Driving patterns as a contributing factor to light-duty vehicular emission in the Kumasi metropolis

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

2 Gbaran Infill Project, NLNG Supplies Project, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Nigeria



Exhaust emissions contribute greatly to air pollution, the social cost of which may occur as danger to human health, attracting huge medical expenses, causing absenteeism and hence loss of productivity. These are incentives to reduce exhaust emissions to the barest minimum. Two major cities in Ghana, Accra and Kumasi, are struck by vehicular traffic jams especially during rush-hours and are grappling with the situation perceived to be worsened by driving pattern, a travel-related characteristic with a tendency to increase vehicular emission and hence, atmospheric pollution. Driving patterns were studied in the Kumasi Metropolis using questionnaires purposively administered to drivers who visited the Driver and Vehicles Licensing Authority. Parameters were analyzed with SPSS. Results indicate that drivers plied highway (90.0%), feeder (6.7%) and urban (3.3%) roads. Drivers (90%) had no knowledge of how driving patterns contribute to emissions, effect of idle and hot emissions and hot-and-cold starts dynamics. This could explain the failure of drivers to allow vehicle engines to stabilize for over 5 min and also to put off engines when stuck in traffic. Drivers changed speed as often as 4 times/km due to vehicle congestion and intermittent traffic lights, intersections and roundabouts. This may explain the difficulty in maintaining constant speed; thereby compelling drivers to exhibit frequent gear-changing behaviours as well as unstable and inconsistent speed profiles, as the commonest driving patterns. Such characteristics potentially increase energy consumption, emission level and abatement cost significantly and therefore, call for intensified educational programmes aimed at curbing this environmental peril.


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