7 October 2013
BY NEVASH NAIR
We come across them everyday and without them our world would be a lot more chaotic. They keep us safe and sometimes also drive us to the edge.
First put into place on the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street in Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug 5 in 1914, the world’s first electric traffic signal was based on a design by James Hoge, who received a US patent for his “Municipal Traffic Control System” in 1918. It comprised four pairs of red and green lights that served as stop-go indicators, each mounted on a corner post.
Traffic lights are believed to have been introduce here in the 1950s. Today, every town has them, and without them our roads would not be the same.
However, over the past 10 years, traffic lights have come to be seen as a hinderance by most Malaysians as the number of vehicles on the road continue to grow.
According to a study by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, in the 1980s road fatalities increased at an average of 4% annually.
In the 1990s, the numbers continued to rise. The country recorded a 5% annual increase in road fatalities through out the decade.
As a result, an integrated approach to reducing road crashes was aggressively started in the late 1990s and the results of the effort were seen from 2000 to 2009 — annual fatalities were reduced by 2%.
With government still striving to improve these statistics, one local entrepreneur is aiming to change future traffic junctions in Malaysia and indirectly reduce bad driving habits at traffic lights.
Datuk Tan Boon Hock, a Klang Valley-based businessman who made his name in healthcare, has ventured into developing a state-of-the-art traffic light system.
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