early as 5 a.m so that they don’t get late to work.
The reason for this ever increasing traffic jam is not far fetched. The cities keep on growing tremendously and now about half the world’s population live in urban areas. As city grows so the number of vehicle increase. The rate at which the number of vehicles increases is said to be 50 times faster than the rate at which new roads are built and the old ones are rehabilitated. Since cars sell much more quickly than the rate the government can build roads, a rapid growth in the number of vehicles can overwhelm even the best road system. Presently, building new roads or expanding existing ones no longer reduce the intensity of peak hour traffic congestion to any extent. Lack of sufficient parking facilities also leads to congestion. Recently, one study in united state calculated the economic cost of traffic jam in 75 cities and said it will amount to about 70 billion dollars per year.What are the way forward?
THE WAY FORWARD
— Government should continuously invest huge sum of money in updating public transportation, improving highways, building ring roads or beltways and maintaining the existing ones.
— The government should limit the number of vehicle obtainable per family to two.Singapore, which has the world greatest concentration of automobiles has done this by limiting the number of vehicles a consumer can purchase.
— Introduction of congestion fee whereby drivers pay to enter the city during peak hours.This measure has worked in cities like London.
— Complete ban of heavy duty vehicles from entering the city center during peak hours.
— Cars should be allowed into city centers on certain days based on the registration numbers of the vehicle.This is currently working in Mexico and it was once enforced in Lagos state.
— The use of computerized system to control traffic lights and to alerts police to handle accidents bottleneck quickly.
— Government should provide special bus lane and lanes that change direction according to traffic needs.Individuals should also contribute to solving the problem by taking a walk or cycling on short distances.
— For longer distances individuals can help by opting to join public transport.Government should continuously improve the bus, metro, and rail system
— Government should provide a public car park system at every 2 kilometer distance.Cars with one person should be denied entrance into the cities on peak hours while cars with 2or more persons should be allowed into the city.
— Commuters should always have control over the time they want to travel by trying to avoid rush hour traffic and the associated impatience
— Finally, individual should take responsible measure by displaying courtesy and patience towards other drivers, this will help to control the trial of traffic in our cities.