Intra-and Intercity Transportation Systems in Ghana


The transportation system is the basis of socioeconomic development in a nation. It enables the movement of goods and people from an origin to a destination point.  It provides mobility for the purposes of work, trade/business, education, and leisure/pleasure. In carefully planned environments such as cities in developed nations, the transportation system is a vital component of socioeconomical development. In fact, economic development is mostly facilitated by access to an efficient transportation infrastructure, which eventually translates into enhanced social benefits and quality of life.

Transportation infrastructure must be an integral part of development and in sync with other infrastructural developments. However, that is not necessarily true for many developing nations, including Ghana. It makes no economic sense to develop a new sprawling and expensive community with basically non-motorable roads and minimal access to other necessities of life. Impassable roads and poor roadway networks not only compromise safety and security but retard progress and contribute to loss of productivity and revenue.

In Ghana, most transportation infrastructures have outlived their usefulness. Thus, the ongoing projects of roadway reconstruction, rehabilitation, and resurfacing are a welcome proposition. New dual carriageways are replacing the decades-old unmarked and unpaved single roads that characterized colonial-era inter regional highways, feeders, and city road systems, but highways and freeways alone do not resolve a nation’s transportation problems.

In fact, more roads invite more traffic, creating congestion and compromising the free flow of people and goods. Empirical evidence shows that building more roads without effective road maintenance and mobility management does not necessarily stem traffic congestion. Marriage between government and private sectors on highway management systems such as road tolls is what efficiently moves people and goods.

It is heartening that government is progressively developing intercity/regional commuter and freight rail systems that have the potential to alleviate some contemporary travel headaches on Ghana’s roadways.


Most urban and arterial systems expected to maintain mobility from home to work and other purposes of life operate at level “F.” The intracity transit system in Accra and elsewhere in Ghana, dominated by private operators such as taxis; ride-share app services like the Uber, Bolt, Yango; the versatile tro-tro, the “royal” Pragyia, the Okada motorcycle, and other mopeds, supplements the less patronized government buses (the so-called Kufour buses).

The all-terrain Aboboyaa and the workhorse Abossey Okai Macho vehicles are mainly utilized to cart light to medium loads for relatively shorter distances. Tro-tro and Okada operators are notorious for their aggressive and dangerous maneuvers. They swerve and stop suddenly and unannounced, and drive on non-existent shoulder lanes, forcing people to jump curbs, gutters, and anything in between. They also create unnecessary traffic jams, incidents, and accidents to life and property. Invariably, Okada motor riders have no respect for traffic lights, and zoom through intersections, pedestrian and zebra crossings – where available – with impunity. Their unwritten message to traffic law enforcement officers seems to be “catch me if you can!”

Intercity highway private operators such as VIP, VVIP, and express carrier buses and vans like the O &A and 2M buses that complement government’s Intercity STC coaches in moving people from point A to point B are frequent and very visible on highways. However, the speed and maneuverability of some of the express carriers on the highways are hair-raising and dangerous. Their unmitigated excessive speed on highways with heart-in-mouth overtaking has cost a number of lives. It looks as if they are immune to and above roadway and traffic speed laws. Highways in Ghana cannot be said to be on par with autobahns in Germany or freeways in the US to push the accelerator pedal to the floor.


The current wave of arterial roads and highway road constructions in Ghana must be guaranteed, serviced, and maintained (with attention to potholes, sewage, vegetation, culverts, etc.) by the builders within a reasonable period of time in contractual agreement. The last tranche of contractual payment to road builders must be put in an escrow account and released only at the end of the stipulated contractual agreement.

