The Rise of the Traffic Light

Street Department Equipment Display, Seattle City Auditorium, Traffic Control Devices, 1931. Seattle Municipal Archives/licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

There are multiple contenders when it comes to the question of who invented the traffic light. This episode looks at a few of the moments in traffic light history that got us to where we are today, as well as what made them a necessity in the first place.

Holly's Research:

  • The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Charles E. Duryea and J. Frank Duryea.” Encyclopedia Brittanica.
  • Library of Congress. “Who invented the automobile?” Everyday Mysteries.
  • BBC. “The man who gave us traffic lights. July 22, 2009.
  • Editors. “Automobile History.” April 26, 2010.
  • National Safety Council. “Historical Fatality Trends: Car Crash Deaths and Rates.” 2019.
  • McLellan, Dennis. “TV host was behind ‘Red Light, Green Light’ game.” Los Angeles Times. August 15, 2008.
  • Nelson, Megan Kate. “A Brief History of the Stoplight.” Smithsonian. May 2018.
  • Crofts, Natalie. “Utah Inventions: The World’s 1st Electric Traffic Light.” August 12, 2015.
  • "How does a traffic light detect that a car has pulled up and is waiting for the light to change?" 1 April 2000.
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  • Editors. “First Electric Traffic Signal Installed.” History. July 28, 2019.
  • Badon, Mary. “Red Light, Green Light: The Invention of the Traffic Signal.” Design Observer. June 14, 2018.
  • Editors. “Garrett Morgan Biography.” A&E Television Networks. April 2, 2014.
  • McShane, Clay. “The Origins and Globalization of Traffic Control Signals.” Journal of Urban History. March 1, 1999.

Topics in this Podcast: 20th century, 19th century, British history, U.S. history, automotive history, inventions