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Transforming transport in Nigeria’s megacity


The Lagos Mass Transit System in Nigeria represents a new future for transport in one of Africa’s most populous and rapidly growing megacities.

Situated on the southwestern edge of Nigeria, with views out across the Gulf of Guinea, is the gigantic metropolis of Lagos. Its glittering spires loom over the city sprawl, which stretches across a lagoon to cover several islands and a bustling international harbour.

As Lagos grapples with the challenges that come with urbanisation, transportation has become a crucial municipal issue, with the city’s rapidly increasing population pushing its existing infrastructure to its limits.

The largest city on the continent, according to UN figures Lagos’ population of 15,946,000 in 2023 is double what it was in the year 2000. This rapid expansion has brought challenges, leading to overcrowding, inadequate housing, and severe traffic congestion.

However, urbanisation has also fostered a flourishing innovation sector, a dynamic cultural scene, and economic growth, positioning Lagos as an emerging global city.

Managing its population and urban challenges is essential for its sustainable development and the city’s mass transit system is set to play a significant role.


Joined-up thinking

The Lagos Mass Transit System encompasses a range of transportation modes, including buses, ferries, trams, and a growing network of steel-built railways. This variety allows commuters to opt for the most convenient and efficient means of getting around the city, reducing traffic congestion and improving overall mobility.

At the heart of the new transit system is the city’s ambitious railway network. Lagos is a sprawling metropolis, and its rail system serves as a lifeline, connecting various parts of the city and the surrounding region.

With Lagos built over a network of lagoons, bridge construction is essential for the city’s transit system. With salt water and mangrove swamps forming large sections of the local environment, steel’s durability and ability to be applied with corrosion-resistant coatings makes it the material of choice for the city’s network of bridges.

The expansion of the transit network has been a game-changer, offering a faster and more reliable alternative to road transportation. The first expansion – the Blue Line – opened in September 2023, runs 27km from Okokomaiko in the town of Ojo all the way to the Lagos Marina.