Aaron’s podcast discusses the history of traffic lights. It begins by mentioning that the first traffic light in the world was installed in December 1868 in London, replacing a police officer who controlled traffic outside the Houses of Parliament.
In the early 20th century, traffic signals similar to the one in London were used throughout the United States, with each state having its own design. These signals were often controlled by a traffic officer who would blow a whistle to signal the change in commands on the traffic light.
In 1912, the first electric traffic light was developed by Lester Wire, a policeman in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was installed in Cleveland, Ohio. Then, in 1920, a police officer named William Potts in Detroit, Michigan created the first four-way, three-color traffic light. Potts was concerned about the synchronization of traffic lights and added a third light, the amber light, which indicates to drivers to slow down (though some people interpret it as a signal to speed up).
In 1922, traffic towers with automatic timers began to control traffic lights. This innovation saved cities money by replacing traffic officers who manually operated the lights. The introduction of automated traffic lights allowed cities to reduce the number of traffic officers, resulting in significant cost savings.
Overall, the podcast highlights the evolution of traffic lights and their impact on traffic control and public safety, as well as the cost-saving benefits of automated traffic light systems.
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