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The importance of inter-modal transport system in Nigeria with reference to the Asaba-Onitsha transport corridor since the pre-colonial period
Transportation system in Nigeria is predominantly uni-modal. It is estimated that over ninety per cent of goods and passengers are transported by road. The over-reliance on road transport for the conveyance of goods and people has contributed greatly to the deterioration of Nigeria’s roads and the attendant increase in road maintenance costs. Scholars have revealed that a single means of transport cannot adequately serve the transportation needs of the majority of people living in urban centres. The cities of Asaba and Onitsha located on the west and east banks of the river Niger have outlets for water-based transport and rail services, but are yet to be fully developed and integrated with the dominant road transport system. It is against this background that this paper examines the current transport challenges in the transport systems in the area and the wider Nigerian context and advocates for inter-modal transport system, that is, the blending of road, water and rail to facilitate easy movement of people and goods. The paper submits that the development of an efficient inter-modal transport system would minimize the frequent chaotic traffic congestion experienced by motorists and commuters on the Niger Bridge that links the two cities, and eastern and western states with other parts of the country.