Transportation Project Topics

Measures for Improving Vehicular Traffic Congestion in Port Harcourt

Measures for Improving Vehicular Traffic Congestion in Port Harcourt

Measures for Improving Vehicular Traffic Congestion in Port Harcourt


Objectives of the study

The main objective of the study is to examine the measures for improving vehicular traffic congestion in Port Harcourt. Specifically, the study sought the following:

  • To review the literature on existing studies concerning road traffic congestion in major urban cities of
  • To investigate the causes of traffic congestion in Port Harcourt.
  • To investigate and proffer possible remedies to the traffic congestion problems Port Harcourt.



Theoretical Review

The theory of “predict and provide”, “predict and prevent” as postulated by Goodwin (1997) is synonymous with problem of urban traffic management. According to Goodwin (1997) the axiom was:  first we forecast how much traffic there will be, and then we build enough road space to accommodate it. This was the axiom, according to Goodwin (1997) that aided the rapid and huge expansion of road capacity, which eventually produced the national network of motorways in England. This is a process of meeting the travel demand by supply of additional road infrastructures. However, the flaw of this programme anywhere in the world is that it has never kept pace with traffic growth.

Conceptual Framework

Concept of road traffic congestion

Road traffic congestion is imminent when users of a particular facility begin to interfere with other users, due to the limited capacity of the infrastructure (Buton, 1982; Sadiq, 1999, Varaiya, 2005). Again, traffic congestion on a freeway sets in once the density of vehicles exceeds a certain critical number. Since the addition of a single car to a road that has already reached its saturation level will result in “dead-weight”, that is road traffic congestion. Above the dead weight, both vehicle speed and vehicle flow will drop precipitously thereby making travel time between two points on the road in question to become unpredictable. Other related problems include fluctuating transportation cost, excessive fuel consumption as well as aggravated auto-induced pollution. This are noticeable phenomenon on Port Harcourt roads.




Area of study

Port-Harcourt was created by the British colonial administration of Nigeria between 1912 and 1914. It is located within latitudes 4o 44’ 58.8” N and 4o 56’ 4.6” N and longitudes 6o 52’ 7.2” E and 7o 7’ 37.7” E. (Figure 3.1). Port Harcourt experiences tropical humid climate with lengthy and heavy rainy seasons and very short dry seasons. The municipality is endowed with abundant sunshine and the temperature ranges between 25°C and 28°C (Ogbonna, Amangabara and Ekere, 2007). As of 2016, Port Harcourt urban area has an estimated population of 1,865,000, a sharp deviation from the 2006 figure of 1,382,592 (Wikipedia, 2018).  Road construction in this area presents serious constraints in real terms due to its peculiar terrain. Port Harcourt is characterized by a low lying coastal plain, which geologically belongs to the sedimentary formation of the recent Niger Delta, with an elevation of less than 15.24m (Oyegun, 1999). The drainage of the study area is poor because of the presence of many surface water bodies’ and heavy annual rainfall, which is between 2000mm and 2400mm (Mmom and Fred-Nwagwu, 2013). However, Bonny River, New Calabar River, creeks and streams drain Port Harcourt Municipality and all enter into the Atlantic Ocean through estuaries (Chiadikobi, et al., 2011).




In order to determine the characteristics of the respondents, respondents were asked to classify themselves according to the following: Sector of the economy, employment status, profession and registration with professional bodies. The results are presented in tables 1 to 4. Table 1 below shows that 62.8% of the respondents are from the public sector of the economy, while 30.1% are from the private sector. & 7.1% constitute mainly students of tertiary institutions.




This study has brought into focus the measures for improving vehicular traffic congestion in Port Harcourt. The main causes of congestion have been considered indicating that poor driving habits, poor road network, inadequate road capacity, and lack of parking facilities are the greatest causes of traffic congestion in Nigeria. As result of inadequate or formalized parking facilities, cars owners are compelled to park indiscriminately thereby jamming the freeway for easy access. As result, vehicular traffic movements become as slow as 10kmph. This reduced speed is protracted to a saturated point of vehicular bunching on major roads like Port-Harcourt – Aba road and Ikwere road.  The second most significant causes of vehicular traffic congestion in the metropolis is adequate mass transit system. As a result of inadequate means of mass transportation, private motorization with individual car ownership is high. This is accompanied with poor traffic management, poor condition of roads amongst others.

The study has also highlighted some remedies to improve traffic congestion in Nigeria. Good road network, encouragement of mass transport system, proper traffic planning/management, regular road maintenance, construction of interchanges and regular education of road users are among the recommendations to reduce traffic congestions. The various state governments controlling most of these cities affected by congestion should encourage the use of reliable mass transit buses to reduce the number of vehicles on their urban roads. Proper and consistent bus stops which are not too far apart should be sited across each city, including provisions for enforcing compliance by bus drivers. The Federal and State governments should initiate plans for the introduction of other forms of urban transportation such as Metros and Trains which support mass movement of people as done in major urban cities globally.


Vehicular traffic congestion in Port-Harcourt metropolis could therefore be addressed through the followings:

Parking Management  

Parking management is the term that describes the variety of parking policies and strategies that can be employed by city Authorities to alleviate parking and other related transportation problems. The following parking management measures are recommended for Port-Harcourt metropolis:

  • Parking Charges
  • On Street Parking
  • Enforcement and adjudication
  • Off Street parking
  • within the activity centre
  • fringe and corridor parking

Implementation of one or combination the above strategies on Aba Road would reduce   the challenges created by wrong parking and its implications on road space reduction. The outcome of enforcing parking a management measures would be parking orderliness and freer road space for vehicular movement amongst others.

Development of Mass Transit

In order to reduce the traffic congestion effects of private motorizations, there is the need to develop and invest on rail and bus mass transit on major and high trafficked corridor. Such corridors that command high traffic and connect residential places to commercial and industrial centres are Aba road, Ikwerre road, Trans-Amadi road and East/West road. These roads would require mass transit implementation to reduce private motorization. Other means of public transport could be re-organized on other roads to serve as feeder to the major traffic corridors.


Transport activities in Port-Harcourt metropolis are currently carried out by different agencies. This however has resulted to over-lapping functions and duplication of efforts. To coordinate the various transport functions and modes of transport, in Port-Harcourt metropolis, a metropolitan Transport Authority should be established by law. The Authority would be responsible for planning, regulation, provision of infrastructure for all the transport modes as well as enforcement of traffic laws in the metropolis.

Public Private Partnership

In the drive towards implementing mass transit projects, private sector participation should be encouraged. This has become imperative as a result of different and yet important projects are demanding attention for public interests. The government of the metropolis should therefore concentrate on providing the enabling environment, provision of mass transit infrastructures, service standard setting amongst others whilst the private sector should focus on rolling-stock acquisition and management of the operations of the services. In Nigeria for example, in most urban cities like Lagos and Abuja, the operation of urban mass transit services is dominated by private sector.


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