Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, is the economic and cultural center of the country. This megalopolis of more than 20 million inhabitants has to face the worst traffic jams in the world. Nearly 2 million people can move around the city at the same time, which places significant strain on activities within it, while impacting economic growth. The excessive use of cars also causes serious social and environmental challenges.
This is why public transport is increasingly seen as a way to lessen these constraints. However, their development is hampered by a lack of data on the transport sector of Lagos. By joining the ASToN network, local authorities wish to overcome this issue, also providing citizens with better knowledge about public transport, in particular its availability and timetables.
Lagos in figures
- Population: 22,368,332 (estimated)
- Surface area: 3,577 km2
- Population density: 19 017/km²
- Local authority budget: 3 184 092 307 USD or N 1 168 561 893 990
- Smartphone penetration rate: 60-80 %
- Internet access rate: 60-80 %
What does the city mean by “smart city”?
To Lagos, a smart city is an urban area that uses technol- ogy to gather, analyze and use data to manage assets, resources, and devices successfully.
Lagos State also wants to ensure that multiple sectors, such as health, transport, and the wider economy, are touched by the smart city agenda, and that citizens are able to live in a safer and more sustainable environment.
Lagos faces some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. About 2 million people can be moving around the city at any one time, which puts significant constraints on activities within the city, as well as impinging on economic growth. Over-reliance on cars is also causing serious social and environmental challenges.
Public transport is increasingly being looked at to relieve these pressures. Its use is led by the Ministry of Transportation and the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), which is currently implementing a transporta- tion master plan for the state. However, the development of public transport is hampered by lack of data on transport within Lagos; for example, the number of informal minibus taxis that exist within the city, which could be phased out by high-capacity public buses. Citizens would also benefit from knowing more about public transport, especially its availability and timing. Lack of data on the transport sector is therefore a key problem that LASG wishes to address.
Findings: the starting point for addressing these problems
The following findings set out the starting point for Lagos as they work to address data for public transport. Based on research conducted over the course of Phase 1, they describe the interlinked strengths and challenges that need to be taken into account.
Congestion and traffic management is a defining issue for Lagos
The pace of urbanisation seen in Lagos has contributed to increasing congestion and the need for high capacity public transport which has not been met. There is inadequate transport infrastructure in the city that is put under increasing strain.
Transport is a priority for Lagos State
Work has already been made to improve the transport sector of Lagos on multiple fronts. Traffic management is a priority area, as evidenced by the creation of new transport agencies and improvements in traffic enforcement. The expansion of the road network in Lagos, a new bus terminus, and larger bus fleet with automatic fare collection, have also been introduced.
Relevant experience and expertise will bolster the work
Lagos has a good track record of conducting digital projects, technical expertise across its ministries, departments and agencies, and a digital base to build from. The metro fibre backbone project underway also offers a real opportunity for Lagos to implement projects that use real-time data.
Lack of data collection and analysis could limit ability to reach goals
Lagos does not have an integrated database across the smart technology projects, and has limited capacity to gather and store data. In order to fully reach the goals of digital transformation, it will be important to consider what to prioritise and where to focus efforts.
Government support is not matched by funding support
While there is strong government support for digital solutions to public transport problems, it appears that there is low funding available. Nevertheless, the LASG has observed increased investor confidence in the city and its administration in recent times that could be capitalised.
Changes in the sector must consider those that will lose out
The development of public transport systems should consider the role of the informal sector and the indirect consequences of project implementation. Additionally, since there is high-reliance on the road network in Lagos, digital solutions should try and fit seamlessly within existing activities or be introduced in a way that minimises unnecessary disruption.