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Recognizing the need to improve the transport sector in Lagos state, a number of studies were conducted in the 90’s to define appropriate solutions. The Lagos Mass Transit and Transport Systems (LMTS) Management Program study was undertaken in 1992. This work set out to identify actions necessary to address the complex transport situation in Lagos. The study had as one of its major recommendations, the creation of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to coordinate transport policies, programmes and actions of all agencies at different tiers of government.The detailed framework for establishment of LAMATA followed LMTS in 1996. The detailed framework considered functions and responsibilities of existing Lagos State Government transport-related ministries\departments\agencies, and in this context, proposed LAMATA’s role including its core functions, organizational structure, resource requirements and relationship with stakeholders. LAMATA is envisioned to provide a strategic planning platform to address long neglected transport needs of the metropolis and coordinate activities of the different executing agencies to provide a common and consistent basis for implementation.

LAMATA was established as a semi-autonomous corporate body with perpetual succession and an independent board responsible for formulation, coordination and implementation of urban transport policies and programmes in the Lagos metropolitan area. It was created by a State Act (LAMATA Law) signed into law on January 13, 2002 by the then Governor of the State, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Authority has the overall responsibility for transport planning and coordination in the Lagos metropolitan area with the primary mandate to play a lead role in carrying out transport planning, assist in transport policy formulation, coordination of major operational and investment decisions and implementation.

The law grants LAMATA several powers to facilitate the discharge of its statutory functions, including the power to levy and collect user charges in connection with the provision of its services and to collect any other tariffs, fees and road taxes as may be authorized by the Governor.