26th Sep 2023
In an accessible design, color contrast plays a vital role in enhancing detectability, especially for those with visual impairments. Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) rely heavily on high color contrast to make their textures visually discernible. This allows partially sighted individuals to supplement the tactile cues with visual information.
For architects, contractors, and engineers specifying tactile surfaces, understanding effective color contrast principles is key to creating accessible and compliant installations. This guide will explore the significance of color contrast, guidelines from Canadian standards, and factors to consider when selecting colors for tactile tiles and surfaces.
While tactilely discernible textures form the foundation of accessible design, sufficient color contrast takes detectability to the next level. Color contrast makes tactile surfaces more visible to those with partial sight, allowing them to spot upcoming changes in the walking surface and respond appropriately.
The high color contrast draws people's attention to the tactile surface, whether it is a warning indicator or a directional path. This prompts individuals to be more observant of their surroundings when they detect the shift in visual appearance between the tiles and adjacent surfaces.
For example, bright yellow truncated domes on a sidewalk curve ramp strongly contrast with the grey concrete pavement. This alerts a pedestrian with low vision to assess their surroundings and identify the upcoming transition from sidewalk to street.
By making textures “pop” visually, strong color contrast enhances safety in public realm navigation for all individuals, especially those who rely on multiple senses beyond just touch.
In Canada, recognized standards guide appropriate color contrast for tactile walking surface indicators. These include:
Additionally, certain colors are designated for specific tactile surface types by convention and best practice, including:
When choosing colors for a tactile installation, consider the following:
Pick colors with at least 70% light reflectance value contrast per accessibility standards. Lighter colors against darker substrates provide the most substantial contrast.
Stick to standardized colors - like safety yellow for warning domes - that align with universal design conventions.
Select colors providing sufficient contrast in daytime and night lighting for maximum discernibility. Light-on-dark often performs better in low light.
Aim for hues contrasting with adjacent material finishes like concrete, stone, metal, carpet, etc., to make the tactile surface clearly distinguishable.
Colors should stand out but complement the overall visual cohesion design scheme. Neutrals like grey and beige are easily paired.
In outdoor settings, increased contrast is key for visibility under varied conditions. Indoors, softer contrasts may suffice, depending on context.
Higher contrast is beneficial for smaller installations, whereas larger contiguous tactile surfaces already stand out, requiring less contrast.
8. Standard Availability
Select from colors that are readily available from manufacturers to avoid custom color minimums and long lead times.
Here are some examples of tactile solutions using color contrasts that enhance accessibility:
These heavy-duty metal tiles come in a bold matte yellow that strikingly contrasts against concrete sidewalks, cinder block walls, asphalt roads, and other common exterior materials. The strong dark-on-light contrast ensures high visibility outdoors.
This stainless-steel plate with embedded truncated domes has a stamped textured finish that makes it pop against floor surfaces. The grey metallic color contrasts nicely both indoors and out against materials like tile, terrazzo, concrete, granite, wood, etc.
For upscale interior installations, these porcelain pavers are available in softer earth tones like cultured grey, vogue black, and sandstone that sufficiently contrast with stone, wood, or neutral floor tiles. The organic hues blend in aesthetically while remaining discernible.
Many tactile products can be custom color-matched or manufactured using specific polymers or resins on request to achieve the required color contrast against planned surfaces. Consulting manufacturers or suppliers is advised to develop optimal color-contrasted solutions for unique projects.
Standards like CSA B651 also recommend installing a test placement area to check if the specified color contrast meets minimum light reflectance value requirements through on-site verification before full-scale installation.
While maximizing contrast for accessibility, aesthetics and design harmony should not be sacrificed. This balances visibility needs with aesthetic vision. By thoughtfully incorporating contrast and color, tactile surfaces can enhance function without compromising form. The right colors elevate safety intuitively.
As Canada’s premier accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada offers a complete selection of tactile walking surface indicators from leading brands designed to meet all major codes and standards in Canada.
Our extensive range includes detectable warning surfaces, directional guidance tiles, and photoluminescent stair nosings in high-contrast colors created in consultation with accessibility experts.
With a client-focused approach, our team provides guidance at every stage - from initial color selection to onsite quality checks - to deliver compliant tactile installations that are impactful, functional, and harmonious.
To learn more about engineering optimal color contrast for your next project or to view our range of accessible tactile solutions, contact the experts at Tactile Solution Canada today!
A light reflectance value (LRV) contrast of at least 70% is recommended per Canadian accessibility standards like the CSA B651.
High color contrast enhances the visibility of tactile textures for those with partial sight, allowing for warning indications to be both felt underfoot and seen.
