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TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT IN GHANA - CASE STUDY - CONGESTION ON THE TETTEH QUARSHIE AKO-ADJEI CORRIDOR

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Rev. Lambert Ntibrey, Aalborg University MICT Project

 Supervisors: Prof. Knud Erik Skouby (Aalborg University(CMI) , Dr. Robert A.Baffour (GTUC)

2010

 

 

Introduction

Traffic congestion may be defined as having more vehicles on the road than it was designed for (Baffour R., 2010). In his article entitled “Managing Traffic Congestion in Accra by overhauling the Signal Timing Procedures” Dr. Baffour gave a grade of F to vehicular traffic during the morning and the evening rush hours in Accra. According to the article, it appears the roadway network is woefully inadequate, the traffic control devices are completely archaic, and the driving public is mostly ignorant of traffic rules. The roadway geometry and the roadway networks in Accra make it doubtful if Accra has a Travel Demand Forecasting Model that helps with the planning of the traffic situation in Accra (Baffour, 2010).   

 

In Accra and other parts of Ghana, a temporary congestion may occur due to incidents such as: 1) an accident on the road, 2) a stall vehicle (a common occurrence in Ghana), 3) two or more road users fighting on a road, 4) a malfunctioning traffic control device such as a traffic signal (a common occurrence also), 5) the police on traffic duties, etc.. A permanent congestion may occur when: 1) the road has simply exceeded its designed carrying capacity, 2) when proper traffic control devices are not used, 3) when a traffic control device is wrongly used, for instance, when a traffic signal is poorly timed, or 4) a terrible design flaw such as the termination of a four lane traffic to a two lane traffic such as the condition at Mallam Junction, from Kasoa to Kaneshie. Most of the causes cited above may be taken as special projects if our cities are to enjoy smooth sail of traffic (Baffuor R., 2010).

It has been observed that production levels are largely affected by traffic congestion on our roads in Ghana, especially in the capital city. Lives and property are lost due to flouting of traffic regulations. The statistics is alarming.

 

 

METHODOLOGY

 

This study focused attention on the Tetteh Quarshie - Ako-Agjei Corridor, a stretch of about 6km. The study of traffic management in Japan, Michigan, Canada, and Europe form the basis of direction for this methodology. The study seeks to define in clear temrs what contitutes congestion on this corridor. Data was gathered from personal experiences as a road user in Accra living  in Adenta for the past 26 years, interviews, video shots on foot from Legon to the Ako-Adjei interchange ( a span of about 8km). Significant has been an interview with a news vendor situated just at the entry of the Tetteh-Quarshie – Ako-Adjei Interchange from the Legon end. He shared his five years observation at this post. A Google-Earth aerial study of the road networks linking the corridor, and the topology of the roads. This aerial study also took into consideration the relocation of residents in the Awapim ranges comuting to the Central Business District for business. also studied was the possible dirting roads and their contribution to congestion and decongestion of the corridor. Video study onboard busses and trotro as they sought alternative routes to avoid congestion on the corridor were also studied.

 

 

Historical efforts

 

The Corridor is situated within the Accra Metropolitan Assembly(AMA) administrative jurisdiction. According to Ralph Mills-Tettey (year), employment needs and its resultant urban migration has brought much pressure to bear on Accra and its environs. This results into unbearable problems for the built environments of Accra, where planning is already a problem. (Ralph Mills-Tettey), (Grant, 2011). Some of these problems include housing, development control, transportation and traffic management.(Ralph Mills-Tettey, year)

 The problems have been further worsened by the displacement of inner city residents as a result of converting inner city residential areas into commercial centers. People who cannot get reasonable accommodation tend to resettle away from the inner city.(Ralph Mills-Tettey, year). This extends to about 10km beyond Tema (Sakalogues, 2010) and thus to about 40km from the Central Business District.

 

 There are a growing numbers of people living outside the area of jurisdiction of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) commute to work within this area. They commute from places like Kasoa, North Gbawe, Madina, Adenta, Amasaman, Ashongman, Nsawam and Aburi, Ashiaman, Sakumono, Spintex Road Area and Tema township. (Ralph Mills-Tettey)

 

 

Congestion on the Tetteh Quarshie Ako Adjei Corridor

 Congested operations is defined as

 …the entire range of operations which may be experienced when traffic demand approaches or exceeds, or both, the capacity of the signal.(Dineen, 2000)

 

Attempts to use either of the various available alternate routes from Sakumono to the Central Business District, yields an average of 2hours. The result is higher rate of fuel consumption and increased pollution  (Sakalogues, 2010). 30 minutes was spent on the motorway between Action Chapel and the Toll booth, a distance of less than 2km. A bad situation is exacerbated by many drivers who drive on the shoulders of the roads to avoid a queue. (Sakalogues, 2010)

 

The heavy traffic on the Tetteh Quarshie and Motorway sections, disappeared on the removal of the toll booth and resurfaced when the electronic gates were introduced (Sakalogues, 2010). Installation of traffic lights at wrong places and non-attendance to road defects has contributed to congestion on the Spintex road leading to Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.(Gyan-Appenteng, 2011)

 

 “Traffic movement however on other major roads in Accra at present is very slow and tedious during the rush hours. There are too many small passenger-capacity private cars, taxis and mini buses (trotros) plying the roads of Accra. There seem not to be any restrictive policy on the growing number of licensed small passenger-capacity taxis and the roads they could use. Private cars, small taxis, minibuses and all other kinds of passenger vehicles in this regard have access to all roads in the city without any restrictions.”(Ralph Mills-Tettey)

