Semiotic Interpretation of the Traffic Light System
And yet each view is distinct in texture from the others, and the existence of such multiple views – each with a claim to emic integrity and each serving as a perspective on the whole – has to be accounted for in a robust semiotic approach. The same phenomena occur when we apply the three views to the analysis of meaning in natural language. The chief illustration is to analyze the meaning of the word dog in multiple ways. The multi-dimensional potential for semiotic analysis highlights the limitations of Aristotelian logic and symbolic logic, both of which simplify for the sake of rigor.
The signs are not equal in duration: The yellow light does not usually last as long as the other two, and the relative duration of the red and green lights is regulated according to the amount of traffic on each road involved. And here we enter into the wonders and the horrors of programming traffic signals, both individually and sequentially (synchronizing them). Semiotics can lead us with no warning into some distressingly mundane realms (Eco, U., 1988).
With this methodological potential, semiotics deserves a larger recognition not only within the lighting research community but also for practitioners, educators, and critics.
Eco, U., Le Signe, Brussels: Labor, 1988.
Everaert-Desmedt, N., Le Processus Interprétatif: Introduction à La Sémiotique DE Ch. S. Peirce, Brussels: Pierre Mardaga Publishing, 1990.