Rapid growth of Northwest Arkansas has resulted in the transportation infrastructure not being sufficient to keep up with the capacity demands.
More and more people are sitting in traffic at intersections. Even a minor accident on Interstate 540 can snarl traffic in all directions at any point during the day.
The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that in areas the size of Northwest Arkansas, congestion and gridlock costs each individual traveler $318 per year in wasted time and fuel charges. With 200,000 registered vehicles in Washington and Benton counties, it adds up to a congestion cost of more than $60 million a year.
However, that congestion cost estimate is likely to be far higher in Northwest Arkansas. A study in mid-2012 by the Texas Transportation Institute and commissioned by the Northwest Arkansas Council, a private nonprofit organization, showed traffic congestion costs Northwest Arkansas about $103 million annually.
Traffic delays impact the income of wage earners, puts jobs at risk and adds unnecessary stresses to family life for residents.
Traffic congestion threatens to impact the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas.
To address regional transportation needs, Washington and Benton counties in March 2008 approved the creation of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Mobility Authority (NWARMA). Since that time, 16 cities have joined as members.
The mission of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Mobility Authority is to provide leadership in the implementation of regionally significant highway and transit transportation projects and initiatives to meet the present and future mobility needs of the region.
NWARMA Board of Directors met Jan. 10, 2013. No future meetings have been scheduled.