1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The concern of man over his comfort-ability and safety on the earth’s surface as regards his means and system of transportation is reflected on a number of studies which have and are still being carried out in the area of applied climatology as well as in the number of weather stations established in an attempt to tackle the various problems emanating from the malevolent effects of climate and weather on human activities.
Human activities such as agriculture, commerce industry, transportation and communication are all vulnerable to the effect of weather and climatic condition prevalent at a particular point in time.
It is well know that weather climate are the most important natural phenomenon that affect man positively or negatively either socially, culturally or economically.
Attempts have been made by various authors to define the terms ‘weather’ and ‘climate’ Ayoude (1988) define climate as a synthesis of weather at a given location over a period of about 30-35 years. He also referred to weather as ‘the state of the atmosphere at a given point in time at a given location.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines weather as ‘the condition of the atmosphere (at a given place and time) with respect to heat or cold quantity of sunshine pressure or absence of rain hail, snow, thunder, fog, violence or gentleness of the winds. Also the condition of the atmosphere regarded as subject to vicissiadies’.
Generally, the weather condition of an area is determined after a careful observation of temperature, humidity, pressure, rainfall, wind direction. Thus the climate of an area simply refers to the atmospheric characteristic of an area deduced from repeated observations of while weather refer to the atmospheric characteristics exhibited or prevalent at a given point in time.
The word ‘transportation’ implies and the type of movement we are referring to is the movement of people, goods and services from one place to another for a particular purpose.
The transportation of people arises from the need for individuals to go from one place to another to satisfy some need, whether connected with business or related to social, cultural or recreational interest, while the need for the conveyance of goods arise from the fact that they are often produced in one place and desired at another. Transportation today constitutes one of the major features of the economic development of an area. In recent years, Ekpoma has experienced an unprecedented generally economic boom which has led to the increased diversification in industrial and commercial activities.
Thus, this movement of goods and people has become crucial to the continuous development of the economy of Ekpoma. As the level of development of an area advances, the provision of transportation network becomes important as an effective and safe transportation system is crucial in determining the performance of that economy. Hence, the need to study weather and climate in order to ensure non disruption of the socio-cultural and economic growth of an area become necessary.
The mobility of man increases with technical, economic, social and educational progress. We needs specialized means of transport to assist his effective communication socio-cultural and economic has developed various system of transportation tramps and tubes. Unfortunately, all these transportation system are vulnerable to areas where they are in use.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The importance of road transportation cannot be overemphasized as it relates to the economic development of Nigeria. Apart from facilitating the quick movement of people and goods it has also helped in the flow of information between regions and countries.
Ogundana (1969) asserted that with economic and increasing diversification of in industrial and commercial activities, the Nigeria economy has become almost dependent on transportation of goods and services. As this happened, more and more people are becoming increasingly involved in such transport services such as mail, air, water, and pipeline. Therefore, the transport industry is one that can no longer be pushed aside in the country’s development processes.
Road transportation without doubt is not affective in the country at the moment and Ekpoma is not left out. State of the roads and safety requirements are still below standards and expectation.
And transportation apart from facilitating the movement of goods and people between urban and rural area, it has also helped in the flow of information between these different areas.
It is in view of this fact that this study wants to study the effect of weather and climate on urban transportation within the study area- Ekpoma and its environs.
Climate is perhaps the most important component of the natural environment. It affects geomorphologies soil formation processes and plant growth and development (Ayoade, 1988). As a result of man’s discovery of the fact that his essentials of life are climate dependent, there is the need to understand climate more intimately so as to ensure a harmonious relationship between him and climate.
Climate affect man’s socio-cultural and economic activities in various degrees positively or negatively. Weather elements such as rainfall, frost, blizzards, haze and fog in the proper proportions of time, place and intensity could serve as a term of blessing or course of urban transportation with in a given area. Heavily rainfall sometimes result in flood, erosion and sedimentation of urban roads while fog reduces visibility thus hindering the movement of people goods and services as well as the movement of motor vehicles, motor cycles and bicycles.
