Urban transport systems and commuter mode choices: A field experiment in Ghana

Project Active from to Cities

The traffic congestion resulting from too many cars moving to the central business district in the city is a symptom of an inefficient and ineffective public transport system. Such is the experience of Accra, a city with the third highest traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa following Lagos and Luanda. According to a recent World Bank study, transportation and land use concerns, particularly traffic congestion, is the most common complaint by residents of Accra. With an estimated annual rate of urbanisation of 3.4%, traffic congestion remains a significant challenge to city planners in Ghana. Urban passenger bus transport in Ghana's cities is also provided primarily by individually-owned highly unionised minibuses or trotros (Type “A” transport system) and, although this unionisation provides a stable system which is well understood by the passengers, there are several limitations in terms of efficiency, vehicle and service quality.

To address these challenges, the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE) was established to coordinate urban passenger transport activities in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and to facilitate the implementation and operationalisation of a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system (Type B system) on the major transport corridors in the region. GATPE has identified four major transportation routes into the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra, called transport corridors. The corridors are: Amasaman-CBD corridor, Adenta-CBD corridor, Kasoa-CBD corridor and Tema-CBD via the beach road corridor. These corridors coincide with the major road networks connecting Accra to other major cities of Ghana. GAPTE has chosen the Amasaman-CBD corridor to pilot a BRT system before eventually scaling it up to the other three corridors. The system which is being piloted, called the Ayalolo, is scheduled to start in June 2016. The BRT will be a scheduled, well-branded and well-coordinated bus system that operates with a modern fair collection system as well as dedicated bus lanes and stops. It will have well-trained drivers to ensure passenger safety and professionalism.

The introduction of the BRT system as an alternative transport mode for commuters provides a unique opportunity to study and understand the determinants of transport demand in Accra and Ghana. This project therefore asks: will this introduction encourage commuters to switch from driving their own cars into the CBD to using the BRT system? In this study we propose to use a difference-in-difference methodology to examine the impact of this introduction on transport preferences and choices in Accra. The project will also investigate the impact of the BRT system on location decisions and rental property values along the selected corridor and examine the impact of the BRT system on air quality along the corridor.