Lagos State gave a good account of itself at the maiden edition of the National Transportation Technology Conference and Exhibition (NTTCE), writes ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE
Though the two-day National Transportation Technology Conference and Exhibition (NTTCE) have been concluded, the lessons will, undoubtedly, linger in the minds of a large number of the delegates, especially state commissioners of Transportation, who left the state of aquatic splendor wowed by the strides and gains that could accrue, if their states are tuned and driven by strategic transportation master plan like the host.
The NTTCE, was the brain child of the forum of National Conference of Nigerian Transportation Commissioners (NCNTC), which in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Transportation usually formulate policies that would stimulate the transportation ecosystem.
The conference provided a platform for the public/private sector operators to share ideas and visions to optimise transportation initiatives by the federal and sub-national governments.
It was brought to Lagos, agreed by all the commissioners as the lead in berthing multimodal initiatives aimed at making public sector transportation a major earner and contributor to Internallly Generated Revenues (IGR).
Not only is Lagos investing heavily across all the modes of transportation – land (with the High Capacity Buses (HCB – BRT), the medium and mini bus called the First and Last Mile (FLM)), the Lagride Taxis, which is redefining taxi experiences as it encourages ride-sharing, and the Blue and Red light legacy rail line system, which completion is said to at 65 per cent, and the waterways which the government is massively dredging, and feeding with modern ferries and jetties to stimulate passenger confidence.
The state is complementing these with its strides to deliver a transportation policy, even as it has led others in the delivery of a Non-Motorised Transportation Policy, encouraging and recognising the use of non-motorised forms of transportation, i.e. trekking/walking, skating, or riding of bicycles along dedicated corridors in the state.
The state also further made known its willingness to reduce its contribution to the GreenHouse Gases (GHG) generation and the promotion of green transportation modes, by converting its BRT buses to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) even as it eyes taking this a step further with the introduction of electric buses in the near future.
These innovations, the Commissioner of Transportation Dr Frederic Oladeinde, said were being complemented by the introduction of cutting-edge technology which has ensured efficiency and the reduction of human interference, either in the use of road worthy vehicles plying its roads, which LACVIS is achieving, or the introduction of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), which has improved compliance rate of vehicle documents renewals, as well as the introduction of Cowry card, which is automating fare payments by passengers.
These were the reasons the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Transportation Dr Magdalene Ajani urged greater collaboration between all arms of government to enable them serve Nigerians better.
Ajani who represented the Minister of State for Transportation Sen. Gbemisola Saraki said the Federal Government will always encourage the states to invest massively in multimodal transportation.
The Chairman of the Commissioners Forum, Hadjia Ramatu Mohammed, declared that coming to Lagos was not misplaced.
The Chairperson, who is the Niger State Commissioner for Transportation, and for who the NTTCE’s maiden event was her last, said the conference, with the theme, Multimodality and inter-connectivity: Achieving an efficient and greener transport system in Nigeria, gave participants the platform to discuss and dissect topical issues affecting the nation’s transport industry, while proffering solutions with the intention to align methodologies and processes for enhanced effectiveness and efficiencies.
While welcoming participants, the outgoing chairperson said, “Technological innovations have made a profound impact on the effectiveness and development of transportation and other sectors in developed and developing nations, adding that locally, the transportation sector has barely scratched the surface of the rapidly emerging technologies which could enhance the primary objective of safety and security, as well as boosting revenue at both states and federal levels.
She said the conference aims at showcasing some of the turnkey tech- products that could be adopted to improve our sector starting at the grassroots.
“Therefore, it is my pleasure to welcome you all, ladies and gentlemen. The Nigeria Transportation Commissioners forum is optimistic that this conference will henceforth chart the course for the transformation of the sector to align with global best practices, reduce the rate of accidents, introduce investors with subsequent increase in revenue generation and contribute to the overall standard of living and National Development.”
In attendance at the conference, are; Commissioners of Transportation from across the country, government bureaucrats, transport stakeholders, key decision-makers, captains of industry, experts from the academia, and operators in the Road, Rail, Water and Air transport sectors who discussed current and emerging trends that could be integrated into the Nigerian transportation space.
The first day provided insight into integrated national security and waterways protection infrastructure (Deep Blue Project), developing Strategic Transportation Master Plan for States, just as Lagos State, has done, and the role of inland ports, (for littoral states), in boosting States’ Economy.
It was unanimously agreed that transportation is a huge sector and a catalyst for economic growth with capacity to trigger abundance for their states.
Discussions on day two centred on: the future of intelligent transportation in Nigeria, leveraging on technology to drive the transportation and logistics challenges in Nigeria, Public-Private Partnership in Cargo Aerodrome, Water Transportation as an Alternative to Road Transportation, and Leveraging State Light Rail Mass Transit Scheme for economic turnaround.
In his keynote lecture, Prof Iyiola Oni of the Directorate of Transport Studies, University of Lagos urges greater collaboration between the states and the Federal Government to stimulate a transportation system that would benefit Nigerians.
He equally called for more investment that would translate into a better share of the transportation landscape by the government in public sector transportation to reduce modular (single passenger vehicles) on the roads, encourage reduction in carbon emission and a better standards of living and a healthy populace.
At the opening ceremony, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, Governor, Lagos State, affirmed that Lagos State has been at the forefront of investment in a technological driven multi-modal transportation system to address the technical challenges in the transport sector.
The governor, who was represented by Mrs. Folashade Jaji, Secretary to the State Government, reiterated that the goal of the Lagos State Government is to synchronize all modes of transportation to reduce travel time in a safe and affordable way for the citizenry, adding that his administration has remained resolute in completing existing mass transit line project to cater to the growing population.
He stated that innovations such as the Cowry Card were created to synergize connectivity of the modes via centralized payment to simplify access to all mode intervention and harness economic advantage.
Sanwo-Olu explained that the Traffic Management Solution (TMS) were technology driven solutions introduced to curb excesses and recalcitrant road culture with reduced human interference on Lagos roads.
He added that over 6,000 kilometres of Metro Network Connection Fiber has been laid within the State to fast track higher bandwidth, and faster internet speed with stronger security to make Lagos a 24hr driven Smart City, assuring that his administration is open to collaboration that can aid successful reform in the transport sector.
Oladeinde believed the insight gained at the conference will contribute positively to repositioning the sector in the various states present thereby advancing the overall objective of convoking the event.
“I, therefore, enjoin all the attendees to make the most of this event as they go back to their various bases and implement the ideas and concepts discussed.
The two-day event was rounded up with a gala night with awards presented to the Lagos State Government (for its giant strides in the transportation sector), and other players who have distinguished themselves in the transportation industry.
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