How Bad Is Little Rock Traffic?

Ranking 229th among the most congested cities in America, Little Rock residents are lucky to have a speedy commute of only 18 minutes each way.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Little Rock residents spent 39 hours in rush hour traffic in 2021, ranking 229th among the most congested cities in America.
Little Rock, Arkansas is a meeting place for many things, like the Arkansas River, the flat delta and foothills of Pulaski County, and Interstates 30 and 40, to name a few. These connections built a hub rich in cultural, historical, recreational, and economical attractions. Luckily, the residents of Little Rock can enjoy it all with fairly easygoing traffic and affordable
car insurance
We're here with the stats, facts, and tips that make it a breeze to get around Little Rock—here's the complete guide to traffic in Arkansas’ capital city.
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How bad is Little Rock traffic?

It could be worse!
Way worse
. The
INRIX 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard
places Little Rock in 229th place on the list of most congested cities in the United States. Drivers lost about three hours on average to rush hour in 2021, costing them an extra $54
In total, you could expect to spend 39 hours each year in Little Rock’s traffic across 2021. Compare that to a historic low of 33 hours in 2020 or pre-COVID’s 55 hours in 2019.
Hours lost to congestion
55 hours
33 hours
39 hours
MORE: How to check for Arkansas road closures

Why is Little Rock traffic so mild?

Traffic congestion is the product of an equation that includes a city’s population, density, and infrastructure, as well as the driving habits of its residents. Here are a few reasons why Little Rock should count itself lucky when it comes to traffic.

Worker population

Little Rock is home to almost 200,000 residents, with
over 90% of the working population hitting the streets at rush hour
. Not all of those 86,300 people drive individually, however. You can thank the 10% who carpool and the 1% who take public transit for helping to keep the mean commute time to just under 18 minutes.

Major chokepoints

While Little Rock doesn’t see many bumper-to-bumper slowdowns, you could still be late for an appointment or miss your flight if you’re not careful. Similar to most cities, several major roads are known to fill up during rush hour, like West Capitol Avenue, South Ringo Street, and Main
However, the bridge on Interstate 30 takes the cake when it comes to congestion. With few other ways to cross the river and drivers dropping their speeds out of caution on the big bridge, traffic usually comes to a halt around 5:00 PM.

Overall population

Little Rock isn’t counted among the mighty metropolises of the United States, and when it comes to traffic, that’s a good thing. The population has grown by only 7% or so since 2000, meaning urban sprawl is at a minimum and it's still fairly easy to get from one side of the city to the other. 
MORE: The best type of car insurance to get if you commute long distances
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How to navigate Little Rock traffic like a pro

At its worst, rush hour can cost you quite a bit, both in terms of soaring blood pressure and car insurance premiums. When speed is of the essence, keep these tips in mind: 
  • Avoid rush hour if possible. At the risk of stating the obvious, steer clear of the streets from 7:00 to 8:00 AM and 3:00 to 5:00 PM on weekdays to avoid traffic. Thursdays between 5:00 to 6:00 PM saw the worst delays in 2021.
  • Take back roads when you can. The most direct route isn’t always the fastest, especially when thousands of other drivers have the same path in mind. If you use Google Maps, open the optional settings and try avoiding major roads and highways to shave down travel time.
  • Stay on top of traffic situations. Local radio station KSSN 96 iHeart Radio can give you real-time updates on traffic jams, accidents, and detours to help you plan your route.
  • Avoid distractions. If you thought traffic was bad for your commute, just wait until you get into an accident! Focusing on the road rather than on your smartphone (or snacks, music, podcasts, etc.) will help keep you out of trouble and on time.

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Little Rock has fairly easy-going traffic outside of the delays that usually develop on the I-30 bridge.
You’ll find the best driving on Little Rock’s streets before 7:00 AM, between 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, and after 6:00 PM.
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