Mobility-on-demand: An empirical study of internet-based ride-hailing adoption factors, travel characteristics and mode substitution effects

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - africa, ridership - demand, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, policy - sustainable, planning - surveys, planning - methods, planning - integration


Mobility-on-demand, Platform mobility, Ride-hailing, Travel behaviour, Mode-substitution, Ghana


Ride-hailing services are shaping travel behaviours and emergent urban mobility patterns. From their initial diffusion centres in North America and Europe, these on-demand mobility services are increasingly becoming available in developing countries. Yet, empirical research from these contexts on the impact of ride-hailing services is lacking. To address this gap, this paper examines the factors driving the adoption of ride-hailing and the associated travel characteristics and mode substitution effects in Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa. Using data from a large sample survey (N = 1188) of commuters in a multi-variable structural equation model, the paper shows that socio-demographic factors, perceived benefits and ease of use of ride-hailing, perceived safety risks and car-dependent lifestyles influence adoption and use of ride-hailing services. Similar to other contexts, individuals’ reference ride-hailing trips were mainly for ‘special occasion’ purposes (51%), but work and school journeys were also high (41%). Shorter travel times (≤30 min) and single passenger journeys within inner-suburban and outer-suburban localities typify ride-hailing trips. This contrasts with other contexts where ride-hailing is used frequently by urban dwellers and less so by those in the suburbs. Ride-hailing use replaced conventional taxis (51%), public transport (36%), private car (10%) and walking (1%), suggesting mode substitution effects for individuals’ reference trips. Further exploration of a full day’s travel mode choices also revealed that individuals use other available modes of transport in addition to ride-hailing services. However, multi-modal integration is weak, suggesting that ride-hailing tends to be used alone for full door-to-door journeys, instead of complementing other existing modes in serving first/last mile access for example. The implications of the findings for sustainable mobility are discussed.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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