Sign of the Times: Today Marks Traffic Signal Centennial
Imagine the highways and byways without traffic signals, especially in the 21st century when the automobile is commonplace and traffic in some places horrendous. The need for direction when to stop and go was realized early in the 20th century. As the availability and necessity of the automobile grew, navigating America's roads became a chaotic experience. One must keep in mind during this era, pedestrians, bicycles, horses and streetcars all competed with motor vehicles for right of way. Some relief was realized with the gradual disappearance of the horse-drawn carriages but problems still existed.
In Cleveland, Ohio,
The first traffic signal did not contain the caution light. It had two colors, red and green, and a buzzer, based on the design of James Hoge, to provide a warning for color changes. The design by Hoge allowed police and fire stations to control the signals in case of emergency
Traffic signals today are far more sophisticated due to technological advancement yet serve the same purpose as they did 100 years ago.
The city of Los Angeles, California, has synchronized all of its nearly 4,500 traffic signals, which are spread out across some 469 square miles (1,215 sq km). According to The New York Times, Los Angeles is “the first major metropolis in the world to do so.” Source: Watching the World
With obsolete ones being removed, new ones set in place as replacements or in new locations, perhaps that number is ever changing. Maybe a way to find out its to call all the factories that manufacture traffic lights and see the sales reports of each country since 1912 when the first traffic light was created by a police man. Go for it!