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Traffic Light Day

Traffic Light Day

Traffic lights are an important part of keeping drivers and pedestrians alike safe, and as towns and cities have grown, more traffic lights have popped up. Traffic lights help with traffic flow in congested areas, and they allow people to cross roads in a safer manner. While the importance of traffic lights isn’t widely debated, the creation of the first traffic light is. 

The history of the first traffic light has been disputed with three different cities claiming the title of the world’s first traffic light. London used a device in 1868 which advised people on when to stop and when to use caution when crossing the street. This was a manually operated gas-lit light which exploded a month after its installation!

A police officer in Salt Lake City, Utah, used a wooden box with red and green lights on a pole in 1912 to help cars and streetcars navigate intersections without colliding. The first electric traffic light in Cleveland, Ohio, came into commission on August 5, 1914, on the corner of Euclid Ave. and East 105th St. The holiday recognizing this traffic invention has been on August 5 ever since! 

It took until the 1920s for the traffic control system in Cleveland to catch on, but once people realized the benefits of traffic lights, they began to pop up in towns and cities across the nation. While lights don’t always ease traffic congestion if lights are out of sync with traffic flow, there is no doubt that traffic lights make the roadways easier and safer to navigate. 


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