Poster Paper: Effects of Mobile Phone Use on Household Travel Behavior in Kumasi, Ghana.

Friday, March 9, 2018
Burkle Lobby, First Floor (Burkle Family Building at Claremont Graduate University)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Dennis Kwadwo Okyere and Brian J.L. Berry, University of Texas, Dallas

Despite the large amount of literature on telecommunication and transportation nexus, the nature of the relationship between these two sub-systems of communication remains unclear. While various authors posit that telecommunication reduce demand for transportation, others have argued that telecommunications stimulate and increase the need to travel. These studies have often been confined to developed countries that have experienced a steady evolution of the use of technology as they develop, rather than in the arena of developing countries. Understanding the problem within a developing country perspective however presents much a compelling interest, because of two main reasons. First, developing countries are experiencing an interesting phenomenon known as leapfrogging - where they have bypassed the more traditional telecommunication technologies such as fixed telephones, and have jumped onto the more modern technologies in an unprecedented manner. Secondly, developing countries are experiencing some of the worst transportation challenges. Generally, in these economies (particularly in Ghana), trip lengths for all purposes have increased substantially, resulting in a fair amount of congestion, vehicular accidents, high consumption of fuel, and increased expenditure for households, with a generally negative impact on productivity and the environment. Using structural equation modelling on newly collected household survey data from Ghana, this paper investigates the relationship between the use of mobile phone and household travel behavior in a setting that can be considered leapfrogging. This study may prove significant in contributing to the underdeveloped area of research related to the relationship between telecommunication and transportation, and in posing numerous pertinent questions to guide future research. The main significance of this study lies in the fact that few studies have explored the relationship between telecommunication and transportation in a leapfrogging setting. Conducting the research within such a context may provide valuable insight and help clarify the complexity and ambiguity that had existed in the current scholarship. Findings from a research of this kind will make a significant contribution to the efforts of policy makers to design and operate a more efficient transportation system, one that will be more finely attuned to citizens’ transport uses and needs, and one that will promote sustainability practices in the midst of new technology developments in rapidly advancing countries. This research may also address the much-needed coordination of effort by government agencies, specifically the Ministries of Telecommunication and Transportation, which is sorely lacking.