THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF TRAFFIC JAMS ON COMMERCIAL TRANSPORT OPERATIONS
ImageAn effective transportation system is important in sustaining economic growth in contemporary economies since it provides linkages between different parts of the country and the global world. An efficient transportation system plays an important role in catering to the daily necessities in the lives of the citizens. A well established transportation system is not only key to national growth but also serves as a catalyst for economic development of a country. However, in recent times, cities in the world have witnessed tremendous motorization. Owing to this high level of motorization, combined with increasing population in the face of inadequate traffic management strategies, modern-day cities have witnessed high traffic congestion. The Kasoa road, in the Awutu Senya East Municipal Assembly, is an example of one of such roads with periodic high traffic congestion. This study was therefore conducted to assess the causes and effects of traffic congestion and also its effect on road users.
The study used a mixed research approach where a survey was conducted to interview both trotro drivers and commuters of trotro cars, and GPRTU officials were engaged in an in-depth interview. While descriptive statistics were used to present the survey findings, content analysis was used to present the interview findings. The results show that traffic congestion is primarily caused by the large number of cars, poor nature of some part of the roads, and bad parking/stopping by drivers among others. The causes and effects of traffic congestion on the activities of private commercial drivers (trotro) were it reduces the number of trips they could make in a day, increase fuel use and reduce daily sales. To passengers, it delays their time, leading to low productivity, and is associated with other health effects, among many others. The results point to the need for the rehabilitation of the road, construction of railway lines to serve as alternative routes and use of other strategies for toll collection that will minimize the traffic on the road.
Table of Contents
List of Tables vii
List of Figures viii
List of Abbreviation ix
Chapter One 1
Background of the study1
Objectives of the study9
Significance of the study9
Population and Sample10
Type and source of data10
Limitation of the study10
Organization of Dissertation11
Chapter Two 13
Literature Review 13
Definition of traffic congestion13
Causes of traffic congestion14
Effects of traffic congestion17
Solving the problem of traffic congestion19
Public Transportation in Urban Area in Ghana20
Conceptual Framework underlying the study23
Chapter Three 23
Sampling techniques and Sample size28
Source of Data28
Method of Data Collection29
Analysis of data29
Profile of the study area31
Chapter Four 34
ImagePresentations and Discussion of Findings 34
Demographic Characteristics of Respondent34
4.1.2 Passengers frequency of using the Kasoa road 36
Nature of Traffic congestion on Kasoa road37
Passengers and Drivers assessment of the nature of traffic congestion37
Periods when traffic are high38
Time of the day with high traffic from passengers‟ perspective39
Time of the day with high traffic from drivers‟ perspective41
How often passengers get stuck in traffic42
Causes of Traffic Congestion43
Effect of traffic congestion46
Effect of traffic congestion on drivers46
Effect on overall productivity46
Effect on drivers operations47
Health Effect of traffic congestion on drivers49
Effect of traffic on Passengers50
Effect on overall productivity50
Hours spent in traffic before getting to work51
Effect on health of passengers52
Other effects of traffic congestion on passengers53
Solution to the problem of traffic congestion56
Action by government to solve the problem of traffic congestion56
Possible ways drivers can reduce traffic congestion57
Possible ways the general public can help in reducing traffic congestion58
Chapter Five 62
Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation 62
Summary of Key findings62
Appendix A: Questionnaire for drivers 75
Appendix B: Questionnaire for passengers 79
Appendix C: Interview guide for GPRTU officials 83
List of Tables
Table 4.1: Demographic characteristics of respondents 35
Table 4.2: Frequency of road use 36
Table 4.3: Nature of the traffic congestion 37
ImageTable 4.4: Periods of high traffic congestion 38
Table 4.5: Times in the day with high traffic congestion (Passengers) 40
Table 4.6: Times in the day with high traffic congestion (Drivers) 41
Table 4.7: How often passengers get stuck in traffic 42
Table 4.8: Causes of traffic congestion 45
Table 4.9: Test statistics of effect 49
Table 4.10: Health effect on drivers 50
Table 4.11: Hours spent in car before getting 52
Table 4.12: Health effects on passengers 53
Table 4.13: Other effects of traffic congestion on passengers 55
Table 4.14: Government solution to solve the Kasoa traffic 57
Table 4.15: Drivers' solution to reducing traffic congestion 58
Table 4.16: Ways general public can help reduce traffic congestion 60
List of Figures
Fig 2.1: Conceptual Framework on the causes and effect of traffic congestion 23
Fig 2.2: Conceptual Framework on the solutions to traffic congestions and its outcomes 24
Figure 4.1: Effect on overall activities of drivers 46
ImageFigure 4.2: Effect on overall productivity (passengers) 51
List of Abbreviation
VAGO - Victorian Auditor-General office
