Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Thesis




Traffic congestion-Ghana-Accra Metropolitan Area, Traffic monitoring-Ghana-Accra Metropolitan Area, Traffic engineering-Ghana-Accra Metropolitan Area, Traffic congestion, Capacity modeling, Transportation systems, Developing countries, Africa, Ghana, Acccra, Highway capacity software (HCS), Traffic engineering


Many developing countries, like the Republic of Ghana, suffer from traffic congestion on the streets of their major cities. Traffic congestion, typically caused by technical flaws in planning or design or inappropriate use of the road by drivers and/or pedestrians, is usually observed in frequently forming queues and longer travel times among others. This leads to a high rate of worn vehicles, increased gas emissions to the atmosphere and wasted time and money, all of which can then cause increased road rage. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the traffic congestion problem at specific intersections in Accra, Ghana in an effort to develop feasible technical solutions that could then be extrapolated to a broader scale to help alleviate the problem of traffic congestion in Accra specifically and Ghana as a whole. The project scope involved analyzing specific intersections in two major areas in Accra, modeling them in traffic simulation software to determine their performance characteristics using common measures of effectiveness such as level-of-service (LOS) and developing possible solutions. Execution of this project was divided into two phases. The first phase was the problem definition stage where traffic count data obtained from a government agency in Ghana were analyzed to determine how effectively vehicles are processed. The second phase was the solution development phase which involved designing and evaluating the feasibility of several options that could improve intersection performance. Modeling of the intersections was carried out using the Highway Capacity Software (HCS) and Synchro 7.0 simulation packages and an attempt at validation showed that the modeling procedure did not entirely capture the field observed behavior. Nonetheless, the models were not found to be sensitive to the assumptions made and thus, the analysis proceeded. Initial results revealed that most of the intersections were oversaturated (i.e. demand volume exceeded capacity), however, in the conceptual design stage, iv technical solutions to the issue were found and evaluated for their feasibility. Additionally, supporting recommendations were made to address the behavior of drivers in Accra such as increased levels of law enforcement and education. The conclusions drawn at the end of this project will be useful to the road users and residents of Accra who suffer directly from the effects of traffic congestion, but more importantly to the government of Ghana and the specific departments challenged with finding solutions to these recurring issues of transportation in the city. In the end, two main questions have been raised by this project, as a framework for future work on the topic: 1. Can accurate modeling of transportation systems in countries such as Ghana that have a different driving culture be achieved using U.S. based simulation software? 2. How can the recommended solutions be further refined and/or developed towards implementation? Further investigation into these two topics will continue to contribute to the ongoing discussion about transportation systems in the developing world and especially in Ghana




vii, 97 p. : col ill + 1 DVD (22 mins. : sd, col.) Honors project-Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 72-74)