It is prudent for regional capitals that border Accra to have free flow of traffic to facilitate business and trade. To alleviate traffic congestion (and thus extend its useful life), thoroughfares on these roads should be expanded. For example, in Accra, the proposed six-way Adenta-Dodowa highway, which has been in the government’s budget for the past several years, needs express attention. Besides recent suburban sprawl in points east of Adenta, the road is one that connects Accra, the capital of Ghana, to parts of the Eastern and Volta Regions and beyond. Vehicles that originate from parts of Accra utilize the Adenta-Dodowa road to Somanya, Akosombo, Ho, Kadjebi, and parts of the northern regions of Ghana.

On this score, it is important to note that the Accra-Koforidua Road through mountainous Aburi, which was revamped during the Kufour era, is easily motorable to Mamfe. Unfortunately, the remaining 35-kilometer stretch of road between Mamfe and Koforidua is yet to be rehabilitated. Traffic congestion on the Accra Suhum highway for motorists traveling to Koforidua and its environs could be eased if the Mamfe-Koforidua stretch is rehabilitated and dualized.

Several such main and secondary roads are extant in Accra and elsewhere. Kasoa, a bubbling suburb on the Accra-Cape Coast Road, has experienced relatively less traffic congestion after elimination of the toll, but more needs to be done to mitigate the unending traffic bunching to and from the central and western regions of Ghana. Locally, even though the Achimota-Pokuase, Korle Bu-Accra, and Michel Camp-Tema motorway roads have had no tolls, traffic congestion at peak hours has been bad enough. Suburban sprawl has precipitated relocation and gentrification in these areas, increasing population growth geometrically.

Potential Solutions

For efficient movement of people and goods, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, walkways, and bikeways must be incorporated into new and existing city roadways. Structured and coordinated transportation hubs and stops must be strategically situated to help ease avoidable traffic jams on busy roads. For example, in downtown Amrahia, in Accra, tro tro, Okada, and Pragyia vehicles have dangerously created stops between the short distance of Otinibi and Katamanso junctions on the Adenta-Dodowa road, creating traffic gridlocks around the clock. This scenario is replicated in several locations in Accra and other towns and cities.

Coupled with this challenge are min-mounds speed bumps that have no place on contemporary arterial roadways. Besides compromising smooth traffic movements, speed bumps and humps are safety and security risks to presidential motorcades and other vehicles, especially at night. Speed bumps are more useful on local roads where schools, places of worship, and social activities are located.

More roads and better traffic management would operate in a vacuum if there were not an efficient oversight body to monitor all facets of operation and implementation of traffic rules. In a country such as Ghana, perhaps, the most important of all traffic mobility management tools are roadway education for motorists and pedestrians and vigorous implementation of traffic laws. Most highway accidents occur as a result of relaxed traffic rules and lackadaisical law enforcement.

Consequently, a nationwide vehicular database must be created, starting from district and regional levels and linked to a centralized system. The system should be able to provide fluid and dynamic data of hotspots along roadways for prompt and/or appropriate actions. Thus, a solid integrated transportation network system (highways, urban, feeder, etc.), incorporating technologies for efficient flow of people and goods, should be studied, analyzed, and implemented.

To sustain and improve upon a new integrated system of transportation, dedicated funding must be set up. Portions of tolls (and yes, tolls must be reintroduced), taxes (fuel, multi-axle vehicles), and vehicular fees (registration, licensing, etc.) must be set aside as the lifeline of the transportation management system. With a roadway network in place, effective mobility management such as congestion pricing, toll policies, high occupancy vehicle lanes, etc. are some measures that need to be evaluated, analyzed, tested, validated, and implemented.

Better contractual principles and policies in road construction must be strictly adhered to. Not only must contractors guarantee their work, but they must also maintain it, fixing potholes and other nuisances within a reasonable period. The era of “cut and run” by road builders must be a thing of the past.

Government has the obligation to build roadways and railways (highways, thoroughfares, feeders, etc.) through a capital-intensive investment. However, since government has proven to be not such a good business manager, a public-private/quasi-government entity or a wholly privately owned entity must be established to run, operate, and manage road/rail systems and anything that moves on them.

Posted by on Jun 26 2023. Filed under Features. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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