Exploring Climate Change-enhanced Alternatives to Road Transportation

0

In exploring alternatives to road transportation in Lagos, Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that the United Kingdom in conjunction with the
Lagos State government recently witnessed the sea trial of a Hovercraft, an amphibious boat-like vehicle that travels over water, sand and grass, which can improve the climate resilience of the state, as well as contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic development of the city

Undoubtedly, the perennial Lagos traffic snarl has opened a window of opportunity for operators in the water transport sector in the state. This is because as commuters now seek alternative routes to avoid delay on the roads.

As it is common with human beings when faced with difficult situations, the survival instinct springs up naturally and the search for an alternative to ease the difficulty begins. The perennial gridlock in Lagos is one of such difficult situations and this has no doubt increased the number of people that have veered into exploring water transportation.

To many, water transportation is vital especially when there are no road networks in their areas. Sadly, among other means of transportation, this same water transportation has been somewhat neglected until recently, despite the huge potentials it portends in mass movement of commuters especially in a mega city like Lagos.

Without a doubt, an enhanced and reliable water transport system will reduce congestion on the roads, promote economic growth, and improve competition in the business environment as well as the overall operations in the state. It will reduce travel time, improving connectivity between communities and hence provide access to critical services such as healthcare, education and employment. Those were the ideals behind the recent proposition of a Hovercraft for a city like Lagos.

Recognising the urgency to tackle climate change by quickly reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones and the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, recently witnessed the sea trial of a Hovercraft, Griffon Hoverwork, a UK hovercraft design and manufacturing company.

The company carried out the demonstration in Lagos as part of the UK Government’s effort to enhance the waterways transportation system of the Lagos State government. The UK Government through its Future Cities Nigeria Programme, has been providing technical assistance to the Lagos State government to enhance its water transport system, which will in turn improve the climate resilience of the state, by offering a viable alternative to road transport, and provide an improved transport option for Lagos residents and visitors.

Thus, the sea trial was in continuation of the state government’s exploration of an alternative to its transport system, which will in turn reduce road congestion and promote economic growth.

Hovercraft Potentials

According to the state government, the potential of the hovercraft cannot be underestimated as it can improve the climate resilience of the state, as well as contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic development in the city.

The Hovercraft, an amphibious boat-like vehicle that travels over water, sand and grass, designed by Griffon Hoverwork, a UK hovercraft design and manufacturing Company, carried out the demonstration in Lagos. During the sea trial, they reiterated that an enhanced and reliable water transport system will also reduce congestion on the roads, promote economic growth, and improve competition in the business environment as well as the overall operations in the state.

UK Future Cities Nigeria Programme

The UK Government through its Future Cities Nigeria Programme, have been providing technical assistance to the Lagos State government to enhance its water transport system, which will in turn improve the climate resilience of Lagos state, by offering a viable alternative to road transport, and provide an improved transport option for Lagos residents and visitors.

Speaking after the sea trial, British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones said: “The UK Government is keen to assist the Lagos State government in the area of water transportation, and urban development. Griffon Hoverwork, a leading manufacturer of hovercrafts has displayed the capabilities of a hovercraft as a means of reducing carbon emissions & road congestion and supporting growth in the water transport sector.

“Lagos is Africa’s largest city with lots of capacity, but relies excessively on road vehicles for transport, leading to long and expensive commutes and traffic delays. Through our Future Cities Nigeria programme, we are working with LASWA to develop water transport routes that reduce road traffic congestion, provide safer, cleaner, reduced cost transport and reduce CO2 emissions.

@It’s great to see these plans start to become reality through this trial of a hovercraft on the Lagos waterways. This demonstrates the range of opportunities and potential for UK and other international businesses in this sector to benefit from the new transport routes.”

On his part, the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, said: “The UK’s Global Future Cities Programme with the Lagos State government is helping to expand the state’s waterways transport and improve the environment.

“Lagos waterways is a key resource to the state and we will continue to work with the UK Government to make water transportation a viable, reliable and alternative means of transport for the people of Lagos.”

According to the Press and Public Affairs Officer, British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, Ndidiamaka Eze, in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Nigerian Navy, the UK has used medical hovercrafts to reach the remote areas of Delta in South-South Nigeria and the North-east, providing healthcare to underserved communities.

Shedding further light on the Future Cities Nigeria Programme through the UK’s Prosperity Funds, she said they support a range of strategic interventions in Nigeria, including Lagos and Abeokuta.

“The programme is addressing key barriers to prosperity, urban planning (to provide technical assistance for spatial restructuring); transportation (to provide technical assistance to develop integrated multi-modal public transport systems), and resilience (to provide technical assistance to develop strategies to address the impact of climate change and ensure development is sustainable).”