Traffic jam: Town planner canvasses bicycle use

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A Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Eno Okoko, has recommended the use of bicycles for short trips by the commuting population in cities across the country.

Okoko made the recommendation in the 98th inaugural lecture of the university titled, ‘Spatial interaction: The quintessence of urban mobility’.

He stated that bicycle as a mode of transportation for short trips was energy efficient, non-polluting and environment friendly.

According to him, because of its flexibility and ability to render door-to-door services in towns where the road condition does not permit an efficient operation of taxi or bus services, and its ability to beat long queues of vehicle on roads where the traffic situation is chaotic, bicycles have advantages over other modes of para-transit transport even in terms of travel time.

Okoko also called on governments and road builders to henceforth include bikeways in urban road designs as was the case in other countries.

“Some municipal authorities deliberately encourage communities to ambulate or walk in the city in order to reduce the population of cars. It has similar advantages as bicycling and requires no fuel other than a person’s most recent meal and it has old origin,” he said.

He also lamented what he termed lack of effective ‘pedestrianisation’ measures in most Nigerian cities, adding that pedestrians constituted about 22 per cent of all road deaths, the majority being school children, women and the elderly.

Okoko said the provision of pedestrian traffic facilities in city centres would ensure seamless spatial interaction and quintessential urban mobility.

He also stated that inappropriate activities such as street trading and unauthorised street parking should no longer be tolerated, and called on relevant agencies to implement parking regulations, provide parking spaces, and if need be, develop multi-storied and underground parking facilities.

The don further suggested the use of a national transport data bank to take care of transportation planning, traffic management and transportation modelling.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

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