Traffic Semantics
Research Project, 2021 – 2022

In the same way that we perceive, interpret and (inter)act on/with products according to the message that products communicate about themselves (their function, properties, interaction, etc.), we - as road users (pedestrians, cyclist, car users, ….. ) - perceive, interpret and act on cues from the environment (roads, road signs, vehicles, architecture, constellations of objects present, etc.) we use for transport. Road users’ actions are not only based on detecting objects, events, and situations, it is a matter of association, interpretation and anticipation based on, e.g., personal traits, earlier experiences, etc.

This pilot project will approach the traffic environment as a semantic construction and investigate the meaning-making processes that influence road users’ perceptions of and (inter)actions with the traffic environment.

The aim is to gain more knowledge on if and how the interplay between the design of roads/streets (incl. placement of crossings, signage etc.) and architecture influence road users’ perceptions, interpretations and actions of and with the traffic environment and in what way different designs can be used to influence road users to act in a more (or less) cautious way. Key RQ are: How do road users behave in different situations? How to they describe and argue their behaviours? In what way does the context (i.e., here design of roads, signs, architecture, constellations of objects) influence their interpretation of the situation, the risks involved, and how they plan (or not) their actions?


Marianne Karlsson (contact)

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Håkan Almius

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Mikael Johansson

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design & Human Factors



Funding Chalmers participation during 2021–2022

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