This study was conducted to examine the role of transport system in rural development in Okpe L.G.A of Delta State. It has been observed that untarred/seasonal roads and foot track dominates in the study area. Lack of good roads in the study area has great negative impacts on the socio-economic activities of the rural communities. The reviewed literature showed that transport system have been faced with numerous problems due to poor road maintenance and bad road, lack of fund to construct good roads, poor road network. A total of 150 questionnaires were administered to the respondents in the selected areas of Okpe L.G.A of Delta State. The hypothesis formulated was tested using Chi-Square techniques. The result of the findings indicates that transport system has a significant impact on rural development in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State. The findings also reveals that transport system has played significant role in the development of Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State. The study concluded that there is a significant relationship between the causes of road accident on urban/rural road and the problems of transport system in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State. The study recommended that the government and private organizations should organize public awareness programs on the dangers of inexperience driving alongside the positive role of transport system on rural development.
1.1 Background to the Study
Most of the journeys made by the rural poor are for subsistence tasks. For them, access to local facilities and the primary transport network is critical during times of need, especially for health, social and economic reasons (Ahmed and Donovan, 2012). Improvements to the primary village network of paths, tracks, culverts, and access routes that reduce the burden of basic household and productive tasks, as well as the increased availability of intermediate modes of transport with larger carrying capacity are likely to have a greater initial impact on the well-being of the poor in Nigeria rural areas (Kishiue, et al, 2005). Therefore, improving transport within a village is as important to the poor and very poor as providing access to markets outside the village. Dakyes and Ogbuli, (2012) opined that market roads should be designed to follow the Christaller’s traffic principle and accordingly pass though the largest possible number of villages. They added that each incoming hinterland to market road ought to have a complement of dendritic feeder roads branching out into the various villages. Access to good markets for rural communities to dispose off their farm produce should be considered a matter of urgency by the government (Todaro, 1981). This will no doubt enhance the income level of the people thereby reducing the level of poverty in the rural areas especially in Nigeria. The poor require genuinely integrated programs of support right through the cycles of production, transportation, and sale (Owen, 1987). The poor need support to make use of the opportunities that rural roads may bring. For the poor to travel for productive purposes, the provision of transport services must be linked to some livelihood and income diversification activity that builds on or supplements their existing subsistence activities. Therefore an integrated rural development will be an inevitable path of success for the rural communities (Starkey, 2001).
It can be established It has been observed that untarred/seasonal roads and foot track dominates in the study area. Lack of good roads in the study has great negative impacts on the socio-economic activities of the rural communities. Studies has shown that improvement in transportation by given priority in road development will no doubt enhance the socio-economic activities of the study area thereby improving the well-being of the people in the area (Dakyes and Ogbuli, 2012).
Atubi and Onokala (2004b) pointed out that “in human geography, one of the most fundamental themes is spatial interaction. That spatial interaction involves the movement of goods and services and people between various centres in space. In general, when constructing or improving a road network where economical solution for one road link may not necessarily be the best solution for the network as a whole. That the cost of implementing one project to high standards may consume resources that would be better spent over the whole network, or in filling other gaps in the network with lower standard roads.
Furthermore, for any meaningful division of labour and specialization in production process to take place in any society (such as Okpe L.G.A of Delta state) there must be an efficient and effective means of transport (Atubi and Onokala 2004a). The various Feeder roads and paths are constructed to connect the interior parts of the region and this gives room or serve as an advantage to motorcycle (Okada) and tricycle (Keke napep) transport system in Okpe L.G.A of Delta State.