The state of the traffic system is influenced by travel demand and traffic supply characteristics. Travel demand is defined by Roess et al. (1998) as the number of vehicles or people that desire to travel past a point during a specified period. The main traffic supply characteristic that influences traffic system performance is capacity. Capacity is defined as the maximum number of vehicles or persons that can reasonably be expected to be served in the given time period (Roess et al., 1998). Also traffic management measures influence traffic system performance. Traffic management in some cases enables a more effective use of the available capacity (direct influence). Moreover, in some cases capacity is increased or decreased or certain trips are stimulated or discouraged, for example by means of road pricing (indirect influence).
Traffic congestion is a phenomenon that is associated with urban environment all over the World (Atubi and Onokala, 2005d; Ogunbodede, 2007). This is because we need transport to move from one place to another, especially when trekking becomes inefficient. While traffic congestion has been managed very well in some developed countries, it has continued to defy solution in the developing world. The forecast of global traffic volume (GTV) shows that time phenomena would double between 1990 and year 2020 and again by 2050. This type of growth pattern, as envisaged by the end of year 2020 and 2050, is an indication of what the future congestion portends for the people living in urban environment (Engwitch, 1992). Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as the use increases, and it is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, increased vehicular queuing, the most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles (Atubi and Onokala, 2004a).Many urban centers in Nigeria suffer from inadequate facilities that could ensure smooth urban movement. This is because the rapid growth of cities anywhere in the world has impact not only for the land use also for the spatial expansion. The increase in commuting distance has impact on trip attraction, fares paid by commuters and traffic build-up in some land use areas (Lamata, 2008; Shopade, 2010). The level of urbanization in the developing world indicates that more people now live in cities than before. Cities with one million people and above, according to the United Nations forecast increased to over 300 by the year 2000 in the developing world. This trend will continue because of the rapid growth in population, resulting from improvement in health services and the multificarious functions performed by cities which have been another major attractive force especially in Warri metropolis. The situation as described above has its impact on traffic congestion in the cities of developing world. Thus, the activities which take place in them, make them generators and attractors of traffic, which of course has implications on mobility (Ogunsanya, 2002). Warri metropolis have been noted to be very busy with automobiles, especially during the peak periods. During such peak periods, traffic noise comes from vehicle engines, exhaust systems and horns. Busy urban roads generate between 70-85 decibels of noise, depending on the characteristics of the traffic, speed and type of road surface.
The tolerance level of noise is put at 66-68 decibels; meaning that with 70-85 decibels, a significant number of people are irritated and the negative effect of noise on health could be better imagined (Ameyan, 1996; Atubi, 2006c).According to Odeleye (2001) the menace of road traffic congestion across the globe seems to defy immediate solution and like a dreadful monster it stares gallantly andridiculously at erudite urban planners and administrators in industrial and developing countries of the world.
Cities and their transport systems are fully complementary. As defined by Rodrigue et al (2006), cities are locations with a high level of accumulation and concentration of economic activities, which form complex spatial structures that are supported by transport systems. The transportation systems according to Berry and Horton (1970) are the veins and arteries of urban areas linking together social and functional zones.
Urban productivity is highly dependent on the efficiency of its transport systems to move people and goods between multiple origins and destinations. Thus, the most important transport problems are often related to urban areas when transport systems, for a variety of reasons, cannot satisfy the numerous requirements of urban mobility (Rodrigue et al, 2006).
Emergency can be defined as a sudden serious dangerous event, situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and requires an immediate response or action to deal with it. Emergency can be caused by natural events (e.g. hurricanes and tornados), accidents (e.g. motor, fire or hazardous material spills), or intentional attack (e.g. terrorist bombings or armed robbery attack). An emergency situation requires a quick and focused response as human life and property may be involved.
Emergency Management has to provide powerful planning and control tools in order to support rescue operations. This requires real-time traffic priority control based on reliable fleet management, route planning and tracking of emergency vehicles. Unambiguous and time-optimal route guidance is essential for this application. Emergency locating and calling systems using automatic vehicle identification and generally available mobile communications are to be given particular emphasis.
