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Transportation is that aspect of economic activity which provides for the carriage of person and goods from one place to another. Transportation can prosper only if the transport system is provided which enables the necessary carriage to be made, in a way and at a cost which are acceptable not only to those making the movement, but also to those whose surroundings is affected by them. Robin Chase 2008, an American transportation entrepreneur opined that, “Transportation is the center of the world! It is the glue of our daily lives. When it goes well, we don’t see it. When it goes wrong, it negatively colors our day.” The transport sector, no doubt apply a uniting and incorporating impact on the economy by connecting localities, opening new areas of economic activities and increasing potential customers. Areas of primary activities (Agriculture, Forestry, Mining) cannot be economically viable until the production sites can be connected to the market places. Despite these advantages, transportation still remain the main cause of traffic congestion and road traffic collisions (RTC), which result in the loss of productive activity, injuries and death. Traffic congestion occurs when a volume of traffic generates demand for space greater than the existing road capacity; this point is usually termed saturation. Since vehicles share the road infrastructure among them, as well as with other (vulnerable) users, conflicts are bound to occur even without saturation. Such conflicts especially at intersections, could cause traffic congestion or traffic collision, as such, the need for traffic management.
Traffic management in high income countries involved the deployment of instruments to stimulate an uninterrupted ﬂow of traﬃc on highways and urban road networks. For example, ramp metering installations (RMIs) are used to control the inﬂow of traﬃc at on-ramps. Another example is the variable message sign (VMS), which keep road users informed about the existing road conditions ahead. They can also block a lane temporarily and equally suggest appropriate speed limits automatically. Research is still being conducted in the ﬁeld of automatic coordination of these dynamic traﬃc management instruments. To date, no consensus exists about the best conﬁguration of traﬃc management system, but generally, traffic management encompasses vehicle registration system, traffic information systems, traffic law enforcement and collection of other traffic data to increase the effectiveness of the use of existing road infrastructure. Increasing efficiency is one of those best solutions for improving all types of processes including public transport. However, the vast causes of traffic congestion in major cities in the world required evolving workable solutions which of course include huge deployment of technology to address the problem. There should be “home grown initiatives’’ to tackle the distinct conditions presented in every city. This does not for-close sharing of experiences among city administrators to widen their exposure as they get some of the borrowed experiences domesticated.
Domestically, collection of traffic data in Nigeria is done manually and as such, some elements of human error are bound to occur. In addition, it is clumsy, slow and uneconomical. Despite these problems, the trafﬁc volume continue to increase by the day, which calls for state-of-the-art intelligent trafﬁc information for real-time trafﬁc administration and management. This entails gathering of accurate information, not only for the state of trafﬁc and roadway conditions, but also real-time information in case of emergencies like traffic collisions. Use of drone in traffic monitoring, which is entirely a new initiative, will provide an eye-in-the-sky solution to the problem. Although there has been voluminous research on using drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in road traffic administration and management, it has not been put into practice yet anywhere in the world. This is because research is still on to determine an easy way to integrate many drones into the airspace without colliding to each other.
Another research also focused on determining the best way of transmitting and analyzing trafﬁc data acquired from UAVs, the type of data that should be collected and the information that should be extracted to design trafﬁc simulation models and evaluate trafﬁc networks. While low income countries are still battling with the manual approach to traffic management, high income countries are currently using technologies such as inductive-loop detectors, video, radar and ultra-sound techniques, which they will likely transfer to low income countries only when they adopt a more advanced technologies. To find a way around, Nigeria can adapt a manual usage of UAVs. The manual usage of drone will allow an operator to take aerial pictures of traffic corridor and see the real-time cause of traffic congestion, thereby deploying immediate remedy. The word drone (UAV) have two distinct meanings: the first one is a low buzzing sound that goes on continuous basis, and second means, the male bee. They adapt the name because drones also fly and produces sound like group of bees. In simple term, a drone is something like a flying robot that is either operated by human from remote location or work automatically through set mode. Earliest drones were designed for military purposes, but the commonest use of modern drones are to record or snap aerial videos or pictures. Drone technology have potentials in the areas of Pipeline security patrols, Prison security, Wildlife protection, Search and rescue operations, Oil spill clean-up operations, Law enforcement applications/support and Traffic administration and management.
Traffic congestion in Nigeria bedeviled many highways. Journey times from one point to another, have remained unreliable and travelers have continued to face disturbing inconveniences especially along Abuja-Kaduna-Kano corridor, Okene-Ogori-Isua-Owo corridor, Makurdi-Otukpo-Obollo Afor-9th Mile corridor, Asaba-Abraka-Ughelli-Warri corridor, Ibadan-Ogere-Sagamu corridor, Sagamu-Mowe-Lagos corridor, amongst others. Road transportation account for well over 70% of mobility needs in the country as available records indicate that Nigeria has about 14 (Fourteen) million registered vehicles. This places a huge burden on the road which often gave rise to pot holes and occasional road failure. Such bad sections of the road worsen the already congested traffic situation or causes occasional road traffic crashes (RTC). To address those challenges, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) established the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in 1988 with the objectives of minimising RTC, clearing road obstructions for easy passage and offer First Aid assistance to victims of RTC among other duties. Subsequently, the agency became the lead agency in road traffic administration, leading to reductions in RTC and traffic congestion. However despite these achievements, road traffic administration in Nigeria still fall short of International best practices. There are still cases of unregistered vehicles plying the roads and congestions during (daily, weekly and annual) peak periods. This has serious implications to safety and security on public road. The purpose of this paper is to proffer ways to administer the road traffic in Nigeria using Drone Technology. This paper will examine the overview of Drone Technology in Road Traffic Administration (RTA) in Nigeria, the challenges to application of drone technology for RTA, the prospects of drone technology in RTA and Plan for the application of drone technology to RTA.
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