On this day in auto history - November 5th

Thu 5th Nov 2020

It was on this day in 1927 that Britain’s first set of automated traffic lights were trialled in Wolverhampton.

Installed at a junction adjacent to Princes Square, the new technology was the first of its kind in the UK and replaced the old manually-operated gas lightning system, thus taking human error out of the equation altogether.

Having debuted in Los Angeles in 1920, automated systems had proliferated across America and had been successfully introduced to both Germany and France the previous year, prompting the Wolverhampton mayor and Chief Constable to visit these countries to see first-hand how they worked.

Though not without teething problems, the trial proved generally successful and motivated Wolverhampton to press ahead with plans to install permanent systems the following year.

However, the honour of installing the first permanent set of automated traffic lights eventually fell to the city of Leeds who fast-tracked their own plans in the wake of the successful Wolverhampton trial.