Transportation Wants VS Transportation Needs (A Lagos Story)

Traffic Jam (

We Asked Some Professionals in Lagos, Nigeria, About Their Commutes, Here’s What We Found Out

Traffic congestion in major cities is a bit of a norm today. None more so than Africa’s largest economy, Lagos, Nigeria. The most affected segment of the population is the working class. They are, by far, the largest contributors to the morning and evening rush.

In fairness, you can get an idea of how Lagos came to become the 2nd most stressful city in the world.

Living in Lagos takes a bit of navigating.

We asked what people hated most about their commutes to work, and you probably guessed it, TRAFFIC. People do not like to sit in traffic and most of our respondents claimed to be more productive on days that they experienced less traffic.

To find out some of the strategies that these professionals use in tackling their hectic commutes to work, we asked some questions and got some interesting replies.

The first bit of feedback we acquired is that no one completely avoids traffic, however, there are some ways to spend less time in traffic.

Interestingly, we also found that a commuter’s wants do not always translate to a commuter’s needs.


47% of our respondents said that they move across the pond (Lagos mainland to Lagos island or Lagos island to Lagos mainland), every workday.

This speaks to the living situation of a lot of Lagosians. The fact that they have to move that far to get to work, adds time to their commute. This would inform us that living and working in the same part of Lagos is aspirational for many professionals.

Preferred Means of Transportation

47% prefer to drive themselves to work. 29% prefer govt provided public transportation, 12 % would rather carpool to work, and 6% prefer to be driven in cabs.

The majority of commuters prefer private vehicle transportation. This became more intriguing when we asked them about what they believed was the major contributor to traffic, answers: (bad transports systems & too many cars).

Average Commute Time

53% spend between 1 -2 hours getting to work in the morning. That is over 1 hour in traffic every morning, at the very least. This is very worrying indeed. Professionals that spend almost 2 hours getting to work are typically prone to feeling more stressed in their jobs as opposed to those who spend less.

In Europe, most professionals spend less than 30 minutes getting to work, and most would still rather work down the street from home or entirely from home.

Average Time of Departure

From our survey, we found that most commuters (41%) leave home around 5 AM. This group also includes commuters who spend close to 2 hours in traffic. In the US, the average departure time for most commuters is 7:00 AM — 7:30 AM. This puts the situation of these commuters in perspective.


Our respondents had a number of solutions that they believe would alleviate this situation. Some are:

  1. For the government to provide alternative means of transportation
  2. Establish better road systems and networks within the metropolis
  3. Apply stricter penalties for traffic violations

From our findings, the 47% of commuters who prefer private cars as a means of getting to work, contribute largely to the traffic situation. If more people used alternative means of transportation and carpooled, the roads would be decongested.

Now we see the clear distinction between traffic needs and traffic wants.

Commuters desire options that can alleviate traffic jams. However, once they are resigned to the fact that they will experience traffic, they would rather experience it in comfort.

Let us know in the comments what your suggestions are for reducing traffic congestion?

MAX is a mobility company that uses technology to make moto-taxis safe, affordable and accessible to underserved communities in Africa.