17.01.2023 Feature Article

The Economics Of Transport, The Challenging Effects From The Scarcity Of Transportation Choices

The Economics Of Transport, The Challenging Effects From The Scarcity Of Transportation Choices
17.01.2023 LISTEN

The economic health and quality of life of a nation’s communities depend on a well-functioning and safe transportation system.

If there is anything that man cannot do without like water, then it is transportation/mobility, which from the beginning of human existence has been the fundamental prerequisite for man’s survival and evolve.

Economist’s’ standpoint of transport may be defined in terms of either DEMAND (the “desire” of persons or goods to be transported and ability to pay for it) and SUPPLY (the available quantity and quality of the fixed facilities and vehicles).

Demand—the “desire for transportation” is a nonnegotiable, in fact, it is the very lifeline of our existence for which demand is constant. Mobility is inevitable component of our lives connecting everything existentially, so for an economy to grow and be strong, people need the ability to travel between their homes and their workplaces safely, conveniently, reliably, and affordably. People also need to get to school, to shops, and to recreational facilities.

Mobility is especially important for people with special needs, including the elderly, the poor, the disabled, and people who live in more remote areas. Better mobility improves their quality of life and their ability to contribute to the economy, rather than just to depend on it. Shifting demographics, urbanization, and changes in the patterns of where people live, work, shop, and relax make providing accessibility to transportation a must, and it should be an all-time priority in a nation’s development and economic growth.

These, along with many other reasons, suggest that the transportation system is a critical component of a successful modern community and economy. Thus, anticipating the challenges and opportunities relating to transportation system performance is critical and so the government should do well by providing buses in all the regional city centers to connect to the districts and to those in the rural areas.

Suburbanites can take advantage of nearby city life for work and pleasure and then retire to rural areas via public transportation networks or high ways to avoid crowded living conditions in the cities, and this could be made possible only when the transportation system has been improved significantly in all spheres.

Supply—the lack of transportation facilities and the poor transportation systems are making the populace choosing all sorts of means (or modes) to get to their various destinations with a complete disregard to transportation safety. This is the time for Ghana government to invest in bus rapid transit system to ease the burden of poor mobility so that people will get safe and decent transportation.

Since the supply is not sufficient, effective, and lack of purchasing power has resulted in people using rickety vehicles and doomed are you to let that unworthy vehicle leave you behind, the heaviest of burden will be on you to either walk for undeserving long distance, this means that you end up spending more time travelling, which creates a time-poverty situation, in an unsafe place or you have to cancel that journey for another day.

Life development requires a fundamental, thorough and deep understanding of the demand for mobility by both people and goods. Human beings by default are mobile and by our craving for exploration of the environment and the taste for other consumptions outside our immediate location have also cause for economic exchange for goods and services and consciously and unconsciously people travel at any point in time once the purchasing power is there and even when they are financially incapacitated we find every means possible to get to our desired destinations. And, this is the prove that the more mobile a society, the more critical an efficient, economic passenger system is to its citizens.

The transportation system that exists at any point in time is the product of two factors that act on each other. These are:

  • The state of the economy, which produces the demand for transportation, and
  • the extent and quality of the system that is currently in place, which constitutes the supply of transportation facilities and services.

In periods of high unemployment or rising fuel costs, the demand for transportation tends to decrease. On the other hand, if a new transportation mode is introduced that is significantly less costly when compared with existing modes, the demand for the new mode will increase, decreasing the demand for the existing modes. Hence, the high demand for the motorcycle’s, the tricycles which is being used on unsafe road environment and the by-product is quite devastating—injuries, maiming, and the killings. Not that walking, motorcycle or bicycles are dangerous in itself but is made dangerous and unsafe because of how the transportation environment is made without consideration for these means of transportation.

Mobility is the fundamental and the most cherished human rights that no one wants to be restricted unnecessarily, not even lunatic person. We will definitely move and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure there are adequate supply of vehicles in all areas possible, and provide safe infrastructure at everywhere.

Michael Osei Owusu
(transport and road safety consultant)

Mob: 0245 885 225 / 0204 220 202

Email: [email protected]