VCEC - Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission GAAS - Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences
ImageGPRTU - Ghana Private Roads Transport Union SPSS - Social Package for Social Sciences
ISSER - Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research ASEMA - Awutu Senya East Municipal Assembly
LI - Legislative Instrument
OECD - Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ECMT - European Conference of Ministers of Transport
GDP - Gross Domestic Product BRTS - Bus Rapid Transit System
Chapter One Introduction
Background of the study
ImageImproving the social and economic wellbeing of the citizenry is the aim of every nation. The long-term goal of government is to raise the standard of living of all Ghanaians to a level consistent with that of a middle income economy. One basic economic and social necessity that comes into focus when discussing economic and social development is transportation. Transportation is an activity of life processes and seeks to provide access to various activities that satisfy mobility needs of humankind (Arasan 2012).
According to Eddington (2006), an effective transportation system is important in sustaining economic growth in contemporary economies since it provides linkages between different parts of the country and the global world. It links to work, delivers products to market, underpins logistics and supply chain, and supports local and international trade. A well established transportation system is not only key to national growth but also serves as a catalyst for economic development of a country. Thus, there is a positive relationship between transportation and productivity (Lu et al. 2009).
At the individual level, Wane (2001, p.1) also points out that „transportation is a crucial vector for urban insertion since it gives access to economic activity, facilitates family life and helps in spinning social networks. It links the different spaces of the city on which an individual or a family has to implement his or its tri-dimensional strategy of life (i.e. family, work, residence). So, urban mobility is at the heart of the challenges faced by any city dweller‟.
ImageConsequently, cities in the world have witnessed tremendous motorization during the recent century, especially since 1988 when global car population exceeded 400 million (Walsh, 1990). The reason for this phenomenon, according to Dimitriou (1990), is that in both the Developed and Third World countries, few activities are more poorly managed than urban transport. As such, the failure of public transport to meet the needs of travelers has intensified the demand for private cars.
Owing to this high level of motorization, combined with inadequate traffic management strategies, an aging and ill maintained vehicle stock, as well as inadequate land use and transportation planning, especially in the Developing Economies, modern-day cities have witnessed a very significant proportion of traffic congestion (Agyemeng, 2009). Described as a phenomenon of increased disruption of traffic movement on an element of the transport system, traffic congestion is most visible when the level of demand for movement approaches or exceeds the present capacity of the element (Taylor, 1999). As Taylor et al. (2000) argue, traffic congestion presents a common, if not inevitable, facet of traffic activity in a region, particularly in urban areas.
Although there is traffic congestion in most major cities of the world, there is no standard definition of it. In general, congestion occurs when the number of vehicles using the road is greater than the capacity of the available road space, impeding the efficient movement of traffic (VAGO, 2013). Rodrique et al., (2009) states that congestion can be perceived as unavoidable consequences of scarce transport facilities such as road space, parking area, road signals and effective traffic management. They argue that urban congestion mainly concerns two domains of circulation, passengers and freight which share the same infrastructure. Thus, traffic congestion condition on road networks occurs as a result of excessive use of road infrastructure beyond
capacity, and it is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip hours and increased vehicular queuing (Takyi et al., 2013)
ImageTraffic is a sign of mobility and of a dynamic economy. However, excessive congestion causes a range of undesirable consequences. It has equally created an artificial barrier to a cost effective flow of goods and persons along our highways linking major towns together (Popoola, Abiola and Adeniji, 2013). It imposes costs on the community and businesses through longer, less predictable travel times; lost productivity and additional running costs of vehicles; increased pollution, noise, loss of amenity, driver stress; and reduced time people spend with their families (VAGO, 2013)
For instance, in 2006, the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) estimated the economic costs of Melbourne's congestion ranged from $1.3 billion to $2.6 billion per year, and that this was likely to double by 2020. These costs incurred by the community as a whole generally are not paid for by the road users who have caused them. While some level of congestion is a signal that existing road capacity is being used, the challenge is to reach an 'optimal' level of congestion where some road users travel on other modes of transport or with other users; travel at a different time of the day; postpone their trips to another day; or eliminate the need to travel (VAGO, 2013).
