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1.1 Background to the Study
Traffic management is the practice of managing the existing traffic environment to create avenue for free flow of traffic, to control and manage traffic proceedings. Prior to 1999, the transport and vehicular traffic situation in Lagos State was in a state of neglect and confusion. There was terrible and high vehicle density in the state, studies carried out showed that that the vehicle density in the state is about “224 vehicles per km as against a national average of 15 vehicles per km of New York average of 24 vehicles per km with trams, trains, metro and waterways transportation” The resultant effect is the perennial road congestion with its attendant traffic logjam
According to LASTMA General Manager, Babatunde Edu, The situation of the Lagos roads before the establishment was frustrating, workers found it very difficult to get to their various working places at the normal time schedule, the situation even worsened when it rained because the traffic congestion would be doubled, compounded with the rough driving of the commuters; because of these problems, life was hectic and unbearable for most of workers in Lagos. Thus the condition many road users are faced with in Lagos was rather harrowing, begging for urgent government attention (Olasunkanmi, 2013).
Consequently, LASTMA was established and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the free flow of vehicular traffic in Lagos State in order to save journey time and improve the quality of life of Lagosians (Olasunkanmi, 2013).
Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) was established on the 15th of July, 2000 to control and manage traffic proceedings in Lagos state. According to an online source, the major purpose of creating LASTMA by the Lagos state government then under the authority of Governor Bola Hammed Tinubu was to develop a culture of orderly monitoring of road usage regulation and management of traffic operations state wide and to ensure free traffic flow on Lagos roads (Online/http:/www.wikil LASTMA/05/03/2013).
Additionally, LASTMA was established to make Lagos road safe and reduce to the barest minimum death, injuries and economic losses through road traffic accidents, congestion and delay by saving man hour wasted on public highway and ensure a sustainable economic growth in the state, also to ensure free flow of traffic for better social economic activities in the state. To reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses from road traffic accidents, conflicts, congestion and delays on the public highways in Lagos state by employing modern traffic management techniques and to inject order and control into the road traffic system (Atubi, 2006).
From the foregoing it is clear that the main duties or the main purpose for the establishment of LASTMA are; to develop a culture of orderly monitoring, road usage regulation and management of traffic operations state wide. To make Lagos roads are safe and reduce to the barest minimum death, injuries and economic losses through road traffic accidents, congestion and delay by saving man hour wasted on public highway and ensure a sustainable economic growth in the state; to ensure free flow of traffic, for better social economic activities in the state (Oni, 2004).
The task before this research work, therefore, is to make an evaluation or an appraisal of the activities of LASTMA so far for the past years; has LASTMA really been able to achieve the purpose which it was created for? What are the obstacles LASTMA has been facing in the past years and what are the successes they have been able to achieve? All these questions are what would constitute the appraisal or the evaluation of LASTMA achievements as traffic management body in Lagos state.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Before LASTMA was established in Lagos the major problems on Lagos roads were; high traffic congestion, traffic log jam, high rate of road accidents, and poor driving culture of the motorist and the commuters or the road users in general. There was a poor observation of road rules and regulation, poor usage of the pedestrian bridge and so on. These problems resulted in several accidents and attendant loss of lives and limbs, loss of invaluable human hours in traffic and the attendant wear and tear in human and vehicular conditions. The problems also impacted negatively on business costs and efficiency and slowed down the socio-economic development of the state and country at large. These problems necessitated the establishment of LASTMA in 1999, so that heavy traffic jam in Lagos would be checked, to create avenue for free flow of vehicular traffic and to save time and improve the quality of life.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study