The provision of emergency services is an important responsibility of various levels of government and a large number of departments (such as Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Fire and rescue, ambulance and policy, storm and sanitary sewer department etc) in Nigeria. A significant operation for the handling of emergency incidents is the routing of responding vehicles to incident sites and then to the closest appropriate facilities such as hospitals, ambulance station and fire stations. Developing emergency management system using GIS requires up-to-date digital road database. This type of road database provides direction, access to streets, and linear relation between streets and point locations, such as accident location, hospitals, fire stations, ambulance stations etc. GIS technology can support emergency responders to provide efficient response in quick response time through solving the routing problems. The whole idea is to draw together the elements of integrated urban traffic management in a coherent way so that common strategic understandings and technologies could be developed. This has enabled effective and efficient progress to be made towards European-wide system implementations to help solve current and developing urban traffic problems.
This project will look at the concept of how to use GIS functionality to create digital spatial database for road network in responding to traffic congestion and emergency services in Warri and its environ. A network is any system of interconnected linear features such as roads, railways, rivers, water/gas pipelines and telephone/electric lines. Network analysis will help users to take decision on the following which form the focus of this study.
- Efficient travel routes
- Quickest way to get somewhere
- Quickest way to visit several locations
- Which facility is closest
- Which hospital/Police station should respond to emergency situation
1.2 Statement of Problem
One of the most significant urban transport problems is traffic congestion. It is experienced when the supply of the urban transport networks can no longer meet the demand for them. Today nearly all cities in both developed and developing countries suffer from traffic congestion. It manifests itself predominantly in recurrent queues, delays and time wastage which commuters experience along major networks especially during rush hours. Due to incessant increase in population, increase in household incomes and its resultant increase in the level of car usage coupled with poor land-use planning, poor transport design and planning, traffic congestion has become an intractable problem in urban centres in Nigeria.
Lack of comprehensive emergency management plan in Nigerian cities is the major cause of death and loss of properties in many instances when disaster occurs. Many lives have been lost in the process of emergency rescue due to lack of digital road network and lack of the knowledge of best or alternative routes to the disaster point as well as the emergency unit.
Traffic congestion is a major curse on urban movements. It is a plague that has become an integral part of normal life in almost all urban areas in the world. More seriously, traffic congestion causes unpredictability in journey times, thereby making commuters in Warri to plan for these problems by leaving home early just to avoid being late.
The problem of traffic congestion in urban areas is worse at road intersections. Indeed, there is no other point on cities roads that can be greatly congested as road intersections. As defined by O’Flaherty (1997), intersections (where two or more roads meet), are points of vehicle conflict. Similarly, Mchsane et al (1998) noted that at no other location within the street and highway systems are so many potential and actual conflicts than at road intersections. This is because at intersections, vehicular flows from several different approaches making either left-turn, through and right-turn movements seek to occupy the same physical space at the same time. In addition to these vehicular flows, pedestrians also seek to use this space to cross the street and thereby worsening the already bad traffic situation.
Some of the problems facing road traffic system in Warri is the:
- Hastiness of bus drivers to complete as many trips as they can in a day;
- The street trading habit along the major road such as Warri-Sapele road, Jakpa road;
- Poor traffic control and management,
- Indiscriminate parking of active and inactive vehicles along major roads.
In all states in Nigeria including Warri, the rate of growth of vehicle ownership far outstrips the rate of growth of road traffic officers/vehicle inspectors.
There is need to involve a system whereby people can find the best or alternative road to get to the hotel, market, for leisure and also police station and hospital in an emergency situation. In order to make better informed decisions during an emergency, there is need to deploy GIS technologies in the management of traffic in Warri.
1.3 Aim of the Study
The aim of the project is to develop a GIS based Traffic management system and Emergency Response Management system for the improvement of transportation and emergency recovery through solving the routing problems and accessibility to closest facilities.