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Impact of Traffic Congestion on workers Health A case study of Lagos state, Nigeria

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Impact of Traffic Congestion on workers Health

A case study of Lagos state, Nigeria



1.1 Background of the study

Transport is an important aspect of human civilization because it reflects the economic level and technological progress of a given society. Cities and traffic have developed hand in hand since the first human settlement. According to Armah, Yawson and Papson (2009) found a myriad of challenges for the transportation system with respect to negative purposes, such as traffic congestion and environmental risks. However, it cannot be ignored that cars provide freedom, flexibility and mobility to a large number of people, but the health and environmental effects of traffic congestion are a matter of growing concern. The same forces that drive people to congregate in large urban areas sometimes lead to intolerable levels of traffic congestion on city streets and streets. In addition, the increase in income, combined with a greater propensity to the mobility of people and insufficient mass transportation of the facilities, has led to a sharp increase in the ownership and use of cars in the main cities. The appearance of traffic and, consequently, traffic congestion have revealed the need to improve traffic flow to reduce travel times, safety, average fuel consumption and healthy environments (Ferguson et al., 2004) .

A number of specific circumstances cause or aggravate congestion. Most of them reduce the capacity of a road at any given time, or even a certain length, or increase the number of vehicles required for a given volume of people or goods (Carlos, 1999).

The phenomenon of road traffic congestion became obvious due to the rapid increase in the number of vehicles because it is affordable, safer and faster. Other possible cause includes lack of alternative means of local transport (rail, air or water transportation), unplanned road works with little or no practical diversions, broken down vehicles left in the middle of the roads, poor road infrastructure and absence of an efficient public transport system. Issuance of road worthy certificates to rickety and road unworthy vehicles and licenses to incompetent drivers and disregard for traffic regulations by drivers are major causes of road traffic congestion.

The traffic congestion phenomenon has become evident due to the rapid increase in the number of vehicles because it is affordable, safer and faster. Other possible causes include the lack of alternative local transport (rail, air or water), unplanned road works with little or no practical deviation, broken vehicles left in the middle of the roads, poor road infrastructure and lack of an effective public. Transport system. The issuance of traffic certificates for vehicles in poor condition and in poor condition and driver's licenses for incompetent drivers, and drivers' failure to comply with traffic regulations are the main causes of road congestion.

In addition to these obvious causes, employment patterns, income levels and poor maintenance of our roads, poor workforce due to poor supervision and control, bribery and negligence of traffickers can indirectly obstruct traffic (Ellimah, 2009). In Nigeria in general, and in Lagos in particular, the poor configuration of cities has paved the way for persistent traffic jams. Lagos, for example, is not only a large city, but also an economic center where various industrial, maritime, banking, governmental and private activities coexist. It is believed to be the busiest city in Nigeria.


Traffic congestion is becoming an increasing source of air pollution. First, traffic congestion increase emissions, motor vehicles emerged as the greatest contributor to atmosphere warming as cars, buses and trucks release pollutants and green house gases that promotes global warming.

Traffic congestion makes motorist to inhale vehicular smoke emission resulting into diseases. Carlos (1999) opined that inhalation of particulate matter is associated with increase in people with asthma, reduction in lung function and admission to hospital for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Fergusson, Mahiswalis and Daly (2004) also agreed that air pollution has been lined to morbidity and mortality from various diseases such as coronary disease, aggravation of respiratory disorder and obstructive pulmonary diseases. It is in relation to nasal and ocular symptoms that vehicle exhaust fumes probably have their greatest effects. Surveys in Germany and Japan have shown a higher prevalence of allergic Rhinitis in areas with heavy pollution from automobile exhausts, (Wikipedia, 2010). Road traffic congestion creates mental stress. Stress can be caused by the amount of traffic congestion resulting into road rage has become an increasing social problem. It has been the cause of many attacks on car drivers and has even resulted in several deaths. Disorders attributable to stress includes hypertension, headache, backache, skin disorder, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. Stress is also believed to contribute to coronary heart disease and some case of cancer (Averbach and Cambling, 1997). Stress can also contribute to some respiratory disorder. For example, stress can trigger asthma while proximity to traffic was recently reported to be associated with wheeze in infants, air pollution related to traffic is significantly associated with triggering of wheezing symptoms in the first 3 years of life (Andersen, et al 2008). Almost one in three drivers suffers from a newly recognized disorder, named “Traffic Stress Syndrome”. This is a form of psychological anxiety that certainly affect drivers, while stuck in traffic. Symptoms normally show after being held up in traffic. It is characterized by increased heart rates, headaches, and sweaty palms. In more severe cases, drivers report nausea, dizziness and stomach cramps.

General and Specific Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study was to examine the effects of traffic congestion on the workers who experience it daily in Lagos, to achieve this; the following specific objectives were set.

  1. To identify the causes of urban traffic congestion in Lagos

  2. To find out the types of health challenges Traffic congestions causes to workers.

  3. To determine the relationship between traffic congestion and health in Lagos.

  4. To proffer probable solutions

Research Hypothesis

Hypothesis One

Ho: There is a significant relationship between traffic congestion and health effects in Lagos

Hi: There is no relationship between traffic congestion and health effects in Lagos

Hypothesis Two

Ho: Workers develop health challenges as a result of traffic congestion in Lagos.

Hi: Workers don’t develop health challenges as a result of traffic congestion in Lagos.

1.5   Significance of the study

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being not merely the absence of a disease or infirmity (WHO, 1948).

This study is very important as it touches a critical aspect of life, that is workers. Workers are the wheels of Government and private businesses. The way their health is treated would determine their productivity. So this study would be important to Private employers, Government agencies, road users and the workers themselves

1.6   Scope and delimitation of the study

The scope of this study is focused on traffic congestions and its effect on workers in Lagos state. Due to financial and time constraint, the study was limited to Lagos Mainland Area of Lagos state.


The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Traffic:  This refers to all vehicles, pedestrians, ships, or planes that are moving in a particular area.

Road User:  Anyone who uses a road, such as a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist.

Health effects: Changes in health resulting from exposure to traffic congestions


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

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