How did you choose the three colors of the traffic light? Why the red, orange and green? Have you thought about it?

The history of the traffic light can be traced back to the mid-19th century. When various attempts were made to regulate traffic on busy streets.

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The first gas-lit signal was installed in London in 1868. But it wasn’t until 1914 that the modern electric traffic light was invented by an American named Garrett Morgan.

His design featured a three-position semaphore with red, yellow, and green lights.

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But how did Morgan choose these specific colors for his invention? It is believed that he chose red for stop because it is associated with danger and caution.

Yellow was chosen as a warning color because it occupies a midpoint between red and green.

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Finally, green was chosen as a signal to go because it has traditionally been associated with safety and permission.

Over time, these three colors have become universally recognized as symbols of road safety across the world.

Despite some changes in design over the years, including adding arrows or countdown timers. The basic color scheme has remained consistent since its inception over a century ago.

Why three colors were chosen

The three colors of the traffic light – red, yellow, and green – were chosen for specific reasons.

Red was chosen as a warning color due to its association with danger and stop signs. It is used to signal drivers to stop their vehicles and wait for further instructions or clearance.

Yellow was selected as an intermediary color between red and green. It signifies that the traffic light is about to change from one state to another.

Drivers are expected to slow down their vehicles in preparation for the upcoming change.

Green, on the other hand, represents safety and permission. It signals drivers that they can proceed with caution through an intersection or road segment.

Green lights are also associated with go-ahead signals in various settings such as sports events and games.

The combination of these three colors makes it easier for drivers to understand what they should do when approaching a traffic light intersection or crossing point.

The meaning behind each color

The three colors of the traffic light, namely red, yellow, and green, have distinct meanings that are universally recognized.

Red is used to signal “stop” or danger, while green signifies “go” or safety. Yellow serves as a warning sign to slow down and prepare for a stop.

These colors were chosen based on their ability to be easily distinguished from one another even at a distance.

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Additionally, they were selected because they are commonly associated with their respective meanings. The red with danger and stop signs, green with nature and go signals, and yellow with caution signs.

Colors hold symbolic meaning in various cultures across the globe. For example, white is often associated with purity and innocence in Western cultures but represents death in some Eastern cultures.

Similarly, black symbolizes mourning in many Western cultures but is associated with power and wealth in some Eastern cultures.

Understanding the meaning behind each color can help us better interpret the messages conveyed through art, branding materials, and other visual cues.

International standardization efforts

International standardization efforts play a crucial role in ensuring that products and services are efficient, safe, and compatible across different countries.

The development of international standards allows for consistency in quality and performance.

Which translates to increased trust between businesses and improved public safety.

Organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) work towards harmonizing specifications for different products, processes, systems, and services globally.

One example of international standardization is the traffic light system used worldwide.

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The colors red, yellow/amber, and green were chosen to ensure easy understanding by drivers from different countries regardless of language or literacy level.

Red means stop while green signals go ahead; yellow/amber serves as a warning to slow down before the light turns red.


This internationally standardized system ensures road safety both locally within a country’s borders and cross-border travel.

In conclusion, international standardization efforts have positively impacted various aspects of life including transportation systems.

Standardized practices enable global collaboration on projects such as testing protocols.

During product manufacturing or developing new technologies like 5G networks without the need for independent research by each country separately.

As demonstrated by the traffic light system case study above. The uniformity increases efficiency while also providing more significant benefits regarding public safety both nationally and internationally.