The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), Nigeria has commiserated with the families of those who were injured or lost their lives in the Thursday train accident involving a staff bus in Ikeja, Lagos.
It prayed for the speedy recovery for the injured commuters involved in the accident just as it proffered what it called “short and long term measures” to address the menace headlong.
Describing level crossings as essential safety infrastructure for the free flow of transportation where there are intersections between two or more modes of transport, it explained that road is designed, constructed, and maintained by a public authority separate from the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) which owns, maintains the rail tracks and operates the trains.
According to a statement signed by its President, Mrs. Mfon Usoro and obtained by Maritime Bits, CILT said best practice dictates that rail specific infrastructure such as barriers, gate house, rails and level crossings with adequate signage and audio warnings should be provided and maintained by the railway authority.
The short term measures CILT recommended to the government for consideration and implementation include clear demarcation of responsibilities and efficient coordination between the road authority and the rail authority in managing intersections and the need for party responsible for funding the safe operations of the infrastructure should be revisited.
It argued that 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.
Continuing, the institute which has continued to make waves since the election of Usoro as its President over a year ago said: “With proper dimensioning of roles, adequate funding should be provided for in the budget of the Nigerian Railway Corporation. 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”.
Other short term measures include erection of barriers; construction of road bumps/speed retarders; presence of law enforcement agents at the level crossings to compliment the work of the gate keepers; as well as aggressive safety awareness campaigns targeted at commuters by the relevant agencies like the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and state traffic agencies.
The long term measures proffered by the institute include reducing the prevalence of intersections and separation of the routes for rail tracks and roads.
It averred that new constructions should as far as is practicable not include intersections in designs. It also maintained that flyovers or tunnels are preferred options.
While commending the Federal Government for the speedy set up of an investigative panel on the accident, it re-iterates its call for the setting up of an independent body that will be tasked with investigation of all transport related accidents as recommended in the National Transport Policy.
According to CILT, 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 Minister of Transportation, most respectfully, to submit the National Transport Policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.
Maritime Bits had reported that CILT is the world’s leading international professional body for all sectors of the logistics and transport industry. Apart from the fact that it is a rich resource for provision of authoritative views on systems and policies relating to logistics and transport for government and industry and have highly knowledgeable, the institute also comprises skilled and experienced professionals capable of enhancing efficiency in line with best global practices.