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When it’s a red light we often stop the vehicle or curse the time. Because we do know that, the red light means to stop a vehicle in a traffic signal. If a green light is shown often, we pedal the accelerator on a full stroke or we smile gently for the end of the waiting. Because we do know a green light means a permission grant to take the vehicle in a traffic jam. Nobody would be there who hasn’t experienced a traffic signal while they drive on a vehicle or travel on a vehicle. Have you ever thought of the4 history and evolution of the traffic lights? To know the history and evolution of the world’s most standardized signaling methodology is to know the world evolution of traffic itself. Through this blog let us look into the history and evolution of traffic lights.
History and Evolution of Traffic Lights
Manual Gas Lit Traffic Light
The traffic lights start from the period of the 1800s. Then you might be thinking it was the time when there were not many automobiles, then why did they need so many lights to regulate which traffic. The early period traffic lights were used to regulate the traffic of the horse carriage, bull carriage and the pedestrian etc. The first ever traffic lights were used in two colors, that is red and green. Red used for the stop and green meant for the proceed. On December 10 1868, the first ever traffic lights of these two colors were installed in the front of the Parliament house of London. This was a new innovation at that time. This was operated in two types:
- Day time using semaphore arms by the police
- Night time using the gas lit lights.
The first ever introduction of gas lit traffic signals got wide popularity. They were manually operated and controlled by a police man. So, there were police officers specially appointed for this purpose.
Evolution to Electric
The Gas lit or semaphore traffic light gave way to electric light during the period of industrialisation. When after Thomas Alva Edison invented the electric bulb people began to adapt the same technology where they used other form of light in all other circumstances. The industrialisation caused the develop of cities, over crowing and fast-moving people and frequent transportation. Since moving became an essential requirement, there arise a serious situation to control the traffic. In order to cope with the crowd, an American policeman named Lester Wire was introduced with the idea of using the first electric traffic lights in 1912. Adapting from the wire’s design, the first electric lights were installed in 5 August 1914 at Cleveland Ohio. This time also there were two lights only red and green to indicate the stop and proceed.
Three-way Traffic Lights
In earlier times as discussed above there were only two ways of indicating light. One is red and the other is green to indicate the stop and proceed. In 1920, Detroit Michigan policeman William Pott introduced the four way and three-way light system. The idea of having the third color as a warning light is patented by an American businessman named Greet Augustus Morgan. The warning light was used to indicate the signal is going to be changed now and the brakes should be applied to stop. The sudden change of green to red eventually led to unexpected vehicle taking from the other side and failure of stopping vehicle unexpectedly. So a warning light would enable the users to get prepared for the other light. This theory evolved into the modern traffic signal system consisting of the T shaped model traffic signal.
Modern Developments in Traffic Signals
Many modern developments have happened in the field of traffic lights. Just before this period can be said as the evolution and later on it can be said as development. Because evolution is accepted by every world in common, but development s has been adopted and rejected by some countries. The developments happening in the field of traffic lights are as follows.
The fixed interval: The traffic lights were said to be manually controlled by the person who has been appointed to do so. This causes additional labor hardships. This gave way to the development of automated traffic signals changing according to the fixed intervals. Most of the countries adopted this kind of development in the traffic signals. The major drawback of this development is, the traffic signal may change unnecessarily even if there were no vehicles as per the fixed time.
Honk Signals: In order to avoid the criticism of the automated traffic signals for unnecessary occasions, some countries introduced the honk system. The idea was developed by Charles Adler Jr. This worked like when the person honks in front of the signals, the signal will change. This has caused unnecessary honking and sound pollution in the cities. This system also failed.
Computerized Signals: In the 1960s advanced traffic lights of computerized nature were introduced. They could monitor the traffic and change the signals accordingly. This system has been adopted and continued in many countries. In countries where computers and technology are not so advanced, many are not able to use the technology.
Countdown Timer: This is one of the popular methods adopted. The traffic signals will change according to fixed intervals and the same intervals will be shown as a count down in the traffic signals itself. This was developed in the 1990s. most of the countries adopt this system as this system creates patience among the drivers to wait at the signals anticipating the change of the signals after this time.
Rain sensing: Rotterdam in the Netherlands introduced a new technology which gave high priority to the bicycle when it rains. This system will make the bicycle proceed during the rain without any traffic wait.
The evolution of the traffic signals is the evolution of traffic and overcrowding in the world. Today everyone is running for their dreams and needs. No time to stop but for the better running of the world traffic signals which make others stop for a while have been introduced. If you are running so fast for your needs, stop for a while and look at the surroundings and then run again. Or else you will collide or hinder the needs of others. Study the evolution of traffic lights for competitive examination and keep on running to pursue that. Keep studying, keep winning.