Tactile indicators, also known as TGSIs (Tactile Ground Surface Indicators), are orientation cues built from various materials to assist the visually impaired in navigating their immediate environment safely. They consist of bars or raised studs serially installed regularly and in multiple designs.

You can decide to install tactile indicators as laid paving units, or you may install them as mats glued to the ground. However you choose to install TGSIs, you must ensure that installation is consistently done and with the right type of tactile indicator.

Consistency is essential in installing tactile indicators so that visually impaired folks can interpret tactile cues correctly.

Factors Determining Consistency In Installing TGSIs

Before we dive into today’s topic, let us quickly go over the factors that must be satisfied to ensure consistency in installing tactile indicators. These include:

Dimensions

When producing tactile indicators, you need to ensure that you build them to the exact specifications stated. This attention to detail helps tactile indicators achieve the appropriate prominence when installed and reduces the hazard caused by accidental trips.

Proper Installation

One must take special care when installing tactile indicators. Ensure you space each tactile indicator unit appropriately from the next one in series. Improper spacing can cause visually impaired folks to misinterpret the cues incorrectly, resulting in confusion or even accidents! Being familiar with the Australian Standards is a crucial prerequisite for tactile installers to achieve a uniform layout.

Luminance Contrast

Luminance contrast measures how well visually impaired persons use tactile indicators. And there is a valid reason for this. Many visually impaired persons can still see, albeit partially, and observe appropriately colored tactile indicators. The color of the background against which the tactile indicator rests must be distinct enough to produce a strong contrast. Otherwise, it would be a challenge for visually impaired folks.

According to Australian Standards, there must be a minimum luminance contrast of 45% between the background substrate and the tactile indicator.

Slip Resistance

Slip resistance is an important consideration when installing tactile indicators. Because you would typically place tactile indicators in possibly hazardous locations – such as pedestrian crossings, escalators, railway stations, and bus platforms – they mustn’t contribute to accidental slips and falls.

If you’re looking for high-quality tactile ground surface indicators in Australia, Floorsafe is your number one choice. Our wide array of tactile indicators ensures that you always find an indicator for your specific use.

Choosing A Tactile Indicator

There are many tactile indicators available in the market today. Choosing one depends on your particular need and preference. Tactile ground surface indicators (TGSIs) are generally divided into two main categories.

These are:

Directional Tactile Indicators

Directional tactile indicators are also called “leading” tactile indicators. They are elevated bars installed and arranged serially on the ground and align with the direction of travel. As their name implies, leading tactile indicators guide pedestrians along a predetermined, obstacle-free path.

Directional tactile indicators are deployed whenever conventional environmental cues (for instance, curb edges) are unavailable or do not provide sufficient guidance.

Warning Tactile Indicators

Warning tactile indicators are called “hazard” or “decision” tactile indicators. They are elevated grid designs of studs installed on the ground surface. Hazard tactile indicators warn visually impaired pedestrians of an immediate hazard.

They work much like a traffic stop sign and inform unsuspecting pedestrians of a nearby hazard along their travel path.

Types Of Tactile Indicators

Here is a list of the most popular tactile indicators available in our stores today:

Stainless Steel Tactile Indicators

Stainless steel tactile indicators are some of the most common TGSIs installed today. Manufacturers use 304/316 Marine Grade stainless steel to make stainless steel tactile indicators. They are often used in areas with high commercial density because they are relatively durable.

Brass Tactile Indicators

Corrosion-resistant solid brass is used to make brass tactile indicators. Their durable and robust construction with anti-skid features makes them a suitable fit for areas with very high traffic activity. What’s more, their installation is environmental-friendly

Quick-Fix Self-Adhesive Tactile Indicators

Quick-fix self-adhesive tactile indicators are constructed from different materials such as steel, brass, and PVC. As the name implies, they do not require much effort to install. These self-adhesive tactile indicators employ a high performance 3M VHB instant bonding technology to stick to the ground surface.

Tactile Plates

Tactile plates, also called “Detectable Warning Plates,” are a network of ground surface indicators commonly installed on stairs, sidewalks, and other platforms to guide the visually impaired. They are often manufactured from cast iron, known for their strength, relatively low cost, and versatility.

Peel & Stick Tactile Pads

Peel & Stick Tactile pads are similar to quick-fix self-adhesive tactile plates in their ease of installation. As the name implies, all you need to do is peel off the covering and stick the tactile pad to the substrate’s surface! They are usually made from UV-resistant polyurethane and are deployed in stairways, car parks, and shopping centers.

Silicon Tactile Pads

Silicon tactile pads are produced from high-grade UV-stable silicone rubber. These TacPads are imbued with a surface primer and a silicon-based adhesive for fast and easy installation. These tactile pads are ideal for ceramic, vinyl, smooth concrete, and timber substrates.

Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Tactile Indicator

Now that we’ve looked at some of the different types of tactile indicators, what are those factors to consider before picking one for your next project?

The list below is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of what to look out for in a tactile indicator:

  • How long will they last?
  • How long will installation take?
  • How much labour costs will I incur?
  • Do they come with warranties or guarantees?
  • Can I easily find their replacements?

If you’re unsure of the answers to any of the questions above, you’re better off consulting an experienced tactile indicator installer near you.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today at Floorsafe Australia for your next project.