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Red, yellow and green: What is the origin of this traffic light signaling?

Traffic lights will almost certainly be one of the best-known and most universal signals on roads around the world . We could not imagine road safety without them, even the cities of half the world would be different if the traffic lights did not exist.

Traffic must be regulated in some way and traffic lights are one of the most used forms in the world. They are capable of regulating entire cities and they are never turned off since their work is almost providential for many cities with immense traffic.

Why red, yellow and green at traffic lights?

The meaning of the colors that were chosen at the beginning when the traffic lights began to be used, is very simple. The three colors were chosen because they are three recognizable colors that already have their own meaning.

Red was chosen because the color itself is already an alert color. In many cultures it is associated with danger, risk, blood or prudence. In addition, it has a special characteristic since it is the color that is best distinguished and from a greater distance as it has a longer wavelength within the spectrum.

Yellow is also a very visible color from a long distance . In addition to having a great similarity to red. That is why it was used as the perfect transition color from red to green and vice versa. According to the data, the first traffic light that had the yellow color for traffic regulation could be seen in 1920, when on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, one of the most famous and busiest in the city, it could be seen.

Finally, green, like red, already has its own meaning that is associated with freedom . At first, it was a transitional color, especially on railways waiting for white signals to pass.

After registering several accidents, those responsible for the safety of the trains decided to make green the main color of ‘free track’.

Where was the first traffic light seen?

According to existing data, the first traffic light in history was seen in London in 1868. It was a very basic design that had two vertical arms and two gas lamps.

These early traffic lights, developed by inventor John Peake Knight , had two lights, red and green, and were manually turned on by the police at night.

It was in 1914 when the first electric traffic light was installed in the city of Cleveland . In Europe he would arrive ten years later in the German capital, Berlin.

As the years passed and cars began to colonize cities, it was necessary to increase the use of traffic lights in large cities. It arrived in Spain for the first time in 1926 when the first Spanish traffic light in history was installed on Gran Vía in Madrid.

To inform drivers who were not used to seeing these types of traffic control systems, a powerful campaign was launched in the newspapers to report on their operation.

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