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Our Focus: Tactile Indicators

What are Tactile Indicators?

Tactile Indicators are products made from various materials installed into the ground consisting of a series of raised studs or bars. They are installed in the form of laid paving units, individual mushroom shaped studs drilled and fixed into the ground or mats glued to the ground surface.

What are Tactile Indicators used for?

The purpose of Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSI) is to give pedestrians who are blind, or who have vision impairment warning of hazards and directional information to aid navigation of the urban environment.

This is achieved by aligning the raised stud or bar pattern of the Tactile Indicators on the ground surface, enabling blind pedestrians to feel the textural changes through their feet or with a cane.

Pedestrians with limited vision use the colour contrast between the Tactile Indicators and ground surface to detect the modules visually.

TGSI are predominantly used to lead pedestrians to and identify public access facilities such as intersection kerb ramps, pedestrian crossings, stairs, lifts, ramps and escalators. They are also used at public transport facilities to alert pedestrians to platform edges at train stations, bus and tram stop areas and ferry wharves.

In addition in assisting with orientation, Tactile Indicators help provide safe, dignified & independent access to and within the community.

What is the difference between Warning and Directional Tactile Indicators?

Warning Tactile Indicators - are also referred to as Hazard Tactiles and sometimes Decision Tactiles. They are installed to the walking surface in a raised grid pattern of studs or ‘dots’ and used to warn blind and vision-impaired pedestrians of a nearby hazard. 

Warning indicators are intended to function much like a stop sign. They alert pedestrians who are blind or vision-impaired to hazards in their line of travel, indicating that they should stop to determine the nature of the hazard before proceeding further.  They do not indicate what the hazard will be.

Directional Tactile Indicators - also referred to as Leading Tactiles, consist of a series of raised bars installed to the walking surface, oriented in line with the prescribed direction of travel.  They are installed to safely lead pedestrians along an intended pathway free of obstacles and will often terminate at a pad of Warning Tactile Indicators.

Directional indicators are used where other tactile and environmental cues, such as the property line or kerb edge are absent or give insufficient guidance. They give directional orientation in open spaces and designate the continuous accessible route to be taken to avoid hazards. They also give directional orientation to a person who must deviate from the continuous accessible path to gain access to a crossing point, public transport access point, or point of entry to a significant public facility eg, public toilet, information centre.