Also known as detectable warnings, tactile paving is a detectable warning system of indicators on the ground that is used to assist the visually impaired pedestrians either by long cane or underfoot. They are mostly used on stairs, footpaths, and train station platforms and comprise of a series of distinctive ground surface patterns characterized by truncated domes, bars, or cones. They are detectable enough to alert the visually impaired of any change in grade, hazardous surfaces or when approaching streets.
Detectable Warning Patterns
This pattern is made of rows of flat-topped blister rows in a square pattern. Blister tactile is used for pedestrian crossing. It provides a warning system for the visually impaired pedestrians who would not easily differentiate between the end of the footway and the beginning of the carriageway. It comes in handy where a change of height is less than 25 mm. As a safety feature, it enables visually impaired wheelchair users to cross the road without impediment.
Offset blister tactile
The surface is a system of flat-topped blisters spaced distances apart from the center of one blister to the other. The offset blister surface warns the visually impaired of the edge of any off-street railway system. For partially sighted road users, they come in varying materials and color designs in order to contrast with the surrounding. They are used for all off-street railway platforms such as underground systems, light rapid transit, and heavy rail platforms. However, they are not used on on-street rail platforms.
Corduroy hazard warning tactile
The corduroy surface consists of transverse rounded bars running across the direction of pedestrian travel. The surface may be buff-colored or made of any color other than red, to enable good contrast with the environment for partially sighted pedestrians. Corduroy hazard warning tactile surfaces warn visually impaired pedestrians of the presence of specific hazards like steps, level crossings, and approach to on street with rapid transit platforms, or a place where a footway joins a shared route. They are also used to warn off other potential hazards such as bottom and top of stairs, at the foot of a ramp or where pedestrians may unintentionally walk on the platform of a railway station.
The Lozenge tactile is a platform edge surface for the on-street warning. The profile of the surface consists of round edge rows of high lozenge shapes. They warn the visually impaired when approaching the edge of the on-street light rapid transit system. The lozenge tactile should not be installed so close to the edge since pedestrians may not have enough time to stop walking once the surface is detected.
The directional tactile is a series of raised but flat-topped bars running towards the direction of pedestrian travel. The surface guides the physically impaired along routes where traditional cues are not available. They also act as a guide to pedestrians around obstacles, between facilities and help them to find a specific location.
A cycle track is a series of raised, flat-topped bars with a Delineator strip. The Delineator strip, usually made of white material, guides the visually impaired pedestrians along the pedestrian side. The tactile cycle surface is suitable where the pedestrian and the cyclist walk on the same side without a physical separation barrier. The surface is laid at the beginning and the end of the shared route, and at any junctions.
Originally instituted in a street in Japan in the late 60s, the use of ductile paving has gradually spread not only across Japan but also throughout the world. Today, the paving system stands out as a suitable hazard warning for the visually impaired in high volume pedestrian areas, traffic free zones, and large urban centers.