Ghana is a West African country housing a total population of about 31.7 million. Accra is the capital city, and Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region, is the second largest city with a population of 3.5 million people. Ghana’s total road network is about 65,725 km long and has an average of 7048 traffic fatalities per year (2012 - 2019); road traffic in Ghana is considered quite dangerous. This corresponds to around 4.3 accident fatalities per 24.5 inhabitants per year. A Kumasi Road Safety Report developed by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) revealed that cars or pickups were responsible for 40% of pedestrian deaths. In comparison, buses/ mini-buses accounted for 27% of pedestrian deaths in 2021.
Kumasi is implementing six demo-actions which include low-cost interventions, such as speed bumps, tabletop crossings, and rumble strips in places where speed is defined as an issue by road user mapping and police fine data. The demonstration projects will also include the smart traffic control technology will be used to manage speed and reduce collisions.
Initial road safety challenges
According to the Department of Urban Roads, road networks in Kumasi are about 1700km, serving a population of about 3.5 million. The proportion of good roads is inadequate and does not meet the people's demands, especially in the city's low-income areas. Most of the city roads and junctions have exceeded their capacities, thus causing uneasy traffic jams in the metropolis. Though there is no city-level data for Kumasi, according to the Director-General of the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), the Ashanti region, of which Kumasi is the capital, recorded the second-highest number of road traffic accidents (3,470), with 2,864 injuries and 606 deaths in 2021.
According to Ghana’s National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) (2019), an average of 10,365 traffic crashes occurred annually in Ghana over the period between 1991 and 2019. These crashes have Killed 47,783 people, seriously injured 147,208, and caused minor injuries to 200,703 people over the same period (NRSA, 2019). According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Ghana, Road injury is among the country's top 10 causes of death One report suggests that about $230 million is spent annually on emergency and trauma care associated with motor accidents alone. Given the above information, the negative socio-economic impact of road traffic crashes and the need for road safety measures to reduce the crashes cannot be overemphasized.
In Ghana, passenger transport is dominated by an informal sector (Trotro). The informal private commercial transport operators have organized themselves into various trade unions, such as the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and the Progressive Transport Owners' Association (PROTOA). The objective of the demonstration projects is to provide intervention to deal with three of the factors (education, provision of road signs and enforcement of traffic and road safety regulations) identified to be the major causes of road accidents in Ghana.
Demo-action 1: Digital mapping application
A digital user safety map will be developed and implemented with the support of various stakeholders along Sunyani Road, Accra to Kumasi Road, Bekwai Road, Osel Tutu Boulevard and PV Obeng bypass - the top 5 high-risk pedestrian fatal crash corridors (Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, 2021). This demonstration will provide road users with real-time road situations and facilitate the development of evidence-based interventions. The Demo’s output is developing and installing a safe map for Kumasi.