TRUCKS CONGESTION PROBLEM AND ITS ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS: THE CASE OF APAPA PORT, LAGOS

CHAPTER ONE

                                     INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background to the Study

With the ongoing road construction in Apapa area of Lagos State, Nigeria, the number of trucks and their proportion in freeway traffic has been increasing significantly in the State and thereby causing heavy traffic jam on many roads like Apapa, Mile 2, Ojuelegba, Costain, Ijora areas of the State. Traffic congestion is practically experienced in every part of the world. For instance, the average percentage of trucks in most freeways in China is around 25% and some can even reach as much as 60%. The number of trucks has increased by 75% in the USA and this trend will continue over the next decade. The development tendency of trucks in Australia is consistent and the kilometres travelled by trucks are predicted to increase by 74% between 2003 and 2020. Although trucks play a key role in road freight transport, they are also an important factor of traffic crash and congestion. Trucks have a great impact on freeway capacity and freeway overall performance, among others, because of their physical (e.g., size) and operational (e.g., acceleration/deceleration) characteristics. Large-sized trucks can block the sight distance of following vehicles and trucks will obstruct the operations of fast vehicles due to the poor acceleration and maximum speed. In addition, it has been found that trucks have an influence on surrounding vehicles, which makes the driving behaviour of these vehicles change. In general, although trucks only occupy a small proportion of traffic flow, they have a pronounced impact on the traffic. Hence, it is important to study trucks congestion problem and its economic implications with focus on Apapa Port, Lagos State.

As traffic volumes and congestion grows on highways and urban roadways, freight and delivery service operators become increasingly challenged to maintain dependable and reliable schedules in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State. This affects supply chains and truck-dependent businesses both of which are of increasing importance for both public policy and private sector operators. From the public perspective, there is a need to make investment, financing and policy decisions based on an understanding of public infrastructure needs, costs and broader economic stakes involved. From the perspective of shippers and carriers, there are the day-to-day costs implications of delay and reliability as it affects supply chain management, and well as a longer-range need to assess opportunities, risks and returns associated with location, production and distribution decisions. Both perspectives need to be recognized when considering the full range of impacts that traffic congestion can have on the economy. A barrier to considering these two perspectives together is the gap that exists between theoretical simulation modelling and real world observations of business responses to congestion. This study will therefore assess trucks congestion problem and its economic implications with focus on Apapa Port, Lagos State.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

The economic vitality and livability of any state readily depends on reliable, responsible, and sustainable transportation. Maintaining the transportation system at a level that allows for the safe, efficient movement of freight is an essential component. Wasted fuel due to the traffic congestion and reduced mobility on the urban road network are considered to hinder the nation’s economic activities. Congestion alone has been found to cost users roughly $37.5 billion, $10 billion (2000 dollars) of which is attributed to trucking firms and those receiving and shipping freight (Winston and Langer 2006). As impressive in magnitude as this estimate is, reporting the cost of congestion alone is not sufficient to affect public policy at the state level. Instead, transportation agencies need additional knowledge to understand the manner by which industries are impacted by congestion, what their likely response will be to increasing congestion, and the net impact of these industry responses to the economy.

1.3   Research Objectives

The general objective or main objective of this study is to assess trucks congestion problem and its economic implications with focus on Apapa Port, Lagos State.  The specific objectives are:

i)             To examine the reasons for trucks congestion in Apapa Port, Lagos State

ii)           To understand the economic implications of trucks congestion in Apapa Port, Lagos State

iii)         To examine the effects of trucks congestion on the people of Lagos State

1.4   Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)             What are the reasons for trucks congestion in Apapa Port, Lagos State?

ii)           What are the economic implications of trucks congestion in Apapa Port, Lagos State?

iii)         What are the effects of trucks congestion on the people of Lagos State?

1.5   Significance of the Study

The study will assist the government in addressing trucks congestion problem and its economic implications in Lagos and in Nigeria as a whole. It will also help. It will also enable the people in the state to understand traffic congestion in enhancing their performance. It will as well be useful to academicians and researchers who might be interested in pursuing research in the same area. The study will help them understand the how they can go about in beating traffic to their workplaces.

1.6   Scope of the Study

The scope of the study will be limited to the residents of areas like Apapa, Mile 2, Ojuelegba, Costain, Ijora of Lagos State

 

1.7   Limitations of the Study

This study had some limitations which include the problem of diverse coverage of locations of the respondents as they are spread around the country. There was also the problem of time and uncompromising attitudes of some respondents encountered during the study as some respondents refused to fill the questionnaire while some respondents were not available to answer the questions despite several visits.

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