Standard colors are safety yellow for warning domes or tiles and brick red, yellow, or black for directional bars or indicators.
Yes, colors should conform to universal conventions. For example, yellow domes indicate hazards everywhere. Consistency aids recognition.
Conducting test placements and using a color contrast analyzer tool will validate if the contrast meets reflectance value requirements.
26th Sep 2023
Creating accessible and navigable public spaces is a crucial responsibility for urban planners, architects, and building owners. For individuals with visual disabilities, seamlessly orienting and traversing unfamiliar environments poses daily challenges.
Thoughtfully designed tactile wayfinding offers invaluable sensory cues that empower visually impaired citizens to navigate public spaces confidently and independently. As Canada's leading provider of tactile wayfinding solutions, we outline key considerations for planning inclusive tactile wayfinding in public spaces.
Tactile wayfinding refers to the use of standardized textured ground surface indicators that assist pedestrians who are blind or have low vision by providing directional cues and orientation information. These indicators, commonly called wayfinding tiles or tactile guidance paths, contain raised bars, cones, or grooved patterns installed along pedestrian circulation routes.
By using their cane or feet to detect these tactile cues, visually impaired individuals can discern pathways and amenity locations. Tactile wayfinding enables accessible, independent mobility.
For citizens with visual disabilities, navigating unfamiliar, complex public environments can be daunting. Lack of accessible wayfinding hampers their mobility and prevents equal access to public services and recreational spaces.
Thoughtfully designed tactile wayfinding fosters independence and confidence by providing an intuitive navigation channel. By consulting standards like the CSA B651 and integrating compliant wayfinding tiles in spaces like transit hubs, museums, parks, and malls, planners enable seamless accessibility.
When planning tactile wayfinding systems, consider the following key factors:
Analyze how key origin and destination points within the public space will be linked via accessible pathways marked by tactile indicators. For example, wayfinding tiles can trace routes from transit station entrances to ticket booths, platforms, and exits.
Observe user movement patterns within the space to determine appropriate wayfinding tile placement and routing. Mark the most logical and accessible routes connecting key user areas.
Adhere to relevant provincial and national accessibility standards and building codes, including the AODA and CSA B651, which provide tactile wayfinding specifications.
Maintain consistency in wayfinding tile color, material, texture pattern, and installation methodology throughout the site for cohesiveness and usability.
Wayfinding tiles should enable intuitive orientation by linking together in a logical layout. Cues for direction changes, such as truncated domes at 90-degree turns, are helpful.
Avoid visual clutter and obstacles along tactile routes. Maintain clear sight lines for individuals using canes to optimize usability.
Seamlessly connect tactile wayfinding paths between indoor and outdoor areas and across changes in elevation using ramps, elevators etc.
Choose wayfinding tiles made of durable, slip-resistant materials suitable for heavy pedestrian traffic. Popular options are vitrified polymer composites, metals, porcelain, and ceramic.
Select tile colors that contrast surrounding surfaces for optimal visibility. Prioritize bright, vibrant colors and lower-glare finishes.
Assess wayfinding tile maintainability, modularity, and replacement requirements. Opt for medium to long lifespans of 10-25+ years.
Consider potential underfoot noise from wayfinding tiles. Porcelain, ceramic, and rubber tiles offer quieter alternatives.
Consult Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) representatives and visually impaired citizens to gain feedback on wayfinding design.
Leverage guidance from accessibility consultants and manufacturers like Tactile Solutions with extensive tactile wayfinding expertise.
By proactively planning tactile wayfinding infrastructure, urban designers and architects can seamlessly transform public spaces to enable accessibility for all citizens, regardless of ability. The considerations above, combined with engagement from visually impaired users and guidance from experts like Tactile Solutions, are key to creating accessible environments.
Some examples of effective public space tactile wayfinding include:
By consulting accessibility standards and proactively planning tactile wayfinding infrastructure, stakeholders can transform public realm spaces into beacons of accessibility that foster mobility and independence for all citizens.
As Canada's premier accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solutions partners with urban planners, architects, and property managers to integrate compliant tactile wayfinding systems that make public spaces seamlessly accessible.
Our extensive product range includes industry-leading wayfinding tiles from trusted brands like:
Designed for simple installation, weather resistance, and long-lasting performance, our wayfinding products transform public spaces into beacons of accessibility.
A. Key public spaces that call for compliant tactile wayfinding are transit hubs, civic plazas, shopping malls, parks, sidewalks, entertainment venues, tourism sites, and government/institutional facilities.
