The complex but vital interconnection between road transportation and the economy is what this paper seeks to explore. Our primary focus is not to determine whether road transportation developed or underdeveloped the economy; rather we want to see how road transportation served as a “vehicle’’ for the pursuit of economic goals. The paper discusses how the introduction of modern means of transportation by the British colonial administration brought about a change in the economic landscape of Western Nigeria. It shows that road transportation opened up new areas for economic activities, increased agricultural production, revitalised trading activities and impacted positively on urbanisation process. Although, there were other means of transportation such as rail and water in the study area, these means of transportation would have been greatly incapacitated but for the complementary role played by road transport in the economy. The paper concludes that road transportation indeed acted as the lifeline of the economy of the study region. The method adopted for the study is basically historical, involving the use of primary sources such as archival documents and oral interviews as well as secondary source-material.
Key words: Road, transportation, economy, lifeline, Nigeria.
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