The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria has commiserated with families that lost their loved ones even as it outlined some safety measures to present such transport disaster from reoccurring.
CILT Nigeria President, Barr. (Mrs.) Mfon Usoro conveyed the condolences and other remarks in a press statement disseminated yesterday.
While extending it prayers for a speedy recovery for the injured commuters involved in the train collision that occurred in Lagos on Thursday, the Institute stressed that level crossings are essential safety infrastructure for the free flow of transportation where there are intersections between two or more modes of transport.
“The road is designed, constructed, and maintained by a public authority separate from the Nigerian Railway who owns, maintains the rail tracks and operates the trains. Best practice dictates that rail specific infrastructure such as barriers, gate house, rails and level crossings with adequate signage and audio warnings be provided and maintained by the Railway Authority,” the statement read.
As part of short term measures, the Institute recommended that the government created a clear demarcation of responsibilities and efficient coordination between the road authority and the rail authority in managing intersections.
“The party responsible for funding the safe operations of the infrastructure should be revisited. The present system of shared financial responsibility for the provision, manning and maintenance of the safety infrastructure at intersections appears cumbersome and leaves room for lack of accountability.”
“With proper dimensioning of roles, adequate funding should be provided for in the budget of the Nigerian Railway. There are minimum safe distances that must be observed at stops and intersections. A train requires a minimum of 320m adequate distance (safety over-run). This implies that to stop a train in motion, the driver must apply the brake about 320m to the stop point. It is an extremely difficult feat to manoeuver a successful emergency stop for a moving train with shorter safety over-run. This underscores the imperative of installing functional and well manned safety infrastructure at every infrastructure.”
According to CILT, there should be erection of barriers, provision of road bumps/speed retarders, law enforcement agents present at the level crossings to compliment the work of the gate keepers and aggressive safety awareness campaigns targeted at commuters by the relevant agencies like the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and State traffic agencies.
For long term solutions, the CILT posited that there should be reduction of intersections and separation of the routes for rail tracks and roads. It proposed that new constructions should opt for flyovers or tunnels are preferred options instead of intersections.
Meanwhile, the professional body commended the federal government for speedily setting up an investigative panel on the accident.
“The CILT re-iterates its call for the government to set up an independent body that will be tasked with investigation of all transport related accidents as recommended in the National Transport Policy. It is not best practice to expect the agencies directly or indirectly involved in accidents to investigate itself. The establishment of the proposed National Transport Safety Board aligns with global practice and is long overdue. We call on the Honourable Federal Minister of Transportation, most respectfully, to submit the National Transport Policy to the FEC for approval,” Usoro added.