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Virtue out of Necessity? Urbanisation, Urban Growth and Okada Services in Accra, Ghana

Author(s): Martin Oteng-Ababio | Ernest Agyemang

Journal: Journal of Geography and Geology
ISSN 1916-9779

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Rapid urbanisation in Ghana over the last two decades in particular is straining the capacity of the cities to provide basic infrastructure, degrading the quality of life and impoverishing the urban environment. In Accra, an obvious lack of co-ordinated land-use planning and the enforcement of appropriate regulations have made the challenges in the transport sector very daunting, with traffic congestion growing by the day. The situation has compelled some commuters to adopt strategies to navigate themselves in the city in order to avoid the traffic menace. Based on questionnaire and in-depth interviews with individuals and stakeholders engaged in and connected to one such strategy, ‘Okada transport’, the study demonstrates why the commercialisation of the motor-cycle still thrives though it is in conflict with and a clear violation of the existing road transport regulations. The findings confirm that the authorities’ inability to plan holistically has dislocated the urban system and indeed led to a virtual infrastructural systemic breakdown, compelling frustrated commuters to find adaptation strategies. The study posits that the trend is likely to continue and perhaps even accelerate unless a well planned policy intervention, such as the Rapid Bus Transit, is adopted and efficiently implemented.
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