A.It provides a safe navigation channel for the blind or visually impaired to orient themselves and traverse spaces independently via reliable underfoot cues.
A.The key regulations are the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), CSA B651 Standard on Barrier-Free Design, and various provincial building codes.
A.Tiles can be surface-mounted on existing flooring using adhesive or mechanical fasteners. They can also be embedded into fresh concrete or asphalt for new construction.
Tactile wayfinding infrastructure thoughtfully planned in accordance with leading standards creates accessible and navigable public realm facilities. By consulting experts like Tactile Solutions Canada and engaging visually impaired citizens, urban designers can employ compliant wayfinding tiles to transform public spaces into beacons of accessibility and inclusivity.
26th Sep 2023
In recent years, installing tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) has become an indispensable part of designing public spaces and facilities in Canada. TWSIs, also known as detectable warning surfaces, are standardized textured ground surfaces that convey critical information to pedestrians through touch and sound cues. They are vital in enhancing accessibility and safety for all users, especially those with visual impairments.
However, even with the growing awareness of TWSIs' importance, many public and private spaces remain non-compliant regarding required tactile installations. This non-adherence poses severe liability risks for property owners, facility managers, contractors, and architects if accidents or injuries occur due to the lack of proper tactile warnings.
This blog explores the importance of tactile code compliance in Canada and outlines key liability risks for stakeholders regarding TWSIs.
In Canada, tactile installation requirements are mandated by various federal, provincial, and municipal regulations, most notably:
These regulations require TWSIs to be installed in some public regions to warn pedestrians with vision impairments about potential hazards like stairs, curbs, platform edges, intersections, etc. Compliance is crucial from both an ethical and legal standpoint.
By failing to adhere to tactile installation codes, property owners and constructors deny persons with disabilities their right to accessible infrastructure, putting them at risk of accidents. It reflects poorly on an organization’s commitment to inclusivity and universal design.
Violating mandated tactile installation codes and standards poses several significant legal risks:
Lack of required TWSI installations means hazards like unexpected stairs, curbs, ramps, etc., go undetected. This significantly increases the chances of trip and fall accidents for pedestrians with vision loss. Any resulting injuries can lead to costly litigation and compensation claims against property owners.
Breaching provincial and municipal accessibility legislation can attract heavy fines and penalties. For example, violating the AODA can incur fines of up to $100,000 per day for organizations, plus potential damage suits.
Legal penalties combined with media coverage of accidents can also lead to substantial reputational damage for owners, negatively impacting property values, leasing, and public perception.
If scandals or accidents occur, there will be eventual costs for retroactive tactile installation and upgrades to become compliant. Taking a proactive approach right from the planning and construction phase is wiser.
Here are some tips to ensure tactile code compliance and mitigate risks:
Constructors, designers, and property managers need to be well-versed with Canada’s major tactile compliance codes:
The AODA is a landmark accessibility legislation in Ontario that mandates the installation of TWSIs at public facilities. The Design of Public Spaces Standards under AODA provides detailed technical specifications on required tactile installations at various public spaces like sidewalks, crosswalks, transit platforms, recreational trails, play spaces, etc. It also imposes heavy fines for non-compliance.
The OBC legally governs construction across Ontario. Section 3.8 on barrier-free design prescribes TWSI requirements for buildings, including specifications on types of TWSIs and correct locations for installation like stairs, curb ramps, pedestrian crossings, platform edges, etc. It sets the minimum legally required tactile installations.
Canada's nationally recognized B651 standard provides comprehensive specifications on TWSIs. It sets optimal technical requirements for tactile surface dimensions, materials, color/tonal contrast, placement locations, etc., for enhanced accessibility. While voluntary, the CSA standard represents industry best practices.
Municipal governments like Toronto also impose bylaws and facility accessibility policies mandating and regulating the installation of TWSIs at public facilities within their jurisdiction. These codes should be consulted for any localized tactile requirements.
In recent years, multiple high-profile lawsuits and human rights complaints have been filed against public and private property owners related to the lack of mandated TWSIs leading to accidents and injuries.
Such outcomes illustrate the enormous risk posed by non-compliance with tactile installation codes. Being proactive about the proper tactile application per all relevant regulations can help avoid tragic accidents while demonstrating a solid commitment to creating infrastructure that is accessible and inclusive to all.
Some typical locations requiring compliant TWSI application per codes like the AODA, OBC, and CSA B651 are stairs, curb ramps, pedestrian crossings, transit platforms, escalators, hotel room balconies, playgrounds, recreational trails, parking lots, food courts, etc.
