Traffic lights and pedestrian crossings are ubiquitous in all of the world’s major towns and cities. Nevertheless, their designs are not something you would ordinarily give a moment’s thought to on your daily commute (unless you happen to be a traffic light designer). Once you travel a bit though, you may open your eyes a little and start to notice some of the characteristic designs. We’ve picked out a few that you may find as you cross over the road in a brand new city.
Traffic Lights – A History
The first traffic light system was introduced in 1868 at the corner of George and Bridge Street in London, England. The idea was hatched from a system that was used to control train traffic into the capital city. Gas was used to power the lights, but a human was needed to operate the system. At first this worked swimmingly and for the first month traffic was controlled better than ever. The first light was located on a busy stretch beneath the House of Commons. But when a gas leak caused an explosion that injured the policeman tasked with controlling the lights one day, the system was scrapped and the first electric traffic light took another 40 years to arrive.
The rise of the automobile across the world has seen traffic lights integrated into all corners of the globe. Below you will find an interactive guide that interactive guide that examines some of the most interesting designs. We look at lights from Spain to Guadeloupe, and offer some interesting local traffic information.