The Northwest Arkansas Transit Assessment Study

Northwest Arkansas, like other small urban/rural areas, faces serious challenges in providing adequate public transportation, including transportation services for the disadvantaged. The area has experienced explosive growth in the past decade, which has undoubtedly affected the status of public transportation. A 1992 report, submitted to the Governor’s Task Force on Public Transportation Issues, stated that “transportation still surfaces as one of the top social problems in Arkansas.” It also reported lack of transportation for medical services, lack of transportation for work, difficulty traveling for food and retail shopping, and inability to travel from rural areas to major activity centers within the state. Unmet transit needs for the four-county area (Washington, Benton, Carroll and Madison Counties) included those of the elderly, low-income adults, the disabled, and children. Approximately 25 separate agencies provide public transportation services within the four counties. This project assessed these various agencies to determine service area, fleet size, total ridership, type of service, and sources of funding, as well as any restrictions on the funds. Users of public transportation services were also contacted to assess quality of service and level of service satisfaction. Data was collected through surveys of both the service providers and the users of transportation services. In addition, key municipalities in the study area that sponsor services through transportation providers were interviewed to obtain their experience with transit services in the area. The information was used to identify where problems and gaps in service currently exist. Another objective of the project is to better quantify public transportation needs in Northwest Arkansas. The paper includes the methods used for needs assessment, how survey instruments were developed for the transportation providers and users, and the findings of the study. It is anticipated that this study will provide a blueprint for other small urban/rural areas to conduct transit assessment studies in their areas. Because the public transportation challenges faced by the study area are by no means unique to the area, it is also anticipated that some of the observations of the study may be applicable to other fast-growing small urban/rural areas.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Pagination: 13p
  • Monograph Title: Seventh National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 28-30, 2000, Little Rock, Arkansas

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045186
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 5 2007 1:32PM