African‟s urbanization is variously referred to as „parasitic urbanism‟, „urbanization of poverty‟ and „premature urbanization‟ (e.g. Ravallion et al., 2007; Kinver, 2007), echoing Professor Mabogunje‟s (1968) claim that urbanization has outpaced economic development. To the World Bank, Africa‟s urbanization is runaway, negatively correlated with economic growth and fuelled by strife in rural areas (World Bank, 2000).
Like the rest of Africa, Ghana has had disappointing experiences with Rural Development and Structural Adjustment Programs aimed at addressing urban problems (Obeng-Odoom, 2007b). Speaking (Kwakye and Fouracre, 1998, p. 1) at a conference in Cape Town, South Africa, the Director of Planning at the Ministry of Transport and Highways, Ghana, and his advisor said:
Image“The urban transport system in Ghana is characterized by the congested central areas of the cities, poor quality of service from public transport operators, high exposure to road accidents, and poor environmental standards. This is seen in long commuting times and journey delays, lengthy waiting times for public transport both at and between terminals, high accident rates, and localised poor air quality”
The analysis and solution to the urban transportation problem in the GAAS study was provided by Addo (2002) and Tamakloe (1993). They suggested that Ghana is „over-urbanized‟. Given the country‟s technological backwardness and weak management, they argued, satellite towns should be created and linked to the main cities by excellent communication lines. They also argued that the planning gap between highway engineering and Town Planning should be closed and that institutions responsible for transport planning be brought under one umbrella. While these solutions may promote administrative efficiency, it is difficult to see how they could have remedied the root causes of the urban transport problem.
It is argued here, more fundamentally, that the urban transport problem is the expression of a stressed system which is typified by the absence of alternative transport like rail, poor quality public transport, low tech urban roads, the surge in on-street hawking of goods and services and the either weak and/or poorly enforced urban transport regulations. This is a system that claims about 1600 lives and causes over 10000 injuries on an annual basis (Obeng-Odoom, 2009).
ImageUrban transportation opens up opportunities to access essential services as well as social activities (Arasan, 2012;Rodrigue et al., 2009; Lu et al.,2009). Business activities depend on urban transportation systems to ensure the mobility of its customers, employees and suppliers. The urban transport services cover a range of important social and economic services such as commuting; shopping; trips to places of education and freight distribution. Effective urban transport fulfills the demand for accessibility within cities (Okoko, 2006).
Economic and social activities of human kind revolve around transportation. It is a link to almost all sectors of an economy. Virtually everything we do relies on transportation. Trade within and between different regions is vital to economic development and directly depends on transportation (Kulash, 1999; World Bank, 2002). Thus the importance of transportation to societal growth cannot be underestimated. Broadstock (2011) and Pacione (2005), state that increasing wealth and high population, and availability of vehicle loan facilities result in more car ownership than current transportation network can handle. It could be inferred from the above statement that there is a relationship between income level and car ownership and that the dominance of private car usage, particularly within cities, is likely to increase even further as a result of rise in household income with its attendant traffic congestion and high consumption of fuel.
Traffic congestion has been one of major issues that most metropolises are facing. Some issues that have been identified as having contributed to this include the rural-urban migration (with its resultant pressures on the planning of the metropolis), the displacement of residents from the central business district (to convert residential facilities there into commercial facilities), the poor road networks, the increasing number of vehicles, poor timing of traffic signals, and attitudes of road users (Ofori-Dwumfuo and Dankwah, 2011)
As Taylor et al. (2000) argued, traffic congestion presents a common, if not inevitable, facet of traffic activity in a region, particularly in urban areas. It is also believed that the high volume of vehicles, the inadequate infrastructure and the irrational distribution of the development are the main reasons for increasing traffic jam (O‟Toole, 2012).
