1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Transport is the conveyance of people, goods, information and services from one geographical area to another for some purposes. It is of paramount importance in the life of any nation as it provides the means of interaction and integration of various regions and sectors of any country’s economy (Arosanyin, 1998). The socio-economic development of any society depends to a large extent on the nature and structure of its transportation network since it provides the arteries through which the economic life stream of society flows (i.e. people, information, raw materials and finished products). Furthermore, treansport plays a crucial role in the sustenance and expansion of ancient civilizations, in the circumnavigation of the globe, and in populating the “new world”, (i.e. North and South America) and, in social, economic, political and military spheres of human life (Onakomaiya, 1998).
Road traffic accident is an issue of great international concern as it has emerged as the single greatest source of death all over the world. In the developing countries where the number of motor vehicles relating to population is generally much lower than in the developed countries, fatalities from automobile crashes are higher. It has been shown, for instance, that accidents in developing countries cost almost one percent of these countries Annual Gross National Product utilizing scarce financial resources they can ill-afford to lose (Akpoghomeh, 1998).
Nigeria ranked as the country with the second largest road network in Africa in 2011. Its population density which varies in rural and urban areas (approximately 51.7% and 48.3% respectively) translates to a population-road ratio of 860 persons per square kilometres indicating intense traffic pressure on the available road network. This pressure contributes to the high road traffic accidents in the country (FRSC, 2012).
The Nigeria road traffic situation has reached such an alarming proportion even to the point of sheer frustration and near helplessness. Nigeria continues to feature as one of the countries with the worst road accident records by World Health Organisation. The country’s 149th ranking in 2009 out of 178 member states indicates the hazards associated with road transportation in a country that is largely dependent on its road network for economic, social and physical activities.
Asian countries like China, India and Indonesia with their teeming populations possess better fatality indices even up to 50% less than Nigeria’s statistics. Western countries on the other hand are rated even better, recording less than 10 deaths per 100,000 populations on theaverage, with the UK having one of the lowest with only 5.4 deaths per 100,000 populations (FRSC, 2012).
Indeed news of road traffic accidents in Nigeria no longer stirs any surprise. What may be shocking, however, is the magnitude of the fatality. Daily, Nigerian Newspapers carry news of road traffic accidents that are considered significant only in severity. Sometimes the papers sum up the number of lives claimed as if they were providing an expenditure account. e.g. “over 100 lives lost to fatal accidents in the Nyanya area in the last one year’. Such news indicates that we live in accidents every day. According to Sumaila (2001) road traffic accidents have claimed more lives than deaths resulting from all communicable diseases put together including the dreaded Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Thus, the government and people of Nigeria are deeply concerned about the continuing high rate of road accidents and the unnecessary consequential waste of lives and properties. What is worrisome is the fact that road traffic crashes and mortality rates are still high despite various remedial measures taken in recent years to combat the problem. This clearly suggests one thing that we are yet to get it right.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The poor state of the Minna-Abuja road has become a major concern to the daily users and the government at large as it is the major road linking Minna to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. People who ply the road will affirm to the fact that the road has become a hazardous zone exposing its users to accident and security risks which endangers lives and property. Quite a number of individual car owners prefer to use public transport instead their personal cars to ply the road for the fear of incurring damages on the cars thereby causing them to spend extra on repairs making it economically friendly.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the nature and types of hazards along the study route?
2. Where are the accident black spots and other hazardous spots located along the route?
3. What are the impacts of the hazards on the safety and security of travellers along the route?
4. What measures could be put in place to reduce the level of risk exposure of travellers?
1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this study is to identify road hazards along Minna-Abuja road with intention of reducing the risks associated with road transportation along the corridor.
Objectives of the Study:
I. To identify the nature and types of hazards along the study route.
II. To determine accident black spots and other hazardous locations along the route.
III. To assess the impacts of the hazards on the safety and security of travellers along the route.
IV. To examine the efforts of government on road hazards and challenges along the study route
V. To study the relationship between road hazards and road accidents or mishap along the study route
VI. To proffer possible measures to reduce the level of risk exposure on travellers.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
I. What is the nature and types of hazards along the study route?
II. What are the accident black spots and other hazardous locations along the study route?
III. What is the impacts of the hazards on the safety and security of travellers along the route?
IV. What are the efforts of government on road hazards and challenges along the study route?
V. What is the relationship between road hazards and road accidents or mishap along the study route?
VI. What are the possible measures to reduce the level of risk exposure on travellers?
1.6. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: There is no significant impact of road hazards on the safety and security of travellers along the Minna- Abuja route.
H02: There is no significant relationship between road hazards and road accidents along the Minna- Abuja route
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study takes a look at areas that concern hazards and challenges on road; types of hazards, accident black spots and impacts on those hazards on the safety and security status of the case study and how it affects the population and users of the road. The study also looks at using observed phenomena to device means of mitigating hazards and preventing them from transforming into disasters.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
The right of the road users is breached when conditions (hazards) that put them at harm’s way exist on the road. The more of these conditions that exist on any road, the more the users are exposed to the risk factors that transform those hazards to road disaster. The need to adopt a more efficient and effective way of checkmating such situations to guarantee safety on the roadway and ensure that hazards leading to road disasters that leave the people more vulnerable are reduced to the barest minimum is the main goal of this work.
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