Climate does not only affect the system of transportation it also affects the means of transportation through rusting or corrosion of metals (iron) which are used int eh construction within the study area, the rusting of metals results from the combined action of atmospheric oxygen and water. It is accelerated by the presence of carbon (iv) oxide and gaseous pollutants like sulpph (iv) oxide in dueain.
The corrosion of iron is commonly known as RUSTING. Iron rusts by combining with oxygen in the presence of water to form brown hydrated iron (iii) oxide (commonly known as RUST) as show in due equation below.
S4FE (S) X 302 (g) + 2 X N20 (I) = 2fex x H20 (S)
Rust is soft and breaks off easily and when from is exposed to moist air long enough it will rust completely. Thus, climatic elements accelerate the rate if rusting of iron parts installed in any form of vehicles.
Ekpoma has more than 60% of the total road network in the study area coupled with function serves as growth point for the socio-economic and physical development of the surrounding areas. Within Ekpoma and its environs, the major system of transportation is road transportation through the use of motor cars, motor-cycles, bicycles as well as human potages. As a result of the vulnerability of road transportation to the malevolent effects of weather and climate, there arose the need to study and understand the weather condition prevalent in Ekpoma and environs so as to ensure a safe and effective transportation system. For a safe and effective transportation system is perhaps one of the most importation criteria needed in the quest of man for confortability through socio-economic development.
It is well know fact hat climate and weather in flounce transportation activities of man often in paring their efficiency and usability. Adverse weather condition could cause accidents, delays diversions and at times out might cancellations of journeys with resultant loss in human lives and revenue from economic activities. Thus, there is the need to ensure an effective and safe transportation system through adequate scientific research efforts geared towards ameliorating the effect of weather and climate on road transportation within the study area.
Finally, the focus of this study will be on the effect of climate on these different means of transportation viz: motor vehicle, motor cycle and human portage and climatic elements which will be considered in the study area are precipitation, temperature and humidity.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The basic objectives of this study are:
To examine the factors of climate affecting urban transportation in the study area.
To determine the extent to which climate affect the road transportation system in Ekpoma and environs.
iii. To examine the effect of climate on urban road transportation in the study area.
To make recommendations that would improve transportation within Ekpoma and environs.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The hypotheses to be tested in this study are:
Ho: There is no significant relationship between climate and road safety in the study area
Ho: There is no significant relationship between climate and urban transportation development
1.5 STUDY AREA
1.5.1 Location and Size
Esan west is geographically located within the rainforest belt of Nigeria. It is bounded in between latitude 6‑0 20 and 60 50 north and longitude 60 00 and 60 15 est. It shares common boundaries in the north with Owan west and Etsako west local government in the south west Uhumwade south-east Igueben local government area. Ekpoma occupies a very crucial position in Esan west considering it high rate of commercial development by virtue of function. It has a good network of routes serving both local and national traffics. This has enhances its rapid rate of development.
The traditional occupation of the people is farming but today small scale industries are fast springing up among which are post and telecommunication facilities, and post primary school, banks of various forms. The size of Esan west has a mindul size with small scale industries.
-Geology and Relief
Temperature has not been a strong factor in determining population distribution in Africa. However population is highly concentrated where rainfall is abundant and reliable, or where there is enough water supply for agriculture.
Generally, areas with them 38cm annual rainfall cannot support many crops because of constant high temperature and the high rate of evaporation in Africa. The result is that the vast area of the Sahara, the Namih and Kalahari, the semi desert regions of Somalia and the Nyika regions of central and southern Kenya are very sparsely populated.
Other areas with high population density are those with over 60cm of rainfall and these include the east of crast of east Africa and southern African and the west Africa coast lands.
