Across the four geographical demarcations of Ibadan city, it is not difficult to know that vehicular movement is impacting people’s mobility and productivity. From Iwo Road to Bodija and University of Ibadan to Dugbe, roadside markets and indiscriminate parking of vehicles are affecting movement, making the work of traffic wardens more cumbersome.
For the University of Ibadan to Dugbe route, University of Ibadan to Secretariat and Sango junctions remain the problem points, according to a recent study and our observation. Dugbe roundabout, Iwo Road interchange and pedestrians crossing express road are the problem points of heavy traffic on Dugbe-Apata, Lagos-Ibadan expressway and Adegbayi-Alakia routes.
When motorbike, motor vehicle and pedestrian crashes occurred information indicates that “the motorbike (MBC) hotspots are mainly concentrated within the metropolitan areas, while motor vehicle crashes (MVC) are common along the major highways (dual carriage road). The Ojoo-Moniya axis of the Lagos-Ibadan express road, Iwo Road interchange, Akinyo street, Bishop Akinyele road, Parliament Road, Queen Elizabeth Road, Oba Salawu Aminu Road, Oba Adebimpe Road, Fajuyi Road are some of the hotspots for the motor vehicle crashes.”
Meanwhile, our analyst notes that the recent production and presentation of a smart traffic warden unit by the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence [RAIN], an Ibadan based company, has indicated that businesses in the city can refine and turn existing data into products that could solve the perennial traffic problem in the city. “We can solve local problems locally,” Dr Olusola Sayeed Ayoola, founder of the centre, says on one of his social media handles.
“Enough of imported expertise which result in abandoned projects after minor faults. This is a traffic warden stand equipped with solar powered traffic lights for use in either Auto-mode or Manual Override. A novel concept because it is the first of its kind globally. This is modular, can be moved from junction to junction when needed. A CSR project by RAIN. I think every busy T-junction in Nigeria needs one.”
Reacting, Bello Adeyemi, a follower on the social medium, notes that “It is a great idea. However, there is a need to consider [putting] a glass that can be opened and closed in form of a window. That will help the traffic personnel in case of rain and sun.” Another follower [Kufirre Ebong] adds that “add something that enables the traffic lights switch based on the intensity of traffic in any of the lanes (making it somewhat intelligent) using computer vision.”
Responding to Ebong’s suggestion, Dr Ayoola points out that “there are certain conditions that call for that, and we won’t need computer vision to aid that either. There are basic obstacle sensors for such. However, in this case we have not sought to demonstrate complicated solutions, hence the option for the manual override.”
When our analyst asked Nurudeen Adesokan, the Head of Partnerships for the centre, why the unit is not called Robot Traffic Warden, he says “Not yet. We want to make it a gradual improvement to full AI, but first understand the challenges with the current smart traffic. This one provides opportunity for override by traffic wardens located there. All these information will be compiled towards the fully autonomous unit.”
Both Dr Ayoola and Mr Adesokan stressed that there are additional challenges that could prevent full deployment of robotic traffic warden in the city. According to them, government needs to fix dilapidated roads across the city. “Though there are roads in Ibadan that could sustain it, but not that Alesinloye junction for now,” Mr Adesokan says.