Gbenga Omotosho, Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy and other top government officials during the launch of the motorcycles

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1FM on Tuesday launched a Pilot Scheme for Live Traffic Report system to aid Lagosians with information while commuting around the State.

The motorcycles would enable the number one traffic station in Nigeria have on-the-spot reporting of traffic situations in the State.

Gbenga Omotosho, Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, who launched the motorcycles at the station’s office in Ikeja, said the development represented a symbol of creative thinking of the agency.

According to him, the State is moving towards a transportation system driven by technology, while stating that it is going to play a key role in traffic management across Lagos.

The commissioner stated that the Pilot Scheme was a key step towards using technology to revolutionise the management of traffic in Lagos, adding that the problems of traffic in the State, was a source of concern challenging the creativity of the present administration.

Omotosho said it was a fact that information was necessary to efficiently commute in the State without being stranded, speaks to the significance of the scheme.

In his words: “If you look at the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, transportation is a very big pillar and in fact the very first one, and because it is the very first one, we are not joking about it.

“We are looking forward to the day that we are going to be reporting from the skies. I am also looking forward to the day that every thing that we do about Transportation is driven by technology.

“It high time we got this kind of thing all over Lagos; the drone monitoring traffic and everything. All I want to assure you is that that first pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda is so important that whatever idea anyone body brings that can ease transportation in Lagos and make us look forward like all other big cities in the world, Mr. Governor is ready to accept such ideas.”

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He said he was excited because of the symbolism of it all and because of the creativity that this had brought.

“The symbolism of it is that they are not just sitting down there, they are thinking about how to improve what they are doing.

“They are going to fasten the movement of our Traffic Radio officials to accidents and every other thing disturbing traffic, so that people can get accurate information. There is nothing you spend on information management and gathering that is too much.

“I see this as a first step. It will get to a stage that Traffic Radio will acquire its own helicopter and get its officers all over the place to do their job based on the fastest technology.

“It will get to a time that we are going to be reporting from everywhere, because there is nothing left for us; the population is there, the traffic is there. So everything is challenging us, challenging our creativity, and ability to manage the little resources that we have,” he said.

Omotosho added that “You are not looking at the this as just mere inauguration of motorcycles but the symbolism behind it; that it’s going to ease reporting, and enhance the fact that of all the things that we do, either in government or private affairs, information is key. if you don’t have information, you are dead. You need to know where you are going to, you need to know what has happened where you are coming from.”

The commissioner urged the management of the Radio “not to rest on their oars” but rather “continue to think on your feet on how to do better as a Radio station.”

The launched motorcycles

In his opening address, Tayo Akanle, General Manager, Lagos Traffic Radio, said the initiative was borne out of the occurrence of incidents on highways coupled with little or no comprehensive live reports.

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He said the pilot scheme was designed to change the travel experience of commuters as they usually under-go harrowing experiences whenever there was a major incident on the road.

Akanle stated that the development would aid on-the-spot report of traffic situation in the State, saying that professional, comprehensive, real time and accurate information would be shared through the radio station and social media platform of the Agency.

According to him, the motorcycles would aid the station’s operations by allowing it to arrive timely at the particular incident spots towards providing on-the-spot live and accurate reports that would assist commuters make informed decisions, especially knowing the root cause of the traffic gridlock they were experiencing at that particular time.

He said the reports disseminated would now be more professional, comprehensive, real time and accurate, as it would be handled by trained journalists from the Station, adding that the information would now be shared through the airwaves and on social media platforms for a wider reach.

“You will all agree with me that the speed and manoeuvring ability of these motorcycles would be apt for this operation, just as it is a clear departure from the past where our reporters arrive late at these incident spots thereby hindering the provision of live and accurate reports for commuters,” he said.

The General Manager said the live reports at the incident spot would serve as a major boost to the delivery of information on traffic flow, while providing available alternate routes that would reduce convergence of vehicles leading to gridlock situation on highways.

He added that it could also be used as a veritable database for future projections on traffic management and transportation systems design for the State.

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According to him, “the whole idea however, is inspired by the need to enhance road traffic movement and add value to the travel experience of motorists and commuters in Lagos State.”

Akanle commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the support towards the actualization of the Pilot Scheme, which was borne by the desire to vitalise the traffic management system of the State as captured in the Administration’s policy thrust, tagged the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda.

He added that the Pilot Scheme was complementary to the efforts of other stakeholders in the management of traffic in the State.

“This Pilot Scheme, is the contribution of the Lagos Traffic Radio to the actualization of the Traffic Management and Transportation component of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda for the socio-economic development and empowerment opportunities for all residents in Lagos State,” he said.

Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, Commissioner for Transportation, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Oluseyi Wenu, hailed the initiative, stating that the importance of such on-the-spot reporting could not be over emphasized.

He said the effort was key to the actualization of the administration’s traffic management vision, a pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.

Engr. Olajide Oduyoye, General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), said the initiative was an improvement on the profile of traffic management in the State, saying that the development was a welcomed one as it would complement efforts of  LASTMA officials.

Olusegun Ogungbemide, Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos, who was represented by Mrs. Olabisi Sonusi, said the development was timely and highly commendable, particularly with the congestion of traffic during the “ember months.”