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MORE GREEN, LESS IDLING: Re-synching Marco's lights

How the city is trying to make drivers hit the brakes less often
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 18:15:06-05

MARCO ISLAND, Fla — The City of Marco Island has made enhancements to several key intersections in hopes of reducing the amount of time people spend in traffic during daily commutes. Officials say the move will save locals and visitors a lot of time and fuel.

Driving through Marco Island on an early morning is a relatively quick commute, several residents told Fox 4 Wednesday. But driving down the same roads during peak season and rush hour can often triple the time it takes to travel.

"When I come here in the mornings it takes me 25-30 minutes but when I go home it's more like an hour, or hour and twenty minutes. It's a nightmare," one vendor at a weekly farmer's market told Fox 4.

The problem is significant enough that the city had commissioned an Intelligent Traffic System Study to evaluate traffic flow at the 10 signalized intersections on the island.

Following recommendations from the study, improvements have so far been made to the chronometers within traffic lights at six of them along North Collier Boulevard.

The recalibration of the lights will coordinate when they turn red and make driving smoother for people making their way across the city through busy intersections.

"The traffic is now flowing a lot better," says Councilor Greg Folley of Marco Island. He tells Fox 4 the city has already gotten positive feedback from local residents.

City officials say the changes will lead to savings of 1,200 vehicle hours and 2,200 gallons of fuel savings per week for those vehicles coming on the Island between 8 and 9:30 a.m.

Councilor Folley says this calculation was done by measuring the amount of idle time vehicles spend at key intersections. The city is looking to make the improvements to four other intersections.

"We're not actually going to reduce the number of vehicles here," Folley acknowledged. He added, "We're still going to have congestion broadly speaking but we won't have as much backup traffic".