The traffic light, a ubiquitous fixture on streets and roads around the world, had its origin in Detroit, Michigan, in the early 20th century. Prior to the invention of the traffic light, traffic management was a chaotic affair, with drivers and pedestrians jostling for space on crowded streets. The first traffic light was installed in Detroit in 1920, on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Michigan Avenue, and it was an immediate success
The inventor of the traffic light, a Detroit police officer named William L. Potts, was inspired to create the device after witnessing a collision between a car and a horse-drawn carriage. Potts realized that a system was needed to regulate the flow of traffic and prevent accidents. He used his knowledge of electricity to develop a three-color system of lights, which he installed on a tall pole at the intersection of Woodward and Michigan.
The first traffic light was a simple device compared to the sophisticated models of today. It consisted of three lights, red, yellow, and green, which were illuminated in sequence to control the flow of traffic. Over the years, improvements were made to the traffic light, including the addition of timers, sensors, and other features to make it more effective and efficient.
Today, the traffic light is an essential part of modern transportation infrastructure, and it is hard to imagine a world without it. The simple device invented by William L. Potts in Detroit has evolved into a complex system of lights, sensors, and computers that keep traffic moving safely and efficiently in cities around the world.