Walking as a mode of transport in ‘unwalkable’ contexts: Cross-city experiences from Ghana and Nigeria

Dept of Geography Education, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana

EP-2022-WK-08, Dr. Sam, Enoch F.

Partners

  • Prince Kwame Odame – Dept of Geography Education, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana.
  • Festival G. Boateng – the Centre for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) of Columbia Climate School/Earth Institute-NY, USA
  • Chinebuli Uzondu, Dept of Transport, Management Technology, Federal U. of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Nigeria
  • Christopher Ikeogu- Dept of Transport Management Technology, Federal U. of Technology Owerri, Nigeria
  • Emmanuel Mogaji- Greenwich Business School, U. of Greenwich, UK / Centre for Multidisciplinary Research and Innovation (CEMRI), Abuja, Nigeria

Advisors

  • Prof Ralf Risser- Visiting Professor, Dept of Psychology, Palacky University, Czech Republic
  • Prof Matus Sucha- Dept of Psychology, Palacky University, Czech Republic
  • Prof Callistus Ibe – Dept of Transport Management Technology, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria

Abstract

Walking has long remained an inadequately valued mode of transport in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) ‘s national and local policy, planning, and investment plans. This situation manifests in the general lack of walking infrastructure, inadequate lighting, and surveillance of pedestrian spaces, which, in turn, heightens exposure to risks such as road traffic crashes, in particular, pedestrian fatalities; air pollution; noise, and crimes including murder, rape, and assault. Despite these problems, however, millions still walk on the continent. For the so-called ‘captive-walkers’, walking is not a choice but an imposition of unequal and exclusionary built environments and urban configurations. We do not fully understand how the millions who rely on walking to get around in SSA navigate the inevitable risks of the marginalised provision of walkability infrastructure to support their mobility needs. This study aims to contribute to the limited research on such everyday walking experiences and practices in SSA from the cities of Cape Coast in Ghana and Owerri in Nigeria. It aims to explore the cities’ residents’ everyday walkability practices, habits, and preferences and the strategies they adopt to navigate the risks they face in their quest to leverage walking to get around. The study hopes to unravel some cross-city lessons to support making walking more effectively valued and embedded in policy and commitment at local and national levels to support equitable access to socially and environmentally sustainable modes of transport in SSA cities.