Before 1976 Ekpoma was characteristically rural with isolated settlements, few houses, health educational, commercial and transportation facilities. Road were untarred and were mainly minor road and foot parts.
Road surface and drains have become buried and blocked with sediment. There appears to be a fundamental conflict between natural drainage network and the artificial drainage system over 90 percent of Ekpoma populace are aware of the sediment problem. These problem is as follows:
– Surface water flow
– Sediment hazard perception survey
– Bare surfaces
Ekpoma experiences the humid tropical as a using the koppen climatic classification scheme. The annual rain fall in the area exceed 2000mm with a bimodal distribution. The first peak occurs in July with monthly precipitation of 344.7mm and second in September with 457.2. Most of the storms are convective outburst and they have short term intensities. The highest mean monthly temperature of 291.1E is recorded in March and the lowest 24.4E in June. The soils have been classified as ferallitic being highly weathered, leached and having high proportion of kaolinite and free iron oxide, but generally without a lateritic iron pan layer (Arelke 1990) according to the Nigeria soil map, prepared by the federal survey (1967) the soil type can be categorized as feral soil on loss sandy sediment. The topography is undulating which has given the advantage to easy construction and connectivity of roads.
The sediment problem in Ekpoma
Blocking of artificial and natural drainage ways
Drainage to city highways
Traffic accidents after rainfall
Flash flood incidence
Increase in cost and frequency of street maintenance.
Since 1976 when Ekpoma was made a local government headquarter, it has grown into a urban center. The location of Edo State University (previously called Bendel State University) and other major investment has taken place in Ekpoma. There investment to a great extent have propelled growth in population socio economic activities, employment physical growth and expansion in the area. For instance, while the population of Ekpoma was 13,036 by 1975, it rose to 45,488 in 1991 (national population commission Ekpoma 1992) with only 8.62km2 of the total 62km2 of land area use for physical growth in 1979.
1.5.2 SOCIAL ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
Ekpoma occupies a very crucial position in Esan West considering its high rate of commercial development its high rate of commercial development by virtue of its function as an administrative and educational town (University town).
It has a good network of routes serving both local and national traffics. This has further enhanced its rapid rate of development.
The traditional occupation of the people is farming but today small scale industries are fast springing up among which are the metal industry, gas filing, plant, wood works, leather works, water factories, food processing industry and block industries.
Post and telecommunication facilities re equally available there are also a host of primary and post-primary school, banks and various firms, health and medical services in the area, ample of modernized hospital, annex mobile clinics (geo of Ekpoma, 2005).
The busiest and most commercial part of the town are the area along the major roads especially Royal Market Road, Ukpenu Road, Upoji Junction Express Way, Alli Square, Ujeolen Road Areas.
1.5.3 HISTORICAL REVIEW OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA ROAD SYSTEM
Since the beginning of this century there have been periods of vigorous construction of roads across the entire landscape of Nigeria. The first main trunk main road was constructed in 1905 from Ibadan to Oyo. Immediately after this roads were built very extensively. They were inferior roads, but in those days traffic was lighter and they serve to open up the interior (Iloeje, 1976).
There are over 80,000 kilometer of road in Nigeria of these, over 24,000km are major roads; some 9,500km are surfaced with bitumen and 12,750km with good laterite.
Road in Nigeria can be divided into three types
A Trunk federal government road
B Trunk: state government road
iii. C Trunk minor roads and local government roads.
Road in Nigeria can further be sub-divided based on quality.
The two types recognized are the all0season roads which are several meters wide, surfaced with laterite or bitumen and open all the years round.
The second types of road is the dry season laterite surface road. In the dry season moving vehicles on this type of raises cloud of dust behinds them and in the wet season the roads id deeply gullied by storms, the culverts are often carried away by flood water, and it is thus rendered impassable (Iloeje 1976).
It is a thing of joy to see today that the nation is crisps crossed by large networks of roads of several million kilometers, surfaced with bitumen is compared to those of the early 19th century.