ImageThis phenomenon has resulted in, among other things, longer travel times, additional fuel consumption, high pollution levels, vehicle wear and tear, disutility from crowding; and (in the longer run) the costs of relocating jobs and residences and a deteriorating urban environment that has a direct bearing on sustainable development (Intikhab et al., 2008; Palma & Lindsey, 2001).Aside the economic costs, traffic congestion can have profound adverse impacts on the social (e.g. people unable to physically contact relations on time), environmental (e.g. excessive emission of carbon dioxide to cause global warming) and safety concerns.
Given the enormity of the problem, policy makers all over the world have implemented several measures to cut down or minimise the impacts of traffic congestion by properly maintaining the current road and bridge system; constructing new roads, bridges, and non-highway infrastructure; encouraging an appropriate balance between different modes, especially by developing alternatives such as public transportation and finally, employing transportation systems management and operations strategies to maximize the capacity of the infrastructure already in place (Paniati, 2004).The Government in its attempt to salvage the situation has been expanding road networks in almost all our major cities but the more they expand, the more people import cars for their domestic use (Ghanaian Chronicle, 2007).
When one wants to travel within the city, there are usually two options available: either a private car or public transport. If the person wants to travel between two cities, usually there is a third option, a public bus. The number of private cars in Ghana is increasing. Overall, the number of
registered vehicles in Ghana increased from 511,063 in 2000 to 841,314 in 2006 (National Road Safety Commission, 20083). Private cars in Ghana are generally not available on hire purchase and so it requires significant income to purchase one. Generally, private cars are owned by medical doctors, bankers, lawyers, accountants and politicians. Public transport is the more common means of movement around the cities (Obeng-Odoom, 2009).
ImageA recent study (ABLIN Consult, 2008) found that „over 80% of road transport passenger services are predominantly provided by commercial transport services‟. Here too, there are two types: taxis (for the middle class) and mini buses called „troskis‟ or „trotros‟ (for the rest)(Obeng- Odoom, 2009).There is a relatively new type of public transport, introduced by Kufour government and therefore gave it a name, „Kufour buses‟. These are cheap in fare but woefully inadequate and riddled with poor management. Though they have helped the transport situation in Ghanaian cities, they are relatively unknown (Obeng-Odoom, 2009).
Apart from stopping to pick a passenger, a „trotro‟ can stop under three (other) circumstances: first, passengers want to buy from hawkers who have invaded the streets and have caused congestion in the cities (Akamin, 2008). Thus in the course of the journey, one can see traders offering food, water and other wares such as dog chains to passengers. Second, a policeman stops a „trotro‟ to either query the driver about an offence or extort some few cedis from him. Third, the „trotro‟ breaks down in the course of the journey. Though some „trotros‟ are roadworthy, many of them are not. With inscriptions like „God is in control; be still‟ and „Fear not‟, the drivers try to persuade potential passengers to ignore their rickety vehicles. An interview by Akoto et al. (2013) tells of a „trotro‟ driver who goes the extra mile to claim that the pitch black smoke that emits from the exhaust pipe of his „trotro‟ is abundant proof that the engine of his „trotro‟ is strong!!
A lot of research has been conducted into the phenomenon of urban transportation across the globe and especially in cities of the developing economies. Most of the research is about travel behaviour (Dissanayake&Morikawa, 2008); pollution (Atash, 2007); regulation and management (Sohail et al., 2004); motorization policies (Willoughby, 2001) and congestion (Daganzo& Cassidy, 2008).
ImageFew authors have shown interest in urban transportation issues in Ghana. These authors have researched on issues such as injuries or traffic accidents (Mock et al., 1999; Jørgensen&Abane, 1999) and modal choice (Abane, 1993). Aside these notable ones, not much has been written on the issue of transportation in the urban setting, especially as it relates to the impacts of traffic congestion on public transport provision.
