Calculating Traffic Congestion Reveals Losses

Researchers from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the nation’s top transportation research agency, say traffic congestion on northwest Arkansas roadways costs drivers about $103 million per year.

TTI recently released that report, commissioned by the nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Council. The group decided late last year it wanted to quantify just how bad traffic overcrowding is in that part of the state, which roads are the worst and what it costs.

Congestion costs, if you are wondering, are defined as travel delays and gas costs based on a rate of $20.50 for every hour of delay.

While making the seemingly interminable trek along Walton Boulevard, Interstate 540 and U.S. Highway 412 one workday morning, the TTI report got us to thinking — what’s the cost of traffic congestion for the entire state?

Madison Murphy, chairman of the five-member Arkansas Highway Commission, is thinking the same thing.

In fact, we hear the commissioners are of like mind and extremely interested in seeing a TTI study similar to what was produced for the NAC done on a statewide level.

Such a report could illustrate to the public how the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department is connecting dollars to traffic.

Five years ago, the TTI began an annual review of every highway and major street in Texas for the Texas Department of Transportation.

What you will see in its ranking of the 100 most congested roadways — the Texas 100 list — is where the worst roads are and what the plan is to alleviate the congestion. They have a plan for all of them, connecting dollars to traffic.

There aren’t 100 road segments in Arkansas that are that bad. But an Arkansas 50 list would certainly be a worthwhile investment