Commuting in a metropolis like Lagos comes with the daily experience of spending several productive hours in stalled traffic. The roads, some of which are riddled with potholes, are unpredictable. The breakdown of a vehicle or an accident could worsen the entire situation for road users, if not properly managed.
As road users, we can’t always know the cause of a major traffic incident and how long it would take for one to drive through it. In very tough traffic situations, it is a common sight to see the drivers come down from their vehicle to try to find out the cause of the traffic from street hawkers. In those situations, however, turn back is impossible and advancing is also a problem. It leaves you stuck and frustrated.
If one had an eagle’s eye on the roads, the motorist would have had knowledge of the situation ahead and opted for an alternative route; or completely suspended the trip if possible.
However, the establishment of the Lagos Traffic Radio in 2012 by former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola is helping motorist solve the problem of extended traffic time by providing reliable traffic information. Among other things, it has been the eagle’s eye for motorists, advising Lagosians on the state of the roads around the city and to a large extent, it has been effective in that regard.
Many motorists now confidently rely on the platform to plan their itinerary and to choose the best routes to get to their destination in the earliest possible time.
Despite its huge success in that regard, the Lagos Traffic Radio which transmits on 96.1fm has not been resting on its laurels. There have been considerable efforts by the state-owned broadcast station under the leadership of Tayo Akanle, who serves as General Manager, to improve and expand its traffic advisory role to Lagosians in these four key ways.
- Online: Despite being a terrestrial broadcasting station, it has also leveraged on the growing online community for the delivery of its service. The station has latched on platforms like Facebook and Twitter to disseminate traffic information to its audience.
This led to an appreciable increase in organic Likes/Followers on its social media platforms within a short period. For instance, in August 2018, the official Facebook page had about 4,000 Likes but has now increased to over 20,000, a 400% increase.
Also, the redirection of its online radio streaming platforms through the official website and Mobile Application were steps taken to make the station more visible. The station has now connected with more people, birthed a multi-platforms window for information dissemination and also become more engaging.
The online traction generated through these deliberate moves gave the station a new online pedestal in a competitive radio community, achieving a strong online presence ever since.
- Provision of traffic information on other modes of transportation: The idea behind the establishment of the station might have been to serve road users. However, the station is expanding its scope to provide traffic information on waterways, train and flight schedules which is a laudable achievement.
The idea behind this initiative is to expose commuters to the workability of the modes especially on waterways movement of Ferries, create the necessary awareness and ultimately decongest the roads.
- Human capacity development: In terms of human capacity development, the station’s leadership is working on new strategies to develop and update the competence of its personnel. This informed the decision to hold the maiden management retreat from 6th – 8th December 2018 with the theme “Reinvigorating the Brand in a competitive market”. It was conceived because of the need to review and assess the station’s business process towards becoming more efficient and effective.
Significantly, the retreat opened the station to new prospects as it becomes obvious that giving traffic updates hitherto at every 15 minutes throughout the day cannot subsist, given the new reality of the increase in vehicular movement. Hence, the resort to 10 minutes traffic updates at intervals.
Coming on the heel of the success of the maiden management retreat, another one was organized for all staff with the theme: “Re-energizing the Workforce for Improved Productivity”. The idea was to share the redefined vision, mission statement and core values of the station with all staff.
- Review of Advert Policy: Running a radio station costs money and a major revenue source for broadcasting stations is from advertisements. The average radio station inundates the listener with several commercials. However, for Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1fm, it is a different situation. The priority of the station is providing service on the traffic situation to motorist, not generation of revenue.
In view of this, the station reviewed its advertisement policy and concluded not to take adverts such as live appearances on Forex trading, online business and religious jingles amongst others.
In addition to the aforementioned, other key areas being explored include the introduction of Mobile Courts updates, propagation of the Executive Order of His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and filing of live reports during major incidents on roads among others.
To access more traffic information, the station is also exploring other sources of information such as sharing of motorists travel experiences, Google Traffic Map, social events travel advisory and a host of others.