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Traffic Light Talk

Surela

When was I invented? If you guessed “Sometime after cars became popular,” you’re wrong! At first, I was set up to control cows and horses. On December 10, 1868, gas-operated red and green lights were installed right outside the British Houses of Parliament to control nighttime traffic. A police constable had the honorable job of switching my lights and deciding who stops and starts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why are some streets honored by my presence and some are not? In theUnited States, streets need to meet one or more conditions to deserve a light. For example, if you live near a street that has at least eight hours of continuous traffic, lots of pedestrians getting stuck waiting to cross, or many accidents within a short period of time, you can write a petition to your local government agency and request that I join your corner. However, don’t be too disappointed if your request doesn’t get honored. A lot of thought goes into where I’m helpful or harmful. Interestingly, between 1979 and 1988,Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, removed 199 traffic lights that didn’t seem to be doing much. Believe it or not, on average, intersections had 24 percent fewer crashes without the annoying traffic lights there!

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