Urban form and mobility future for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA): Reflections from the past and policy implications for the future


The nexus between urban form and mobility patterns vis-à-vis Africa’s rapid urbanization continues to be the subject of considerable theoretical debate. This paper seeks to identify the effects of the current urban form on mobility patterns (i.e., mode choice and travel time) for work and shop-related trips and reflects on various pathways to achieve the desired accessibility outcome. The paper is based on the triangulation of primary data sources from a doctoral study in 2014 and complemented with a 2021 survey of ride-hailing activities in GAMA. Results showed that the city’s urban form is monocentric and sprawled, thus engendering commutes over long distances in low-capacity vehicles, particularly those operated by ride-hailing services such as Uber and Bolt. Also, most trips are made for work and study-related purposes. The paper recommends a transit-oriented development (TOD), including a de-emphasis of the current urban form by creating a multi-city structure, redevelopment and in-filling of the city centre and the promotion of mass transit.