International Traffic Light Day

What day is it?

Every year on August 5, the world community celebrates an event that goes unnoticed by many, but is extremely important. And that International Traffic Light Day. We are so used to this device in our everyday life that we don’t even think about what important role it plays. After all, it not only regulates and organizes road traffic, but also saves millions of lives.

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How did the idea of ​​celebrating International Traffic Light Day come about?

This technical device, without which it is difficult to imagine road traffic today, has gone a long way of development. Today, this optical device is widely used in regulating the traffic of various types of transport (cars, metro and railway trains, sea and water transport), as well as pedestrians.

The date of the celebration, August 5, was not chosen by chance. It was on this day, in 1914, that the residents of the American town of Cleveland (Ohio) first saw a device that automatically switched colored light bulbs. Later, 3 more such traffic lights appeared on city streets. Jason Hogue is considered the author of this design.


Features of the first devices

Although the first traffic light appeared as an invention about half a century before, namely in 1868, it was designed by the English inventor James Knight. This device had two arrows, which in the horizontal position meant “stop”, and in the lowered state – “move carefully”. At night, a gas lantern was turned on with green and red colors that changed during its rotation. After a year of service, the gas lantern exploded, injuring a policeman. As a result, a ban on the use of traffic lights of this type was issued.

In 1910, the American designer and inventor Ernst Sirrin invented an automatic device with the inscriptions “Proceed” and “Stop”, later its electric counterpart appeared, flashing green and red colors.

In 1920, traffic lights with three signals: green, yellow and red began to appear from the American designers John Harris and William Potts. The first such devices appeared on the streets of New York and Detroit.

Traffic lights in Europe

In Western Europe, tricolor devices were installed in 1922. The first traffic lights appeared in German Hamburg and Paris. In Great Britain, traffic lights appeared somewhat later, namely in 1927.


In Ukraine, the installation of traffic lights began in the 30s of the 20th century. Kharkiv residents saw the first regulating devices in 1936. As of 2020, about 5,000 different traffic lights were operating on the roads of Ukraine.

Features of modern traffic lights

Today, improved prototypes of three-color traffic lights, which were created by American designers and inventors Potts and Harris in 1920, are installed on the streets and roads of the world. Some modern models were equipped with halogen lamps and incandescent lamps. In addition, these devices have additional functions designed to help road users.

  • The yellow color has been changed to orange. Firstly, the orange color is better perceived by the human eye, secondly, there are people who distinguish only bright colors.
  • Sound accompaniment, when with the change of the traffic light signal, a sound signal is issued for pedestrians about permission or prohibition of movement. This is especially important for people with poor vision.
  • In addition to vertical, horizontal structures appeared.
  • Traffic lights with complex operation consisting of many modes.
  • Traffic signal switching by pedestrians. Usually, in cities, special devices with a button are installed for pedestrians. By pressing the button, the pedestrian calls a green signal to cross the road faster.

International Traffic Light Day in history

  • 1868
    English inventor James Knight designed the first traffic light.
  • 1910
    American designer and inventor Ernst Sirrin invented an automatic device with the inscriptions “Proceed” and “Stop”.
  • 1920
    Traffic lights with three signals: green, yellow, and red began to appear from American designers John Harris and William Potts.
  • 1936
    The first regulating devices appeared in Ukraine (Kharkiv).

Interesting facts about traffic lights

  • Initially, Japan used traffic lights that glowed blue instead of green. However, later it turned out that the green color is better for perception, so the “blue” devices were changed to classic versions.
  • The authorities of Brazil allow drivers to go through red traffic lights. However, not always, but at night in the period from ten in the evening to five in the morning. Such a decision was made in connection with frequent robbery attacks on vehicle drivers.
  • 13 different signals are displayed by one of Berlin’s traffic lights, which makes it difficult for both pedestrians and car drivers to understand the traffic rules.
  • Few people know, but in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, until recently, there was no traffic light. Regulators, or rather regulators, were female fasting women.
  • A traffic light monument has been installed in London.
  • It has been studied that the residents of megacities spend a total of six months in their lifetime waiting for a green signal, which allows the crossing of the road.
  • An interesting situation has developed in one of the alleys of the Czech capital. Its width is only 70 cm, so a traffic light was installed here to regulate the traffic of oncoming pedestrians.

How to celebrate International Traffic Light Day?

This date can be devoted to the study of traffic rules, as well as greater personal awareness of traffic lights. By the way, in one of Cleveland’s museums you can see a traffic light that went down in history as one of the first light devices for traffic regulation.

On this day, special attention is paid to small participants of the movement. In kindergartens, schools and other educational institutions, promotions, contests and various educational programs are held, which teach children to react correctly to the colors of traffic lights.


When will we celebrate International Traffic Light Day??

Year Date Weekday
2021 August 5 Thursday
2022 August 5 Friday
2023 August 5 Saturday
2024 August 5 Monday
2025 August 5 Tuesday

International Traffic Light Day

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