Letter to the editor


Since the report about widening A1A, I’ve been wondering why no one is looking beyond the solution of building additional lanes. Why not consider smart-technology solutions for managing traffic?

My wife and I moved from Germany to the United States in 2014. In other parts of the world, traffic is steered and road capacities are adjusted based on real-time traffic conditions and peak traffic periods during the day. Sensors in the lanes and at traffic lights measure traffic every second. This information is then used to create an intelligent synchronized traffic light system. The same could be done on A1A.

Today, A1A’s traffic light sensors are working without being networked. They only consider the street crossing at that particular location and don’t take into account overall traffic conditions. We all know this effect: When the traffic light turns green, you proceed to the next light and it immediately turns red because there are vehicles waiting at the cross street. So, all the traffic comes to a halt again and creates more congestion.

When traffic lights are controlled by smart technology systems, green lights will be synchronized during morning rush hour in one direction and it can be changed to the other direction during the evening rush hour. It will also consider special situations like accidents and provide green lights for an emergency vehicle. It is much easier for cars to give way for emergency vehicles when they are moving and not stuck in traffic.

Traffic lights also can be synchronized to consider the average speed on the road and “shuffle” as many vehicles as possible along A1A. There are many options to solve traffic issues using smart technologies.

Adding more lanes to the same road without changing the traffic signal management will not reduce congestion. It will simply mean that cars will be stopped at red lights in more lanes. I would rather invest in technology than spend millions to construct additional lanes and widen A1A with little positive result.

By using technology, we can keep the charm of Ponte Vedra Beach while reducing car emissions and the number of accidents caused by stop-and-go traffic. In short, traffic control by smart technology will make our roads safer, cheaper and protect the environment while helping drivers save time.

Oliver Morgenthaler

Ponte Vedra Beach