On this day in auto history – March 16th

Tue 16th Mar 2021

On this day in 1928, Britain's first permanently automated traffic lights system began operating in Leeds, following the successful trial of similar technology in Wolverhampton the previous year.

Installed at a junction on the edge of the city’s financial district (Park Row), the new technology improved road safety immeasurably by replacing the old gas lightning system and taking human error out of the equation altogether.

Despite improving safety, the lights were not popular with local residents at the time with many referring to the new technology as ‘robots’.

Though it never actually became law to obey the traffic signals until two years later, the success of the Leeds traffic lights system saw many other local authorities quickly follow suit.