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PROJECT TOPIC: ANALYSIS OF INTRA URBAN TRAFFIC PROBLEMS IN RIVERS STATE: A STUDY OF PORT HARCOURT METROPOLIS

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Chapter one

Introduction

1.1Background of the study

Cities and traffic congestion have developed hand-in-hand since the earliest large human settlements and the same forces that draw inhabitants to congregate in large urban areas, also lead to sometimes-intolerable levels of traffic congestion on urban streets and thoroughfares (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, (OECD) 2007). Traffic congestion in cities has been an issue since the beginning of the 20th century and it continues to be one of the most persistent problems facing road users and urban planners, across the world. According to Engwitch (1992), “Global Traffic Volume (GTV) would double between 1990 and year 2020 and again by 2050.” This type of growth pattern, as envisaged by the end of year 2020 and 2050, is an indication of what the future of traffic congestion  would  signify  for  people  living  in  urban  centres.  Throughout  the  world  in  both  large  and  small communities, traffic congestion is getting worse and thus, causing inconvenience to intra-city work trip makers. Subsequently, the result of this traffic congestion is increasing cost and loss of work hours (Atubi, 2008). One of the key characteristics of transportation problems in Nigeria has been identified as traffic congestion; virtually all state capital cities in Nigeria today face the problem of traffic congestion (Moses, 2011). The case of the Portharcourt metropolis is similar, where elongated traffic jams are observed in many parts of the city and it appears that the road traffic management strategies and officials are incapable of solving it. The salient point here is that ways of mitigating this mobility problem and ensuring a smooth flow of urban traffic have been carried out in different studies as exemplified by the work of urban transport scholars, some identified the causes and dimensions of traffic problems  (Aderamo, 1990 & Bello, 1993) some examined solutions to transport problems (Ogunsanya, 1987;  Omiunu,  1988;  Bolade,  1989  &  Ameyan,  1996)  while  others  examined  traffic  management  strategies (Ukpata & Etika, 2012, Olaogbebikan et al., 2013). However, these conventional approaches to traffic management adopted by previous studies such as one way, odd and even numbers, flyovers, construction of new routes, use of para-mass transit, park and ride system, etc. have not been able to eradicate traffic congestions in Rivers state particularly Portharcourt.  Therefore, an in-depth evaluation of the congestion situation and a thorough road network analysis would be highly beneficial in  understanding  the problem and proffering solutions to it.


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