Consequences include heavy fines of up to $100,000 daily, lawsuits and damage claims by injured persons, orders to retrofit inaccessible facilities, negative publicity, and reputational damage.
Liability extends to all parties involved in the design and construction process, including property owners, facility managers, developers, architects, contractors, and construction companies.
Typical solutions include metal, durable polymer, rubber, porcelain, or concrete TWSIs installed via surface-mounting, embedding into fresh concrete, replacing existing tiles with compliant tactile tiles, etc.
By selecting high-quality tactile products from reputable suppliers like Tactile Solution Canada, having proper installation by trained professionals, and conducting routine maintenance checks and prompt replacement when any wear/damage is detected, facilities in Canada can stay accessible, durable, and code-compliant over time.
26th Sep 2023
Canada prides itself on being an inclusive, welcoming, and accessible society for all. However, for over 6 million Canadians living with disabilities, navigating the built environment poses daily challenges. Disability statistics in Canada reveal the pressing need to create more accessible, barrier-free infrastructure and public spaces.
This blog delves into the latest data on Canadians with disabilities and explains how it underscores the importance of investing in accessible design, including tactile guidance systems and hazard warnings. We will also explore how Tactile Solution Canada’s products can equip builders, architects, and property managers to meet accessibility obligations.
Recent data from Statistics Canada provides insights into the prevalence of disability across the Canadian population:
This cross-section of Canadian society faces diverse functional limitations in seeing, hearing, mobility, flexibility, dexterity, pain, learning, mental health, memory, and more. These impede their full participation in society.
For persons with disabilities, the design of infrastructure and public spaces frequently poses barriers to accessibility:
Such barriers infringe on rights, isolate citizens, and exclude valuable perspectives. They highlight the need for accessibility-focused design.
The disability data presents a compelling case for accessibility in Canada:
Federal, provincial, and municipal regulations mandate accessibility and barrier-free design in infrastructure projects across Canada:
These laws require public spaces and buildings to integrate accessibility features like ramps, wayfinding aids, tactile surfaces, and visual cues.
As a pioneering provider of tactile solutions in Canada, Tactile Solution partners with builders, architects, and property managers to integrate accessibility into public spaces and building projects.
Our product portfolio includes essential tactile systems like:
These solutions promote accessibility and universal design through:
By investing in compliant tactile design, forward-thinking builders and property managers create welcoming environments where all citizens can participate fully.
Major regulations mandating accessibility compliance for infrastructure projects include the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), provincial building codes, CSA accessibility standards, and municipal bylaws.
Disabilities that can impede accessing public realms include vision loss, hearing impairments, mobility limitations requiring wheelchairs or walkers, chronic pain, and cognitive disabilities.
Tactile guidance paths and hazard indicators provide critical navigation cues and warnings through touch and visual contrast to pedestrians with vision loss.
Key locations requiring compliant tactile tiles or pavers are transit platforms, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, building entrances, stairs, parks, and parking areas.
The prevalence of disability across age groups and genders indicates a widespread need for accessibility. This data supports the business case for organizations to invest in inclusive design.
The need for accessible infrastructure is clear - over 6 million Canadians face barriers when navigating the built environment. Universal design benefits us all.
As Canada works towards its 2040 accessibility goals, organizations like Tactile Solution Canada equip stakeholders with practical solutions to transform spaces. Contact us today to make accessibility a reality.
6th Sep 2023
In public realm design, tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) serve a vital role in enhancing accessibility and safety for pedestrians with vision impairments. TWSIs provide standardized textured ground surfaces that convey essential navigational cues and hazard warnings through the sense of touch.
Two key types of TWSIs exist—warning tactile and guidance tactile. But what exactly sets them apart? In this blog post, we’ll explore the crucial differences between these two indispensable tactile systems.
Also known as attention or hazard tactile indicators, warning tactile signify potential dangers present along the path of travel. Warning tactile typically feature:
Warning tactile’s textured pattern alerts pedestrians to stop, assess their surroundings, and proceed with caution. They notify individuals with vision impairments about impending drop-offs, obstacles, or changes in elevation.
Some prime locations where warning tactile provide vital hazard cues include:
Warning tactile along the platform edge prevents accidental slips and falls onto the tracks.
Warning tiles at transitions from sidewalk to street caution users about the level change.
Warning tiles mark door thresholds to indicate the change in elevation.
Warning patterns at stair nosings signal upcoming stairs.
Warning tactile defines the crossing point before vehicle routes.
Warning tactile forewarn users of moving staircases.
