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6 Things You Never Knew About The “Father Of Traffic Safety”



Father of Traffic Safety : Williams Phelps Eno

Most people have no idea about the origins of so many things we see and use nowadays. A lot of the modern inventions related to automobiles have roots as far back as the days of Leonardo da Vinci. Today, we would be focusing on traffic safety and one of the key people, if not the most notable in the history of traffic safety. He made important contributions that earned him the nickname “father of traffic safety”.

Let’s take a peep into who this man really is and what he has done.

1. His name is William Phelps Eno, an American businessman, born June 3, 1858  and died December 3, 1945. He is responsible for many of the earliest innovations in road safety and traffic control.

2. His hunger for innovation got instilled as a little boy at the age of 9, even before cars became popular, when humans still used mostly horses and carriages.Surprisingly theses horses and carriages were involved in traffic jams more frequently than we think !. In 1909 he said these words :

That very first traffic jam (many years before the motor car came into use) will always remain in my memory. There were only about a dozen horses and carriages involved, and all that was needed was a little order to keep the traffic moving. Yet nobody knew exactly what to do; neither the drivers nor the police knew anything about the control of traffic.

3. In 1900, Eno wrote a piece on traffic safety entitled Reform in Our Street Traffic Urgently Needed. In 1903, he wrote a city traffic code for New York, the first such code in the world, and subsequently designed traffic plans for New York, London, and Paris.

4. In the same year, he proposed, what would become today’s roundabouts or traffic circles  he called them “the rotary or gyratory traffic system“. Below is an image of his plan

safety ensured roundabout designed by William Phelps Eno

5. He is also credited with introducing one way streets/traffic.the first implementation was in some streets in New York in 1908.

6. His other notable innovations are the stop sign, pedestrian crosswalk, pedestrian safety/refuge island

Have you learnt something today ?
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Credits:Wikipedia, Eno Center For Transportation

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