Report: NWA residents like trails, dislike rush hour traffic

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 794 views 

When it comes to the transportation system in Northwest Arkansas, residents are most satisfied with the availability of off-street paths and trails but least satisfied with traffic flow during peak times of the day, according to a new survey.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission recently released the results of the 2019 Northwest Arkansas Regional Transportation Survey in a 226-page report on the commission’s website. ETC Institute of Olathe, Kan., administered the $35,000 survey in September. The five-page survey was completed by 834 households in Washington and Benton counties.

A PDF of the full report is available here.

It shows 60% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the availability of off-street paths and trails, while 77% were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the flow of traffic during peak times of the day. The survey also shows 42% of respondents view the overall quality of the area transportation system as average, while 28% rated it as poor. However, 27% said it’s good, and 2% rated it excellent.

Over the past five years, area traffic congestion has increased for 94% of respondents, but about half of respondents said the congestion at rush hour was better than or similar to other cities of comparable size. The congestion between respondents’ homes and Bentonville was a problem for 54% of respondents. Half of the respondents cited a problem with the capacity of major roads not keeping up with new development.

Over the next five years, 72% of respondents said funding for road and highway improvements should be somewhat or much greater. One-quarter believe the funding should remain the same, and 3% said it should be reduced. Also, 66% of respondents said they would support a highway program that would generate additional revenue.

Tim Conklin, transportation programs manager for the planning commission, said the University of Arkansas previously completed research on the transportation system in Northwest Arkansas for the commission, but this is its first survey like this of this depth. Conklin said he would like to do more in the future, and the survey will be part of the commission’s 2045 plan. The plan is updated every five years.

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