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Title: Understanding car ownership among households in developing countries : a case study of Accra, Ghana
Author: Adjei Appiah, Samuel
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 1704
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2020
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Household car ownership is a widely researched area due to the trade-offs between the benefits of the mobility provided by the car and the numerous negative impacts the car has on the environment. Most of the studies on car ownership have been conducted in developed countries, although more recently there are studies in emerging economies of the world. There are, however, very few studies on car ownership in developing countries, especially cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The literature has some key commonalities as drivers to increased car ownership such as rising income and positive attitudes towards the car as a status symbol. There are, however, some important gaps with regards to understanding car ownership in the developing world. First, the household structures and social norms can sometimes be quite different. This may influence the propensity of different parts of society to want to own a car. Secondly, the context in which an ownership decision is being considered can be very different. In the case of developing country city like Accra, few have the opportunity to buy a new car with most being older imports and it may be that the issues such as status a car affords someone are different. Third, the context of public transport is very different. Levels of access to informal public transport could be so high generally that limited service provision does not offer the same explanatory power in understanding car ownership as witnessed in developed countries. The quality of the services and their informality may also be a factor in explaining the relative attractiveness of the car. More recent literature from developed countries is often looking to understand what might be effective in undoing mass car ownership whereas developing countries are trying to understand growth. The context of growth in developing countries is very different to that of the growth periods post the Second World War in the developed world and so new insights are required. This research seeks to bridge those gaps by understanding the factors that influence car ownership in a low car owning economy by researching on potential variables which are identified to affect car ownership. The research utilises both qualitative and quantitative methods. Using Accra, the capital of Ghana as a case study, a focus group discussion was undertaken to gain insight into the study area by understanding contextual issues to help in the development of questionnaires. Further to this, a household data collection was undertaken using questionnaires targeting specifically households in high-income communities followed by households in middle-income and low-income communities. In all 547 usable responses were obtained after the survey which provided data relating to household socio-demographic characteristics, trip characteristics, public transport accessibility and attitude towards car and public transport. The results from the research indicate strong influence of income and number of people employed within a household on car ownership. Other household characteristics like household size, type of household and number of children with household are identified not to be significant factors in understanding household car ownership. The research indicates that car is largely a utility purchase in the city of Accra indicating that life is difficult without owning a car. Also, whilst there exists universal coverage of the informal public transport which appears to be the dominant means of transport in the city there exist numerous negative attributes of the services they provide. Efforts to reduce the rate of car ownership will need to follow a twin track of significantly improving the quality of journeys on public transport along with restraining the use of cars to prevent the gridlock which will otherwise result as incomes grow.
Supervisor: Marsden, Greg ; Anable, Jillian ; Thijs, Dekker Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available