A strategic plan designed to address the mobility needs of people and businesses in Kumasi and 14 other peripheral municipalities has been developed and approved for implementation. The plan was developed by a Steering Committee established by the government and its development partners to come up with a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) for the Expanded Kumasi, as part of efforts to reduce intra-city congestion. The steering committee started the project in 2021 with funding from the French Development Agency (AFB) and has since undertaken a lot of research to collect data and extensive consultations to come out with the mobility blueprint. Among the highlights of the plan were public transport enhancement and improvement of non-motorized transport. With the public transport enhancement, a bus rapid transit (BRT) system will be developed, while quality bus services will also be developed as well as the enhancement of the ‘trotro’ operations in the city. The non-motorized transport will involve the creation of cycling lanes and sidewalks in new road infrastructure development. Dr. Williams Ackaah, Head of Transportation Engineering Division at the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), made these known at the close out session for the steering committee, at Fumesua. He said as the population increased, people traveled and created congestion, and there was the need to plan and address transport issues. ‘We should have these basic components (sidewalks, cycling lanes) to make our transportation active and to prevent us from being obese. This will also prevent the vehicles from polluting our environment, and if we are able to do this, we shall have a sustainable transport system,’ Dr Ackaah indicated. Research by the SUMP indicates that Kumasi will experience a strong population growth and urban sprawl. It forecasts that 4.2 million inhabitants will be in Kumasi by 2030. This will increase travel lengths and times within the city and cause strong competition for urban space. Dr Ackaah noted that the plans developed were feasible. The challenge, however, had to do with implementation, adding that, previously there had been plans which were developed with the support of development partners, but new road project constructions did not follow. He, therefore, called on the government and donor agencies to work assiduously to ensure the full implementation of the new set of plans to ease urban congestion and improve transportation in Kumasi. He said in countries where the SUMP had been implemented, there had been successes in reducing congestion in cities, enhancing air quality, limiting transport-related greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and better urban environment. Dr Christope Cottet, Country Director for Ghana and Liberia, AFB, expressed satisfaction at the long-term mobility plan which had been done. He said this would be a game changer for Kumasi in addressing the congestion situation, and hoped the city authorities would work to ensure its sustainable implementation.
Source: Ghana News Agency