The greatest inventions of all time: Have you ever wondered who invented traffic lights? Has it ever occurred to you when crossing traffic lights who discovered red, green and yellow lights? If you are curious about the answer to such questions, then you need to go back to the history of traffic lights and their invention. So let’s discover the inventor and the history of traffic lights.
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Who invented traffic lights?
A British railway manager, John Peake Knight, suggested adapting a railway method to control traffic. Thus, the first traffic light was invented by JP Knight, a railway signaling engineer. The railroads used a semaphore system with small arms extending from a pole to indicate whether a train could pass or not. In Knight’s adaptation, semaphores would signal “stop” and “go” during the day, and at night, red and green lights would be used. Gas lamps would illuminate the sign at night. A policeman would be posted next to the signals to operate them.
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(Image credit: US Department of Transportation)
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In December 1868, the world’s first traffic light was installed at the intersection of Bridge Street and Great George Street in the London Borough of Westminster, near the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge, and looked like any what a railway signal of the time, with undulating semaphore arms and red-green lamps, gas-operated, for night use. Unfortunately, it exploded, killing a policeman. The accident discouraged any further development until the era of the internal combustion engine.
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Do you know the history of the history of traffic lights?
Going back in history, the problem of traffic jams has existed since the 1800s even before the invention of the automobile. At that time, horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians invaded the roads of London.
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- The first traffic light was installed outside the Houses of Parliament in 1868 and looked like any railway signal of the time, with waving semaphore arms and gas-operated, red-green lamps for nighttime use.
- According to research shared by Guardian, modern traffic lights are an American invention. Red-green systems were installed in Cleveland in 1914.
- The traffic signals were operated manually from a tower in the middle of the street and were installed in New York in 1918.
- In 1925, the first such lights to appear in Britain were in London, at the junction between St James’s Street and Piccadilly. They were operated manually by police using switches.
- In 1926automatic signals operating on a time slot have been installed at Wolverhampton.
- In 1932, the first vehicle-operated signals in Britain occurred at the junction between Gracechurch Street and Cornhill in the city. By a strange quirk, these were also destroyed by a gas explosion. Standard red-amber-green signals are now universally adopted.
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What is the future of traffic lights?
Many new inventions are coming to improve traffic signal systems using the latest technology. A scenario published by MIT Senseable City Lab researchers in 2016 suggested that traffic lights are virtually non-existent. In such a scenario, all of the self-driving cars are in communication with each other in what is known as a “casing” intersection in which the cars, instead of stopping, automatically adjust their speed to cross the intersection while maintaining safe distances for other vehicles. . This system is flexible and can also be designed to take pedestrians and cyclists into account.
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Rapid Flow Technologies of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania is releasing an innovation called “Surtrac”. The company has been conducting pilot tests since 2012. According to their innovation, traffic lights can use artificial intelligence to adapt to changing traffic conditions. The company says journey times have been reduced by more than 25% and waiting times at red lights have reduced emissions by an average of around 40%. The system takes into account real-time conditions second by second and is scalable for larger areas since each intersection makes its own decisions instead of a single central system.
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