Professor Mustapha Muktar, PhD
Department of Economics
Bayero University, Kano-Nigeria
One of the key factors that play a pivotal role in a region’s economic growth is the presence of a reliable and efficient transportation system, this is mainly due to the fact that a well developed transportation system provides adequate access to the region which in turn is a necessary condition for the efficient operation of manufacturing, retail, labor and housing markets. Transportation is a critical factor in the economic growth and development. It is a wealth creating industry on its own inadequate transportation limits a nation’s ability to utilize its natural resources, distributes foods and other finished goods; integrate the manufacturing and agriculture sectors and supply education, medical and other infrastructural facilities. There is the need therefore to maintain and improve the existing transportation and build new infrastructures for a national wealth. Transportation infrastructure is critical to sustain economic growth because people want to improve their standard of living and they see increased income as the way to achieve that goal, transportation system enhancement are in turns a means of maintaining or improving economic opportunities, quality of life and ultimately income for people in a particular region. Transportation also contributes to the economy by providing millions of jobs. It allows men and women to earn their living by manufacturing vehicles and by driving, maintaining, and regulating them to allow for the safe and efficient movement of goods and people.
Urban Transportation Problems Urban transport problems remain one of the most nagging problems in urban transportation today. All over the world, attempts have been made to tackle the problems, yet the situation seems to get worse. Cities are centres of economic, social, cultural and intellectual activities.
These activities result in the drift of the population from rural to urban centres and these congregations have caused cities to expand without control in many areas, causing congestion, environmental and social problems. Various approaches have been taken to combat urban transport problems. In ancient Rome for example, Julius Caesar once prohibited the movement of cars during day light to relieve traffic congestion on roads. Among the most notable urban transport problems are traffic congestion and parking difficulties; longer commuting; public transport inadequacy; difficulties for non-motorized transport, less of public space, environmental impacts and energy consumption, accident and safety, land consumption and freight distribution. Also many dimensions of the urban transport problem are linked with the dominance of the automobile. Transportation problems are related to urban land use. Indeed, transportation is regarded as the heart of urban land-use function. The intimate relationship between transportation and land-use is acknowledged by the fact that at the heart of every city’s master plan is a long-run transportation network. The distribution of land uses within a city varies greatly and determines the transportation requirements. But in general, cities consume about 3 percent of the total landmass at the global level. Although, variation exists on the distribution of land uses depending on the city, residential land-use is the most common occupying between 65 – 75 percent of the surface of a city. Commercial and industrial land uses occupy 5 – 15 percent and 15 – 25 percent of the surface respectively. Since each type of land-use has its own specific mobility requirements, transportation is a factor of activity location and is therefore associated intimately with land use. Transportation and land-use interactions mostly consider the retroactive relationships between activities which are, land use-related and accessibility which is transportation related. These relationships have often been described as a classic „chicken-and-egg‟ problem since it is difficult to identify the triggering cause of change; do transportation changes precede land-use changes or vice-versa?