During 1920, a Detroit policeman named William Potts constructed several red-yellow-green light signal systems. Some lights were mounted atop “traffic towers” manned by policemen; others were overhead suspension lamps remarkably similar in form to a Red Amber Green modern traffic light.

(However, the first known signal device for regulating street traffic was installed in 1868 in London, at the intersection of George and Bridge Streets near the Houses of Parliament. Designed by railroad signal engineer JP Knight, it had two semaphore arms which, when extended horizontally, meant “stop”; and when drooped at a 45-degree angle, meant “caution.” At night, red and green gas lights accompanied the “stop” and “caution” positions.)