Impact of heavy goods vehicles on safety and traffic management in the Tema Metropolis

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The city of Tema with a seaport and many industrial facilities attracts a lot of freight traffic with a consequential adverse impact on safety. The total number of vehicles involved in road traffic crashes nationwide from 1991 to 2008 was 272,628 of which 12.1% were HGVs. Eleven percent (11.0%) of overall fatalities was HGV-related. Within the same period, the Tema Metropolis recorded a total of 8,214 vehicles involved in traffic crashes of which 15% were HGVs resulting in the death of 720 people of which 25% were HGV-related. The chance of recording an HGV-related traffic fatality in the Metropolis therefore was more than twice the national average. The objectives of this study were to establish the characteristics of accidents occurring in the Metropolis that involve HGVs, to determine whether HGVs are prone to specific types of accidents and to identify challenges posed to traffic management as a result of the presence of HGVs on some selected roads. Accident data for the period 2007-2009 were retrieved from the files of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Police Service in Tema and the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) accident database in Kumasi. Manual classified traffic counts and travel time and delay studies were conducted along Akosombo, Harbour, Hospital, Meridian and Valco Roads to determine traffic characteristics and the duration, location and causes of delays. Stakeholder consultations were held with various groups on issues of traffic management in the Metropolis. The analysis showed that there was rapid increase in the number of HGV-related accidents over the study period (2007-2009) with a total of 238 accidents, 21% occurred in 2007, 34% in 2008 and 44% in 2009. A total of 116 fatalities were recorded between 2007 and 2009 with 30% in 2007, 33% in 2008 and 37% in 2009 respectively. The number of vehicles involved in HGV-related accidents increased in percentage terms from 25% in 2007, 34% in 2008 to 41% in 2009. The analysis also revealed that link sections recorded more HGV-related accidents than intersections and HGVs are prone to rear-end, side swipe and right–angle types of collision. This report revealed that speed limit signage, inadequate marking and existing marking have faded with use and other pedestrian facilities are critical in the Metropolis. It is recommended that the Department of Urban Roads should improve and incorporate traffic management measures in all future road projects. In addition, the Task Force of the Metropolitan Assembly in collaboration with the MTTU of the Police Service should monitor the compliance with traffic management measures by all road users.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Road and Transportation Engineering.