International Traffic Light Day - August 5
(Last Updated On: December 15, 2022)


Every year on August 5th, International Traffic Light Day highlights the importance of the traffic light. It’s also a day that commemorates the installation of the first traffic signal system.

Did you grow up in a small town or rural area? If so, you may not have grown up with traffic lights. Small towns can usually get by with stop signs only. However, installing a traffic light usually means an increase in population. Without these important lights, it simply would not be safe to drive. Not having traffic lights would also greatly reduce the flow and speed of traffic.

The world’s first electric traffic signal was installed on August 5th, 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio. The traffic signal was placed on the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street. Some people dispute the location of the world’s first traffic light. In 1868, a traffic device in London helped people know when to stop and when to use caution. In 1912, a police officer in Salt Lake City, Utah installed a wooden box with red and green lights onto a pole.

Despite these disputes, the date of August 5th, 1914 has remained the official date of the world’s first traffic signal. The different kinds of traffic signals have helped pedestrians, bicyclists, horseback riders, and streetcars navigate the roadways more safely. Through the years, the amount of traffic has increased in cities around the world. Increased traffic usually means more traffic lights. However, more traffic lights don’t necessarily mean less congestion. Sometimes, the traffic lights aren’t in sync. Also, green lights might be too short or too long.

Both of these issues might contribute to the world’s most congested cities which include:

  • Manila
  • Bogota
  • Lima
  • Moscow
  • Istanbul
  • Jakarta

Four of the most congested cities are in India. These cities are Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, and New Delhi. Some of the most congested cities in the United States include Boston, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Atlanta. Maybe what these cities need are either fewer drivers or more properly working traffic lights!

HOW TO OBSERVE #TrafficLightDay

This is a great day for government officials to discuss how well traffic lights keep traffic flowing in their community. To participate in this day, ponder what this world would be like with no traffic lights. Teach your kids how traffic lights work and what the colors mean. Count how many traffic lights you encounter on the way home from work.


This day is held every year to mark the anniversary of the world’s first traffic signal on August 5th, 1914.


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