Lagos Developing Transportation And Tourism In Sustainable Manner, Prioritizing Environmental Safety

Feature Article Lagos Developing Transportation And Tourism In Sustainable Manner, Prioritizing Environmental Safety
JAN 7, 2024 LISTEN

ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE examines the methods through which Lagos State is effectively integrating smart transportation choices into its sustainable strategies, with the aim of elevating the socio-economic condition of tourists. These endeavors prove advantageous for the tourism industry as they aid in economic expansion, enhance living standards, generate revenue, foster job opportunities, and ensure the preservation of the ecosystem

Taking into account the historical dominance of petrol-powered vehicles in Nigeria's transportation sector, which has raised concerns about air pollution and its impact on the environment, it is widely recognized that Lagos has made commendable progress in implementing smart travel initiatives. Amidst the polluted air, there is a sparkle of hope as the demand for eco-friendly transportation alternatives increases in the state.

It cannot be denied that fossil fuel-powered cars and motorcycles still remain widespread on Nigerian roads, resulting in air pollution, posing risks to public health, and contributing to climate change. But Lagos with its eco-friendly transportation means has proven it knows that the tourism industry remains crucial to popular destinations worldwide, offering various advantages such as economic growth, improved quality of life, income generation, job opportunities, and sustainable environmental preservation.

In spite of this, in order to fully enjoy these benefits, an efficient transportation system is essential. Lagos State has made significant advancements in its transport infrastructure and performance within the tourism sector. But the state had faced obstacles and external factors in the past that had negatively impacted tourists' experiences, their likelihood to recommend or revisit, and their overall satisfaction with the tourism industry.

The potential to create jobs for unemployed young people in Lagos State and reduce poverty is immense

Lagos is home to numerous industries, industrial estates, and establishments, contributing to 30% of the country's GDP, handling 70% of maritime freight cargo, 80% of global aviation traffic, and utilizing half of the country's energy. Due to these statistics, Lagos State has developed its transportation and tourism sectors in a sustainable manner, prioritizing environmental safety and support for local communities.

Last year, the knowledgeable Lagos authorities, who understand the concept of sustainable tourism focusing on minimizing negative impacts on the environment and supporting local communities, initiated the first phase of their sustainable transportation initiative through the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) of the state.

This initiative aims to achieve a carbon-free mobility environment within the state. The authorities announced that the introduction of electric buses would commence with a three-month Proof-of-Concept (PoC) stage to assess the feasibility of incorporating electric vehicles for mass transportation in Lagos State. This will be followed by a pilot stage that includes a larger fleet and bus routes, leading to a nationwide implementation that will create job opportunities for over 30,000 Nigerians.

To combat Nigeria's significant contribution of 62% to greenhouse gas emissions

Lagos Launches First Phase Of Sustainable Transport Plan

Recognizing the urgent need for electric vehicles to combat Nigeria's significant contribution of about 62% to greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, Ainojie 'Alex' Irune, President of Oando, stated that this presents a valuable opportunity to transform mobility in the country and develop local expertise in sustainable and clean energy.

While the buses are currently imported, the President of Oando says they will soon be manufactured in Nigeria. “In the near future, there will be a large number of locally trained engineers who can operate, maintain, and service these buses and other renewable energy assets. These buses are seen as an initial step,” he says.

The electric buses, manufactured by Yutong Transport Co. Limited, believed to be the largest electric vehicle producer in the world, come equipped with cooling and Wi-Fi. Insiders say these buses can travel up to 280 kilometers before needing to be recharged.

Check reveals that there is a partnership between OCEL and Yutong which involves establishing a local assembly plant for electric buses and developing the necessary charging infrastructure. As a result of this agreement, over 12,000 electric buses will be utilized in Lagos State, saving the state approximately $2.6 billion in economic costs and creating about 6,000 new jobs for drivers and support staff.

“This project aligns with Nigeria's goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2060 and is in line with the Nigeria Energy Progress Plan. The Lagos State Government recently announced their intention to introduce at least 1,000 electric buses on the roads within the next two years,” says the source.

