William Phelps Eno

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William Phelps Eno (June 3, 1858 – December 3, 1945) 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.

He graduated from Yale University in 1882, where he had been a member of Skull and Bones.[1]:9

Though automobiles were rare until Eno was an older man, horse-drawn carriages were already causing significant traffic problems in urban areas like Eno's home town of New York City. In 1867, at the age of 9, he and his mother were caught in a traffic jam. In 1900, he wrote a piece on traffic safety entitled Reform in Our Street Traffic Urgently Needed. In 1903, he wrote a city traffic code for New York, the first such code in the world. He designed traffic plans for New York, London, and Paris.

Eno was a member of the New York Yacht Club and the first owner of the steam yacht Aquilo, built in Boston in 1901.

Among the innovations credited to Eno are the stop sign, the pedestrian crosswalk, the traffic circle, the one-way street, the taxi stand, and pedestrian safety islands.[2]

In 1921 Eno founded the Eno Foundation for Highway Traffic Control, today known as the Eno Center for Transportation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission of improving transportation policy and leadership. Eno was one of the first honorary members of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Further reading[edit]

  • John A. Montgomery, Eno — The Man and the Foundation: A Chronicle of Transportation, 1988


  1. ^ "OBITUARY RECORD OF GRADUATES OF YALE UNIVERSITY DECEASED DURING THE YEAR 1945-1946". Yale University. January 1, 1947. Retrieved April 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ The Father of Traffic Safety at snopes.com

External links[edit]