Study of vehicle speeds on a major highway in Ghana: implication for monitoring and control

Traffic Inj Prev. 2007 Jun;8(2):142-6. doi: 10.1080/15389580601100944.


Objective: Vehicular speeds have been identified to be at the core of road accident severity and frequency globally. Whereas speed control is a fundamental priority and the cornerstone of road safety in the developed world, the subject is at rudimentary stages in most developing countries thus making research into vehicle speeds in developing nations imperative. The main aim of the study was to establish two major speed parameters, namely the mean speed and dispersion, and their implications for more extensive and long-term speed monitoring in Ghana.

Methods: Research workers stationed themselves in a parked car and used a radar gun to unobtrusively measure the travelling speeds of 4,163 vehicles over two 24-hour periods at two separate sites on one of the main inter-urban roads (Accra-Kumasi). Both sites were settled areas with posted speed limits of 50 km/hr.

Results: Over 95% of vehicles travelled above the posted speed limit of 50 km/hr. Vehicles on an average travelled at 87 km/hr, (95% CI=87, 88). Variation in speeds was wide, with a standard deviation of 18 km/hr for all classes of vehicles, and with a range of 40 to 187 km/hr. The highest vehicular speed was associated with the private car (97.6+/-18.3 km/hr) followed by large buses (93.6+/-13.3 km/hr) and the least was with heavy trucks (73.8+/-12.9 km/hr).

Conclusion: The excessive vehicular speeds coupled with the wide speed variations explain in part the high incidence of traffic crashes and fatalities on the Accra-Kumasi highway. An integrated speed monitoring and control program, and realigning the highway to by-pass small and medium settlements would be required as a long-term measure for the reduction of speed-related road traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries in Ghana.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Ghana
  • Radar
  • Safety Management*