 

 

Decongestion efforts

“In the past few years there have been several road improvement works on major transit routes in the city like the Kanda Highway, from the 37 Military Hospital to Achimota Forest, Independence Avenue to the Airport, redirecting traffic on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Kojo Thompson Road in opposite directions.”(Ralph Mills-Tettey)

According to the Metro Works Engineer of the Department of Urban Roads, Alhaji Abass Awolu The Department of Urban Roads (DUR) targeted about GH¢8million in 2009 to complete ongoing road projects within the Accra metropolis to make them more motorable and reduce pollution. This scheme included work of traffic lights and efforts and a central control system. (Ghana Business News.com, 2009)

  “Recently however there have been some initiatives with some mass transit bus services. Ghana cannot for now afford an underground metro transport system that would carry more passengers, reduce commuting times and road traffic. However, some suggestions have been made and need to be practicalised in resuscitating a basic inter-city rail transport network. Right now there is a trial Nsawam Accra daily rail service. A similar system running from West-East from the Winneba Road / McCarthy Hill direction through the city center to Tema, and another one running South-North from High Street to Amasaman in the Ga North Municipal District can bring a lot of relief and make commuting less stressful for many workers in the city.”(Ralph Mills-Tettey)

The Accra Mayor, Alfred Vanderpuje stated that “inner lanes were being designed to try and ease the situation there”(GhanaWeb, 2010). Work is also ongoing on the Spintex Road. This was earnestly being pursued for completion by December 2010 by  the Deputy Minister for Roads, Dr. Oakley Quaye Kumah, (GhanaWeb, 2010) thus showing the determination of government to decongest the corridor.

 According to the Daily Graphic, the ongoing construction works on the Accra Polo Club-Spintex road is aimed at reducing traffic on the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange by diverting traffic from the Central Business District [Ako Adjei Interchange extended] and the Tetteh Quarshie interchange, which is usually high during peak hours, onto the Spintex Road and other linked roads including Madina  (Daily Graphic, 2010).

 

Factors contributing to congestion

 

  1. Road network effects

a)      classification of roads intersecting the corridor

b)      Bypass roads

c)      Lack of information on bypass roads resulting in diverting vehicles ending up lockedup on raods they presume would have been free for passage.

  1. Traffic light effects

    a)      Number of traffic intersection.

          b)      Number of pedestrian crossing.

          c)     Insufficient time for pedestrians to cross road double lanes

  2. Attitudes of drivers

     a)      jumping of red lights

     b)      driving on pavements and sideways

     c)      delayed response when traffic light comes on green

     d)     non roadworthy vehicles on the road

     e)      Driving in wrong lanes. e.g. driving in the inner lane inside the Akuafo interchange when final movement is intended to move straight on instead of turning left.

     f)       Bypassing drivers stopping on the road to converse.h)      Sluggish takeoff when the light is green 

  3. Over speeding resulting in:

 i.      Sudden stoppage at traffic lights resulting in vehicles  rear-ending those ahead of them in pile-ups

 ii.      Vehicles quickly converging at traffic lights.

  1. Road incidents

a)      Effect of broken down vehicles maintained on the road

b)      pushing of broken down vehicles

c)      Street hawking

d)     Activities of commercial vehicle.

e)      operation of Bus stops

f)       cart pushers

g)      Motor riders jumping such red lights and knocking down pedestrians

  1. Attitudes of pedestrians

 a)      Pedestrian crossings –

 b)      Crossing when red light is on for pedestrian and vehicles are moving

 c)      Crossing when red light for pedestrians is on and no vehicles is in sight.

  1. Migration of settlement to locations beyond Tetteh Quarshie Interchange and its effects
  2.  Anticipated effect of completion of new roads  - Tetteh Quarshie Mallam, Tetteh Quarshie Mamfi, Airport – Spintex
  3. Red light override by traffic control officers (police, traffic wardens)
  4. Effect of structures in the vicinity of Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.

From this study, unless the activities on the Tetteh Quarshie - Ako-Agjei Corridor is analyzed in conjunction with activities on its various link roads as well as activities stretching as far back as Tetteh Quarshie - Manfe corridor, traffice management on and across the Tetteh Quarshie - Ako-Agjei Corridor cannot be well understood and designed for. From the nature of 'structures' on this corridor, it qualifies to be classified as a security watch over. The mounting of surveillance cameras on this corridor and its links roads would not be out of place.

It is a critical road crisscrossed by the Accra - Tema Metropolis  from the perspective that this road is crisscrossed extensively on daily basis by inhabitants and workers from the Tema Metropolis and the Accra Metropolis. The nature of the location distribution of business activities in the Mettropolis demands massive commuting on and accross this corridor. Unless commuters have forehand information on vehicular activies on this corridor and its link roads, traffic cannot be effectively management.

The proposed solution design analysis to resolve the above findings will be posted in another aticle to follow.

These findings will als be discussed in detail in a later post.

 

References

 

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 ITS Canada. Annual Conference and General Meeting. Available from Internet: http://www.itscanada.ca/english/index.htm [Cited 16/08/10 02:21:50]

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Available from Internet:http://www.iasi.cnr.it/~travers/paperTraVerS_1.DOC

[Cited 11/08/10 19:10:10]