Sunday 22 January 2017

When was the first traffic light installed? On August 5th 1914

Published 05/08/2015 | 16:21

Celebrating 101 years of traffic lights
Celebrating 101 years of traffic lights

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the first electric traffic lights which were installed 101 years ago.

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On August fifth 1914 the first electric traffic signal was installed on the corner of East 105th and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.

Before the first electric signals were introduced police constables manually operated contraptions consisting of gas-powered lamps with a lever used to turn the appropriate signal towards the traffic.

Whilst the first traffic lights were introduced in London outside the Houses of Parliament they did not prove to be a hit, and as they were gas powered and were dangerous, with a gas explosion on one of the earlier designs seriously injuring the police officer operating the lights.

It was not until Lester Wire, a policeman and former detective in Salt Lake City first developed the electric ones, and they were different to the ones we would see now, featuring only red and green lights.

If you thought that moving from simple stop-go green-red signals to using three colours to signify a change was bad enough, as drivers speed through amber lights a Judge called for a blue traffic light to be introduced.

Ireland's first automated Red Light Camera System
Ireland's first automated Red Light Camera System

Earlier this year Ireland introduced the first robot red light camera, automatically issuing a fine and three points for motorists who break the red light. First robotic red light camera goes live.

Vienna recently brought in gay-themed pedestrian traffic lights to celebrate several gay-friendly events, but decided to keep them.

New traffic lights showing female same-sex couples in Vienna (DIETER NAGL/AFP/Getty Images)
New traffic lights showing female same-sex couples in Vienna (DIETER NAGL/AFP/Getty Images)

More on that story here: Gay-Themed traffic lights here to stay

 

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