It can be argued that the mode of operation of „trotros‟ and the condition in which they operate have worsened the urban transport problem. This study is therefore conducted to assess the effect of traffic congestion on commercial transportation from the perspective of „trotro‟ drivers who use the Kasoa road in the Awutu Senya East Municipality. This will go a long way to provide the requisite feedback that could influence transportation practitioners, policy makers, transportation geographers and planners in general, to put in practical measures to address the challenge. This will ensure a general improvement in the transport sector which will have several positive impacts on the residents of Awutu Senya East Municipality.
To achieve the objectives the study, the following research questions guided the researcher in his data collection
· What are the main drivers of traffic jam on the Kasoa road from the perspective of
· How does traffic jam affect commercial transport operation in the Awutu Senya East Municipality?
· What are the costs of traffic jam to commuters who patronize „trotro‟ on the Kasoa road?
· What possible solutions can help minimize the traffic jam on the Kasoa road?
Objectives of the study
ImageThe main objective of the study is to examine the effect of traffic congestion on commercial transport operation. The specific objectives to be achieved by the study are;
· To examine the main causes of traffic jam on the Kasoa road
· To assess the cost of traffic jam to commercial transport operation
· To examine the effects of traffic jam on commuters who patronize „trotro‟ on the Kasoa road
Significance of the study
Research of this nature is intended to be of outmost importance to the government and other policy makers. The issue of traffic congestion is a burden that the government is pooling all knowledge and other resources together to find a lasting solution to the ever increasing traffic jam.
The findings of this study are also intended to inform the Awutu Senya East Municipal Assembly, most especially the Towns and Country Planning Unit about some of the suggestions that can help ease the traffic congestion on the road. It will contribute to creating a strategic line of action in their quest to solve the problem.
To academia, it is intended to contribute to the ongoing discussions on traffic congestions which have become a canker in almost all the urban centers in Ghana. Researchers at all the universities
and institutes in the country are gathering data to help propose policies to stakeholders and other interested agencies that are interested in improving the development standards of the country.
Population and Sample
ImageThe study is designed to examine the effects of traffic jam on commercial transport operations from the perspective of „trotro‟ drivers and offer some solutions to remedy the situation accordingly. In view of constraints, like computational facilities, finance, time and information resources, the study was restricted to the main Kasoa roadin the Awutu Senya East Municipality.
The total sample for the study is 110 comprising of ten (10) GPRTU officials at the main station in the municipality were also selected for the study, 50 trotro drivers and 50 trotro passengers. Thus, the total sample size for the study was 110.
Type and source of data
The study used primary data gathered from the field using questionnaire and interview guide as well as secondary data gathered from books and literature used for the literature review in chapter two. The survey data was gathered from trotro drivers and passengers whiles the interview data was gathered from GPRTU officials
Limitation of the study
The research was not free from limitations. One of the basic issues that confronted the study was how to sample from the population. There was no record on the number of trotro drivers that ply the road. It was therefore a challenge to be able to get a representative sample for the population. However, the choice of sampling methods used did not invalidate the findings of the study.
After sampling, getting the drivers to answer the questionnaire was another challenge. Many of drivers cannot read or write well. So the researcher was forced to employ many research assistants, and this increased the cost margin of the research.
ImageAccess to data was not easy, as anticipated. The persons that were assigned to assist the researcher were often not available. In most cases the data was just not available, making the whole process a little difficult.
Given the scope and time frame the researcher had to complete this work, time constraint became a major obstacle to the researcher. Much money was required for the completion of this work. Like every study done, the respondents may not always be truthful in the answers they give.
Organization of Dissertation
The thesis is organized in five chapters, references and appendix. Chapter one covers a background information to transportation in Africa and Ghana. The problem statement, objectives, research questions as well as the significance of the study are captured in this chapter. The chapter contains information on the scope of the study as well as the limitation of the study. Chapter two reviews the related literature about transportation problems in general. It includes summaries of prior research on road traffic congestion as well as the conceptual framework of the study.
Chapter three covers the methodology of the study, which includes the research design, sources of data, sampling and sample size, data collection and data analysis. The profile of the municipality as well as the ethical issues considered in the study has also been captured in the chapter. Chapter four covers an analysis and discussion of the findings. Chapter five gives the
Imagesummary and conclusion of the study. It also makes some recommendations for policy purposes and future studies in this field..