Combination of urban energy, social diversity, and economic power

Experts in the field agree that Lagos encompasses a combination of urban energy, social diversity, and economic power. In order to accommodate the city's vast size, it was necessary for the government to implement visionary projects such as the Transport Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

As a result, when commuters were burdened by high transportation costs during a recent significant increase in fuel prices, the Lagos BRT buses provided relief to the general public by charging only 250 naira for transporting passengers between bus stops where regular transportation costs had exceeded 1,000 naira.

Analysts suggest that the Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP) 2012–2025 offers a comprehensive overview of the state's economy, infrastructure, social services, security, and sustainable environment by the step the state has taken today.

With a focus on power, agriculture, and agro-allied transportation and housing (PATH), the state aims to achieve megacity status and align with emerging world economies such as Brazil, India, Russia, China, and South Africa (BRICS). Therefore, it is crucial to have a viable environmental support system that enhances the tourism infrastructure and destination, playing a vital role in improving tourists' experiences through extensive knowledge and personalized attention.

Achieving several milestones in recent years

Engr. Abimbola Akinajo, the Managing Director of LAMATA, accompanied by other high-ranking officials of the organization such as the Head of Rail, Olasunkanmi Okusaga, the Technical Head of Corporate Planning and Investments, Agbonsegbe Osa Konyeha, and Mrs. Abiola Ajayi, expressed that LAMATA has achieved several milestones in recent years.

She added that the agency's vision for the next twenty years is to develop a stronger and more efficient public intermodal transportation system. Akinoja stated that the initiative addresses a significant portion of their transportation vision for Lagos State.

"We are eager to establish a transportation system that is both clean and efficient," she said.

Installed charging stations at every transportation warehouse

Despite a rail project previously initiated by past administrations in the state, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu pledged to complete it upon assuming office in 2019.

The citizens were thrilled when the first phase of the rail project was inaugurated in January 2023 by President Muhammadu Buhari at that time.

But in order to ensure a smooth operation, Oando has installed charging stations at every transportation warehouse, ensuring that the vehicles receive a full charge each day.

Despite the success of the transportation initiative led by LAMATA

Chief Olalere Odusote, who is responsible for Energy and Mineral Resources, stated that although Lagos accounts for less than 0.4% of Nigeria's total land area, it accommodates approximately 12% of the country's population.

Despite the success of the transportation initiative led by LAMATA, Lagos has also launched the Lagos Light Rail project, known as the Blue Line, to address the transportation challenges faced by the city.

According to the source, the project aims to provide sustainable, cost-effective, and efficient transportation options for Lagos residents. The implementation of a high-capacity transportation network has not only reduced traffic congestion but also provided residents with a reliable and efficient means of transportation.

Additionally, the expansion of water transportation through services like LAGFERRY has increased transportation options and relieved pressure on road networks.

The light rail project is divided into multiple phases, each represented by a different color, including the Blue Line, Red Line, Purple Line, Yellow Line, Brown Line, Orange Line, and Green Line.

Understanding the Lagos Blue Line rail

The Lagos Blue Line rail, which operates in Lagos, is an electric rapid transit line. Knowledgeable authorities say it is part of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit system, managed by the LAMATA.

Available data suggests that on September 4, 2023, the first phase, consisting of five stations and 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) of track, was inaugurated. The rail line transitioned from using diesel trains to electric power on October 14, 2023, increasing the number of train trips from 12 to 54.

“There were plans to further improve this to 74 by the end of 2023,” said the authorities. “The travel time and cost for commuters are expected to be reduced by the electricity generated by the power plant, which provides 18 megawatts to the electric tracks.”

According to LAMATA, approximately 1,000,000 passengers have boarded the Blue Line Rail since it started operating on September 4, 2023. During a news conference commemorating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of LAMATA, Akinajo announced that this initiative aims to further showcase Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu's administration's commitment to the Transportation and Traffic Management sector of the THEMES+ plan.

Furthermore, it presents a potential chance to investigate different fuel choices for city transportation and enhance the quality of air. This commendation came from the United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria, in response to Oando Plc's initiation of a strategic collaboration with the Lagos State government regarding the Sustainable Transport Initiative.