Traffic Jam in Lagos State Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 7 January 2017

Traffic Jam in Lagos State

Traffic Jam is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times and increased vehicular queuing. There are all sorts of things that give Lagos a bad name. If it’s not the heaps of rubbish on the roads or the unwelcome attention you get from area boys and armed robbers, then it’s the epileptic power supply. But these aren’t really a problem if you’re rich enough to buy a car with heavily tinted windows, live in a relatively crime free area and get a generator. The one thing that you can’t get away from (unless you are drawing megawatts of power from the political grid and can get your own siren to blast your way through) is that ubiquity of the Lagos landscape, the Traffic Jam. Indeed, analysts are in agreement that the one-hour lost daily on the roads in major areas in Lagos State is unquantifiable. Successive governments had adopted various strategies to address this major challenge.

For instance in the early 70s, the administration of Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd) and General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) upgraded Carter Bridge to address the then ever increasing traffic jam from the Mainland to Lagos Island. It also built the Eko bridge linking Surulere to Lagos Island, Agege Motor Road, Apapa – Oshodi expressway, Badagry expressway and also started the process for the construction of the Third Mainland Bridge. Despite these measures, the menace is yet to be fully contained. Not even the present administration in the state has been spared the trauma of the daily snarl on the roads. Some traffic hot spots of Lagos include:

*Oshodi: This is perhaps one of the busiest roads in the Lagos metropolis. *Third Mainland bridge: Because it one of the major link to the Island, it is always jam packed during rush hour. *Victoria Island: Some of the roads in the Victoria Island are always jammed with vehicular movement, some of these roads include Ozumba Mbadiwe Road (because it is the only road that leads to Ajah), Bar Beach/Eko Hotels Road etc. *Ikorodu Expressway (Ketu/Ojota axis): There is often heavy vehicular movement in this area because of the third mainland bridge. *Abule Egba: This is another hot-spot of traffic jam in Lagos. Now to the unschooled eye, all traffic jams are one and the same. But to the seasoned observer of Lagos traffic, there are much more subtle distinctions in the nature of the Lagos Traffic Jam. One way they can be distinguished is by their causes, which are many and varied in nature. Going by this criterion, you can identify the following categories of jams:

Causes of Traffic Jam in Lagos

1.Impatient Motorist: Sometimes when motorists are impatient with one another on the road, it causes unending hold-ups. Even more astounding is the occasional phenomenon of the ‘one-way’. This is where cars going in one direction on a dual carriageway take over the lanes going in the other direction, so that instead of five lanes going east and five lanes going west on the Mile 2 to Apapa stretch of the Apapa-Oworonsoki expressway, you have eight lanes going east and two lanes going west. (No, I still don’t understand why it’s called ‘one-way’.) Strangely enough, this makes some sense if there is overwhelming traffic going east, but it completely messes up the traffic at the interchange junctions where every driver makes an art form of violating the highway code in order to complete his journey. 2.Accidents: Is another major cause of traffic jams. When there is an accident and it happens in the middle of the road, it automatically slows down the traffic movement in such area.

3.On-going construction works: Whenever there is an on-ongoing construction work, it always causes heavy traffic jams as roads that were full used before will only be partially used making vehicular movement quite slow. 4.Inadequate good roads: This is the leading cause of most traffic jam in Lagos. Some of these roads are ridden with potholes they often make vehicular movements too slow as some vehicles often break down. 5.Rush hour: When motorists are caught up on some particular roads during rush-hour, it causes more traffic. This is often between 6am to 9am and 4pm to 11pm. 6.The Police Checkpoint Traffic Jam: It wouldn’t be so bad if they chose to set up their checkpoints near a pothole, but no? It’s usually the straightest, smoothest, driest roads they choose to snarl up with their toll booths? Sorry, checkpoints.

7. The Fuel Queue Traffic Jam: This type of jam is usually found near petrol stations when there is a fuel shortage, and is caused by vehicles queuing for fuel and taking up whole lanes of traffic as a result. That’s bad enough, but the tension created by a large number of drivers desperate to get hold of fuel from the small amount available at the station means that this type of jam easily spawns lots of children Vehicle Accident and Undisciplined Driver Traffic Jams. 8. The High Human Density Traffic Jam. I know that the road is for vehicles and the pavements (or what pass for pavements in Lagos) are for pedestrians and other non-road users. But there are places (like Idumota and Oshodi) where there is such a density of human beings that the mass of non-road users oozes into the road and gums up the traffic. It’s often so bad that you even have pedestrian traffic jams alongside the vehicular jams.

Economic effects of Traffic Jam on the Society and Environment Traffic jam affects the society in the following ways:

1.It creates mental stress in motorists 2.It paves way of wastage of fuel and wear & tear of vehicle parts which ultimately waste the money of the motorists 3.It becomes a cause for rash driving and road accidents involving loss of lives. 4.It makes the motorists to inhale lot of vehicular smoke emissions in a short period of time causing many diseases Traffic jam affects the environment in the following ways:

1.Vehicles at low speed emit large amount of carbon monoxide, unburnt fuel particles, suspended particulate matters and other pollutants into atmosphere causing air pollution more grave 2.When vehicles start to slowly, noise pollution is created by blowing horns by the motorists.


*People must be encouraged to leave for their cars at home and use public transport. *Re-location of offices away from the Central District to locations on the outskirt of the state. *Re-orientation of road users on traffic signs and rules of the road. *Rehabilitation of roads and good management of port holes and expansion of major city roads.


With the help of Field trip, I can conclusively say that bad road condition, inadequate road infrastructures, absence of integrated transport system, drivers’ behavior, accident and inadequate traffic planning are some of the salient factors that are responsible for road traffic congestion in Lagos State.

It is also established that traffic congestion constraints can be ameliorated by embarking on various strategies such as enhanced transport coordination, road capacity expansion, improved road infrastructures, drivers’ enlightment and application of Intelligent Transport System.


Adedimila, A. S., (1981). “Toward improving traffic flow in Lagos”, Transportation in Nigeria National development. Edited by S. O. Onakomaiya, NISER, Ibadan. Anderson, B., (1993). “A survey of the Swiss Public transport system and policy”, Transport Reviews 13(1): 61-81. Andrew, D., (2004). “The world’s worst traffic jams”, Time magazine. Retrieved on 10/06/2009. Hermann, K., (2006). “A new way to organize parking: the key to a successful sustainable transport system for future”, Environment and Urbanization, 18 (2): 387 – 400. Business Day Newspaper (2010): “Lagos’ failed road get attention, Posted on Tuesday, June 19th 2010, Pp. 40. Daily Independent Newspaper (2012): “Metro, Posted on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, Pp. 26 – 27.

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