Finalizing our recommendations for Smarter Transportation in Lagos

With just a few days left to go in Lagos, our team is busy finalizing our recommendations and final presentation for the Governor and key officials. We’re continuing to validate our proposal with IBM transportation experts around the world so we’re confident that the solutions we’re suggesting are going to address the traffic congestion challenges in Lagos.We’ve met with all of the key government agencies to be sure we’re addressing their specific needs, and that they’re confident that they can actually implement the solutions we’re proposing. We had an opportunity to preview our presentation with the local IBM team, and other IBM leaders across Africa. The team has been extremely supportive of our philanthropic efforts, and helped make sure that we are addressing all of the challenges that they experience everyday.

One of our last visits was to the Lagos State Drivers Institute. This is where commercial drivers get their licenses. This group goes beyond truck and bus drivers. In Lagos, many “business” people have their own drivers for several reasons: Parking is nearly impossible in the central business district, and with hours of commuting time, this allows people to make calls, do work, or handle personal matters while on the road. It was interesting for us to understand the local laws and guidelines that all of these drivers need to abide by.

Here are a few photos from the institute. They have a great simulator for drivers to use in many different scenarios: Rain, fog, traffic, highway and other conditions:

simulator drivers

To enforce the use of seat belts, they have each driver sit on this accident/impact simulator. It simulates an impact at 40mph so people can understand just how dangerous it is to travel at that rate of speed with no seat belt:

rob seatbelt

Then just a few random photos from the past few days. We visited an orphanage for teenage girls and gave them some IBM MobileFirst shirts:



It’s rainy season in Nigeria which means that it rains (quite heavily) just about every day. It will go from sunny skies to dark clouds and pounding rain in a matter of minutes:



Here’s a view from the highway. What you’re looking at is actually a mass of rooftops over a market area:


This is a long line at one of the local bus stops. It’s one of the reasons we’re suggesting more buses, and better scheduling and route planning:

bus line


Lastly, here is a photo of a sea of “danfos” which are the unlicensed mini-buses which account for the majority of vehicles on the local roads in Lagos:

Part of our proposal is to remove the danfos and introduce more public transportation — buses, trains, ferries, and cable cars — which will ultimately be safer, more reliable, and less expensive than the danfos. The State of Lagos wants to hire many of the danfo drivers to work for the city as bus drivers and other transportation jobs. This is already happening in small pockets. There are people who own several — up to 10 or more — danfos, and the city is trying to franchise the city buses to people like this.We’ll be closing out our presentation and taking it to the government later this week. We’ll report back with a summary of our proposal, and the response from the government officials.

#smartercities Challenge

1 Comment

Filed under Lagos, Nigeria

One response to “Finalizing our recommendations for Smarter Transportation in Lagos

  1. I am very much convinced that ideas from outsiders can never work for Africa. This is because you do not experience the African reality and also not many outsiders do have true love for Africa.
    Lagos was once a proud land of fantastic and well-organised transportation system until Oku Eko bus (used buses) were imported in the late 70’s by politicians.
    During your sojourn in Nigeria, please observe the quality of the public works (street light structure, traffic light, imported buses etc) mostly by foreign companies and give us your engineering opinion.
    I rest my case and wish you all the best.