With the evolution of technology, every aspect of our lives has truly changed for the better. And when it comes to accessibility, the improvement is beyond measurable terms.
Earlier a differently-abled person could not even consider it feasible walking up and down a road without any assistance. But today, thanks to the invention of stainless steel tactile studs, their mobility has been vastly improved.
What are the typical materials used for manufacturing tactile indicators?
As long as the materials comply with the guidelines of tactile indicators, it can be used to process the rows of studs leading the paths of the visually impaired.
Materials which offer durability and resistance from corrosion of weathering agents, like Stainless Steel 316 L (marine grade), aluminum, brass, ceramics, and concrete are preferable for manufacturing the tactile indicators. The most commonly used types are:
- Precast concrete tactile paver
These made from high-quality concrete are designed so as to withstand the harshest climate and offer anti-slipping surfaces to the pedestrians. Each bar consists of two layers, built separately and then joined. While the top layer is made with the perfect blend of materials so to offer vibrant color and at the same time protecting the coat from UV damage, the inner layer contains an aggregate chip to deliver flexibility and strength.
- Stainless steel tactile studs
Often the preferred material to shape into tactile pavers these offers high durability and resistance to wear and tear. Marine grade stainless steel Tactile Indicators have the ability to serve those with special needs for a longer duration even under extreme climatic conditions. These come both in the form of hazard tactile as well as directional tactile and although their function is similar it would not be difficult to differentiate it under favorable lighting fixtures.
What are the tactile indicators?
Often while walking across public spaces, you must have seen a row of raised studs or bars, typically made of a resilient material like stainless steel, leading the way. Those complete rows of slightly raised shiny looking studs are nothing but tactile indicators.
Upon examining clearly, you would see that each stud is somewhat mushroom shaped, and they are fixed to the ground mostly by drilling.
What is the usage of tactile indicators?
The sole intention of setting up tactile indicators officially known as tactile ground surface indicators (TGSI) is to aid pedestrians whose vision is impaired or limited. TGI offers the best means to find their way in bustling public places, without seeking human assistance.
Pedestrians who are partially blind can make the most of the contrast of the bright and shiny studs and the dull ground surface and can go their way effortlessly without facing obstacles in the course of the path.
As for individuals who are completely vision impaired, and do not have the ability to differentiate the modules visually, they can use their cane or feet to feel the raised surfaces and move accordingly. These studs are installed typically raised above the ground surface so that the textural change is easily understood by those who use walking sticks to move around.
Tactile indicators are most likely to be installed across public spaces, hospitals, lift, and stairs and not to forget the area in front of the escalators. And for the convenience of visually impaired pedestrians, these are added even to the platform edges of train stations, metro stations, bus stands, and ferry hubs. Nowadays many countries are also installing these tactile ground indicators across every pedestrian crossing.
Is there any difference between directional and warning tactile indicators?
There has to be a difference, if not many than few obviously, owing to the reason both are installed for.
- Directional Tactile indicators:
Also known as leading tactile, this consists of raised rows of bars installed o the street mostly oriented according to the direction of travel. These are installed at the streets to lead pedestrians along their path avoiding obstacles and these typically terminate with the appearance of warning tactile indicators. These stainless steel tactile indicators are installed so to guide pedestrians when the property lines are not present. In open spaces, they direct the pedestrians in such a way that upon following it, one wouldn’t come across any hazards. You can find it at numerous places like crossing point while entering the public toilet, offices etc.
- Warning tactile indicators:
Also referred to by the name of ‘hazard tactile indicators’, these are typically manufactured from
Stainless Steel 316 so to offer the desired resilience as well as brightness. Usually appearing in forms of medium-sized dots these tactile indicators are installed so to warn a visually impaired person about a nearby hazard. If you are having trouble understanding the concept behind these, then think of these as something like a stop sign for others. Since blind people would have issues making out the outline of any sign these intend to help them up to a huge extent.
In order to ensure the maximum effectiveness of TGSI, the area, colors used also play a very important part. And, the role of experienced installers also cannot be denied, for the supply of the correct raw materials for tactile indicators.