Did you know: The man who invented the stop sign couldn’t drive

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The man who invented the stop sign, the pedestrian crosswalk, the traffic circle, the one-way street, the taxi stand, and pedestrian safety islands, never learned how to drive.

William Phelps Eno was an American businessman responsible for many of the earliest innovations in road safety and traffic control. He is sometimes known as the “father of traffic safety”, despite never having learned to drive a car himself.

In 1867, at the age of 9, he and his mother were caught in a traffic jam, even before the invention of a motor vehicle. There were only about a dozen horses and carriages involved, and all that was needed was a little order to keep the traffic moving. Nobody knew exactly what to do. Neither the drivers nor the police knew anything about the control of traffic. Years later, when the motor vehicle was commercialized, Eno drew on these experiences in order to create traffic safety regulations, signs, streets, and more.

Until he passed away in 1945, Eno wrote numerous books and safety regulations still in use today. Eno helped significantly improve traffic safety and flow in all cities across the United States.