What do tactile pavements tell us?

Ever wondered what those different bumps and lumps on the pavement mean?

Tactile paving (also called detectable warning surface) is a system of textured ground surface found on footpaths, stairs and station platforms to warn pedestrians who are visually impaired.

Blister paving

Blister Tactile paving at a pedestrian crossing

Tactile paving was first developed in Japan by Seiichi Miyake in 1965. It quickly spread around the world, so thanks Japan! Today it has evolved and there are a number of different types of paving to indicate different warnings.

Blister paving is used for pedestrian crossings. This surface provides a warning to someone with a visual impairment that they are at a road crossing. The surface is an essential safety feature and consists of rows of flat topped blisters in a square pattern.

Offset blister paving

Offset blister paving is found at train, tram and tube platforms, to warn visually impaired people of the edge of the platform. The off-set blister tactile surface consists of flat-topped domes (blisters), spaced 66.5mm apart from the center of one dome to the next one.

This paving can be manufactured in any suitable paving material and in any color that provides a good contrast with the surrounding area.

tactile paving at a train station

Corduroy paving

Corduroy Tactile paving next to a set of steps

Corduroy tactile paving comprises rounded bars running length ways across the direction a pedestrian is walking. The bars are 6mm high and 20mm wide. This type of surface warns visually impaired people of the presence of a specific hazard. This could be the top or bottom of stairs, a level crossing or a ramp. It is also used where a footway joins a shared route. The idea is that it highlights a potential hazard.

Again, this surface can be manufactured in any colour to provide a good contrast with the surrounding area.

Watch this video and hear me explain these different types of tactile paving, along with a little secret hidden under the signal box at pedestrian crossings… Did you know what was lurking under there? Share the knowledge!

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