Red, green, yellow! Who cares about traffic lights?

First traffic lights were installed on 10 December 1868.

We use them every day in our contemporary life. We stop every day in one of them! It’s a routine that we get used to it. No one cares about their history anymore. But everything we see in our everyday existence has one…


That happened outside the British Houses of Parliament in London, by the railway engineer J. P. Knight. They looked a lot like railway signals of the time, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for night use. The gas lantern was turned with a lever at its base so that the appropriate light faced traffic. It exploded on 2 January 1869, injuring or killing –we don’t exactly know the policeman who was operating it!

The modern electric traffic light is an American invention. As early as 1912 in Salt Lake City, Utah, policeman Lester Wire invented the first red-green electric traffic lights. On 5 August 1914, the American Traffic Signal Company installed a traffic signal system on the corner of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.  It had two colors, red and green, and a buzzer, based on the design of James Hoge, to provide a warning for color changes.


The first interconnected traffic signal system was installed in Salt Lake City in 1917, with six connected intersections controlled simultaneously from a manual switch. Automatic control of interconnected traffic lights was introduced March 1922 in Houston, Texas.  Toronto was the first city to computerize its entire traffic signal system, which it accomplished in 1963.

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

KO for eCharta

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