Ex Chao Ordo: From Chaos, Order
It’s not difficult to imagine what American streets were like before William Phelps Eno. It was pure chaos. In New York City of the 1860’s, streets such as the famous Broadway were constantly clogged with horse-carriage traffic. In 1867, a young Eno was caught in a traffic jam that served as the genesis to the career of “the Father of Traffic Regulation.” Reflecting on that traffic jam, Eno later wrote:
“There were only about a dozen horses and carriages involved, and all that was needed was a little order to keep the traffic moving. Yet nobody knew exactly what to do; neither the drivers nor the police knew anything about the control of traffic.”
In the early 1900’s, William P. Eno began his lifelong mission to bring “order from chaos” on the streets through traffic regulation. An article submitted by Eno to The Rider and Driver in 1900 would result in the first written New York traffic regulations, which promoted the smooth flow of horse and vehicle traffic. Eno proposed “Rules of the Road” including turn signals, slowing and stopping signals and the idea that vehicles should stay to one side of the street.
In 1921, Eno established “The Eno Foundation for Highway Traffic Regulation, Inc.” which is known today as the Eno Center for Transportation. The leader in its field for nearly a century, Eno shapes public debate on critical multimodal transportation issues and builds an innovative network of transportation professionals. In honor of our 100 year anniversary, we will celebrate our history and honor our legacy, while focusing our energies on our vision for the future:
Creating a transportation system that fosters economic vitality, advances social equity, and improves the quality of life for all.
Message from the Co-Chairs
At Eno, we have a philosophy of “meeting change with change” that comes straight from our founder, William Phelps Eno. You see, Mr. Eno was no stranger to change. Although he never drove an automobile, he was a tireless advocate for traffic safety and dedicated his life to creating order out of the chaos that reigned on the streets in his time. Throughout his life, he wrote, traveled, donated, spoke, and did anything and everything he could to advance the new field of traffic engineering which he had pioneered. The Eno Foundation, now known as the Eno Center for Transportation, was and is an enduring legacy to his life’s work.
The Eno Center takes the philosophy of facilitating positive change very seriously. For 100 years, Eno has been at the forefront of policy and practice in the transportation industry. In the 1920’s, that meant convincing city leaders around the world of the benefits of adopting Eno’s Rules of the Road and investing in education and training for the burgeoning traffic engineering field. In the 1970’s, as we celebrated our 50th birthday, it meant encouraging innovation through our legacy publication Transportation Quarterly. Today, our approach includes our unique model of rigorous, independent research combined with high-quality professional development programs, and expansive and inclusive outreach conversations and methods which all contribute to translate ideas to action.
We have the honor to serve as Co-Chairs for Eno’s Centennial – another responsibility that we take seriously. We have both seen first-hand the impact of Eno’s work and we believe in the Eno Center’s vision of a transportation system that fosters economic vitality, advances social equity, encourages diversity and improves the quality of life for all. As we celebrate this once in a lifetime occasion, we plan to draw lessons from our long LEGACY of policy and professional development work to help inform the solutions of today and tomorrow. We’ll explore INNOVATION in both transportation policy and practice and help convene and connect people and organizations to advance and disseminate those ideas. But ultimately, the most important goal for the Centennial is to use the IMPACT of our work to move us forward to our shared vision.
We invite you to join us throughout the year to engage with us to help create the transportation system we collectively envision: a people centered system that is more multimodal, more equitable, more accessible, encourages economic growth and innovation, and effectively and safely connects people to opportunities.