Vehicle from 980 million units in 2009

Vehicle
ownership has witnessed unprecedented growth around the globe. It grew from 500
million in 1986 to one billion marks in 2010, thus doubling within 24 years, (Dargay,
2007). A study by Ward (2014) showed that global vehicle registration increased
by 3.6 percent from 980 million units in 2009 to 1.015 billion in 2010.  Although this increase is felt notably in the
developed countries, some developing economies also show tremendous growth in
vehicle population.  The rate of vehicle growth in middle income
developing countries of Thailand, Indonesia and Brazil is projected to add
about half as many as what is obtainable in the US between 2003 and 2050 (Dargay,
2007).

In
Nigeria, vehicle ownership has witnessed tremendous increase in the past decades.  Statistics show that it grew by 693 percent
from 1970 to 2010.  A breakdown of the
statistics for some states such as Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and
Bauchi shows that vehicle ownership grew phenomenally by an average of 134
percent (National Bureau of Statistics 2012). 
The rapid growth in vehicle ownership however threatens the
sustainability of the existing road transport system.  It has led to severe traffic congestion, high
rate of road traffic accidents, air pollution, deterioration of the roadway
system and excessive fuel demand. This has also resulted in severe fuel
scarcity that has bedeviled the country in the past decades (Agbonkhese, et al
2013; Nwachukwu and Mba, 2011).

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Three
major efforts were made by the Government to address the problems associated
with vehicle ownership.  These include
first discouragement of automobile dependency through the imposition of high
tariffs on private vehicles and zero tariffs on mass transit buses; second, the
1977 vehicle restraint regulation which mandated private vehicles  with odd and even number plates to ply the roadway
system in Lagos during odd and even number days of the week respectively. This
was targeted towards the elimination of traffic congestion resulting from
automobile dependency. The third was the expansion of road capacities,
construction of interchanges, bridges and network of roads, in such major
cities like Lagos and Port-Harcourt.

The
efforts have not yielded the desired results because rapid growth in vehicle
ownership and its associated problems still persist even on higher scale in the
country.  Available statistics show that
Nigeria has the second highest road traffic accident rate in the world.  Fuel demand has increased to higher levels
resulting in severe fuel scarcity.  The
deterioration of the roadway system, air pollution, traffic congestion and
vehicle ownership are now on a higher scale. The failure of the past efforts
indicates that the parameters that influence vehicle ownership have not been
satisfactorily identified by the policy.

The
parameters upon which the forecast of vehicle ownership in the country was based
namely: gross domestic product and per capita income are inadequate for
formulating appropriate policy to guide vehicle
ownership and eliminate its associated problems.  The existing parameters do not include other
physical and socio-economic factors that are known to influence vehicle
ownership. The identification of these factors is germane to an accurate
forecast of vehicle ownership in the country. 
This poses an enormous challenge which this study has set out to address.
The aim of this
study is to determine factors that influence vehicle ownership. This is with a
view
to developing a more appropriate basis for forecasting vehicle ownership that will
be capable of enhancing economic development as well as minimize fuel scarcity,
traffic congestion, air pollution and road traffic accidents in Nigeria.