Saturday, 10 November 2007

Red light for another anniversary

The Guardian points out that this week has been the 80th anniversary of automated traffic lights in the UK. An experimental set was first installed in Wolverhampton and was switched on on November 5th, 1927. The lights were judged a success and were made permanent the following year.
(Source: Wolverhampton Local History Society)

However these weren't the first traffic lights, because manually operated two colour signals were installed in Westminster in 1868. They were semaphore types, with red and green gas lamps for night use. Unfortunately in 1869 the apparatus exploded, injuring the policeman who was working it.

It was not until 1918 before the first modern-style three-colour automatic lights were installed in Piccadily, London.
(Source: Visual Arts Data Service)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:01 pm

    Interesting to contrast with the history of roundabouts that first appeared about the same time. Not cylce friendly, but can be more efficient at keeping traffic flowing. However in Holland and other European cities it has been found it can sometimes be more effective to take the whole lot away and make everyone just drive slowly and give way to whoever got there first!