The Very First Traffic Light in Prague

first traffic light prague

Some sources state that the very first traffic lights were first installed in Prague on the crossroads in the middle of Wenceslas Square between Vodičkova and Jindřišská Streets on the 21st January 1930.

At that time, almost 19,000 cars passed through the junction at peak hours.

The same sources state that the first light signalling facility in Prague was manufactured in ČKD Praha and was installed at the crossroads of Hybernská, Dlážděná and Havlíčkova streets by Masarykovo Railway Station as early as 1927.

Traffic control in Prague

The control of traffic on the busiest crossroads in Prague began on 2nd September 1919; in those days a policeman simply stood in the middle of the crossroads controlling traffic on Můstek and on the other four crossroads assisted with a cosh.

He was using a ‘pendrek’ (baton) to direct traffic. Praguers were staring at him and found it all strange. They began calling him ‘pendrek’, and to this day, traffic guards are called that.

Traffic lights were not to arrive on the scene until later on. Initially, a quadrilateral semaphore was hung in the center of the crossroads and used for cars coming in from all directions as well as for pedestrians. Traffic was usually controlled by instruction from a policeman.

A more modern light signaling system was put into operation as late as around 1967. It was designed by a West German company within the framework of a modern light signaling facility for Prague.

At that time special lights for each arm of a crossroads were gradually put in place for pedestrians as well as trams, along with signals with arrows showing directions.

New traffic rules came into force on 1st January 1967, which implemented for the first time special traffic lights for pedestrians and directing light signals.

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