Congestion Management Process

The Congestion Management Process (CMP) is a systematic approach, collaboratively developed and implemented throughout a metropolitan region, that provides for the safe and effective management and operation of new and existing transportation facilities through the use of demand reduction and operational management strategies. The CMP is required to be developed and implemented as an integral part of the metropolitan planning process in Transportation Management Areas (TMAs) – urbanized areas with a population over 200,000, or any area where designation as a TMA has been requested. The CMP represents the state-of-the-practice in addressing congestion, and should be considered in metropolitan areas that are facing current and future congestion challenges.

The Congestion Management System has been described as a “7 Step” process; with the addition of a new “first step,” the Congestion Management Process is an “8 Step” process, as follows:

  1. Develop Congestion Management Objectives
  2. Identify Area of Application
  3. Define System or Network of Interest
  4. Develop Performance Measures
  5. Institute System Performance Monitoring Plan
  6. Identify and Evaluate Strategies
  7. Implement Selected Strategies and Manage Transportation System and
  8. Monitor Strategy Effectiveness.

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission recently developed the CMP for the region.  A Congestion Management Process TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) sub-committee was also established to implement the initial phase of the CMP. The following links relate to this study.

Congestion Management Process (CMP) Final Report – May 22, 2015

Sources for Traffic Congestion:

The graphic below illustrates the main sources for traffic congestion:

Sources of Congestion

Click graphic to enlarge

For Live Traffic Conditions, Construction Zones, or Winter Road Conditions please visit the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department’s IDriveArkansas link.Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department

Northwest Arkansas Congestion Management Corridors:

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission Policy Committee identified the following traffic congested corridors:

Corridor Length(miles)
AR102-US62/Centerton Blvd/14th/Hudson 11.28
AR112/Razorback/Maple/Garland 3.81
AR16E/15th/Happy Hollow/Huntsville 12.97
AR16W/AR45/Wedington/North/Mission 11.55
AR265/Old Missouri/Old Wire 13.04
Fulbright Expressway 7.48
US412/Henri de Tonti/Sunset/Robinson 15.76
US62/AR180/Main/MLK 5.47
US71/I-540 106.69
US71B/8th Street 36.35
Wagon Wheel Road/AR264 3.82
Total 228.22

Map of the Northwest Arkansas Congested Management Process Corridors approved by the Policy Committee on July 24, 2013.

Managing Traffic Congestion:

There are a variety of approaches and planning tools for managing traffic conditions at a regional as well as local scale. In Northwest Arkansas, cities have implemented adaptive signal control stations for a sections or roads and intersections. Below are listed a few examples of these signal control installations and evaluations:

  • Highway 265 Access Management Plan –  This study was part of an agreement between the city of Fayetteville,  the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission to protect the capacity of the roadway, improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.  The agreement was executed in 2009.

Congestion Analysis and Performance Measures for Northwest Arkansas:

The Interstate I540 Improvements Study prepared by Parsons Transportation Group in 2006 considered the needed Interstate widening and focused on an analysis of nineteen interchanges in order to recommend short-term, interim and long-term improvements. The study developed the following:

  • 2024 travel demand forecast for I-540
  • Identified Congestion Segments
  • Calculated 2006 and 2024 Level of Service
  • Recommended Interstate widening
  • Analyzed nineteen interchanges om I-540

The Northwest Arkansas Eastern North-South Corridor Study was completed in 2011 and analyzed  the need for improvements to an eastern north-south corridor in order  to alleviate the traffic congestion on the existing north-south routes, especially Hwy 71B. The study extended  from Hwy 16 in Fayetteville to Hwy 62 in Rogers, with a potential extension to Bentonville.

Highway 112 (Razorback Road and Maple Street) Improvement Study was completed in 2010 by the  Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. The study was conducted to determine the appropriate cross-section for improvements ti Hwy112 along Razorback Road and Maple Street between Hwy 180 (Martin Luther King Blvd.) and Garland Ave. through the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

In the summer of 2012, The Northwest Arkansas Council contracted with The Texas A&M Transportation Institute to complete a study on ”Traffic Congestion in Benton and Washington Counties”  The study focused on eight corridors consisting of approximately 40 miles in Northwest Arkansas. The study analyzed delay per mile, calculated a travel time and planning time index, and calculated the cost of congestion for the Region based on third party historical speed data. The most congested corridor based on the TTI methodology was the US 412 corridor from SH 112 to US71B. The table below summarizes the findings for each analyzed corridor:

Rank Roadway County From To Delay per  Mile1 Travel Time Index3 Planning Time Index4 Annual Congestion Cost ($mil)2
1 US-412 Washington SH-112 Thompson 136,900 1.41 8.35 12.6
2 US-71B Benton Central Moberley 130,200 1.10 2.80 11.2
3 College Washington Lafayette Main 107,100 1.23 4.14 10.9
4 Walnut Benton I-540 W. Hudson 99,600 1.08 2.70 10.6
5 US71 Benton SH 340 N Walton 62,000 1.28 3.87 6.2
6 Thompson Washington Main County Line 58,500 1.13 4.82 6.5
7 I-540 Washington US62 SH112 24,700 1.08 1.63 2
8 I-540 Washington/ Benton Pleasant Grove Elm Springs 17,900 1.07 1.70 2.4
Non-study Roadways5 17,050 1.08 2.02 40.8
Total or Average 32,200 1.10 2.35 103.2
1. Delay Per Mile—Extra travel time during the year due to congestion, divided by the corridor length. Primary measure
used to rank roadway segments in this analysis.
2.  Cost of congestion – Value of time delay and excess fuel consumption based on an hourly rate of $20.50 per hour of delay.
3.  Travel Time Index – A ratio of travel time in the peak period to the travel time at free-­-flow conditions. A value of 1.30
indicates that a 20-­- minute free-­-flow trip takes 26 minutes in the peak period.
4.  Planning Time Index – Represents the total travel time that should be planned for a trip. A PTI of 2.50 means that for
a 30-­-minute trip in light traffic, 75 minutes should be planned to reach a destination on time.
5.  These roadways include freeway, major arterial and minor arterial roadway segments in Benton and Washington counties
that were not analyzed in the 8 study segments.
Source: Texas AM Transportation Institute, 2012