Guidance tactile, also called directional or wayfinding tactile, provides orientation cues to guide pedestrians along appropriate circulation routes. Guidance tactile common feature:
The linear bars give pedestrians tactile information about the safe direction of movement and path location. Guidance or tactile wayfinding enables intuitive wayfinding, especially in large open spaces.
Some key locations where guidance tactile direct and orient pedestrians include:
Guidance tactile directs passengers to platforms, ticket counters, exits, etc.
Guidance patterns guide users safely across open plazas and fields.
Guidance tactile leads from entrances to reception desks, elevators, and other areas.
Guidance patterns direct users through sprawling complexes.
Now that we’ve covered both systems independently, let’s examine how warning and guidance tactile differ:
When employing TWSIs in public realm design, it’s crucial to follow Canadian accessibility guidelines and regulations. Relevant codes and standards include:
Compliant tactile not only fulfill legal obligations but also create consistently accessible and interpretable cues that enhance public safety.
The two main types are warning/attention tactile, that caution about hazards, and guidance/wayfinding tactile, which directs along safe paths.
Warning tactile is used at platform edges, curb ramps, apartment/condo buildings, stairs, pedestrian crossings, etc. Guidance tactile is installed along walkways and circulation routes.
Yes, warning and guidance tactile work in tandem. Guidance paths often begin/end with warning tiles indicating upcoming hazards or decision points.
Relevant regulations include the AODA, CSA B651, Ontario Building Code, and National Building Code of Canada.
As Canada’s premier accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada offers a wide selection of compliant warning and guidance tactile systems from trusted brands like:
Let our team of experts recommend the optimal tactile systems for your next public project. Contact Tactile Solution Canada today!
6th Sep 2023
Tactile surfaces such as detectable warning pavers, tiles, and plates serve a vital purpose in enhancing accessibility and navigation for individuals with visual disabilities. The humble beginnings of these textured ground indicators have blossomed into an indispensable infrastructure component that promotes mobility and independence.
In this blog, we'll explore some key milestones in the evolutionary journey of tactile surfaces. Understanding this history provides insight into how these accessible design elements came to transform public spaces.
The genesis of tactile paving traces back to post-World War II Japan. After the war, Japan's cities saw an influx of veterans with visual disabilities. This highlighted the need for urban design features to assist navigation.
In 1965, Seiichi Miyake, an engineering student at Okayama University, developed an innovative solution - textured blocks with raised domes and bars detectable by foot and cane. His invention was inspired by Braille blocks.
In 1965 itself, Miyake's tactile blocks were installed for the first time at a street crossing in Okayama City. This pioneering installation near a school for the blind kickstarted the tactile paving revolution.
Soon after, the textured blocks spread across Japan at pedestrian crossings to promote safety. Their runaway success led to the adoption of national railways across transit platforms nationwide.
By 1985, tactile paving was ubiquitous in Japan. That year, it was formally christened “Hazard Guide for the Visually Impaired.”
Color coding also helped users interpret different blocks. This formalized tactile system accelerated accessible urban growth across Japan.
In the 1990s, tactile paving expanded beyond Japan, becoming recognized internationally as an indispensable tool for accessible design.
The ADA in the US, Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act, and the UK’s Department for Transport helped proliferate tactile paving by setting standards.
By the late 1990s, tactile blocks were ubiquitous across transit platforms and pedestrian walkways in major cities across North America, Europe, and Oceania.
Canada actively adopted tactile systems starting in the 1990s across transportation infrastructure. In the 2000s, integration spread to the wider public realm via provincial and municipal accessibility laws.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) currently mandates tactile installation in all new and renovated public spaces across the province.
Today, tactile paving is entrenched worldwide as an indispensable accessibility solution. With the population aging, chronic illnesses, and mobility device usage increasing, the importance of tactile surfaces grows each year.
Tactile surfaces allow users of all abilities to access outdoor recreation, transit systems, pedestrian routes, businesses, and public services independently and safely.
The evolution of voluntary accessible design into enforceable regulations and standards has helped drive universal adoption. Tactile surfaces now seamlessly blend into urban landscapes as an intuitive accessibility aid.
Tactile solutions like detectable warning tiles and plates are vital in making infrastructure accessible for multiple reasons:
Tactile surfaces allow people with visual disabilities to navigate safely using senses like touch and hearing. The textured cues provide spatial awareness, directionality, and hazard warnings.
Tactile plates transform unfamiliar, complex environments into navigable spaces by providing a mental map. This allows for exploration with confidence, independence, and security.
Tactile patterns placed strategically help users detect and avoid dangers like platform edges, busy intersections, and stairs through tactile feedback.
Installing compliant tactile surfaces satisfies legal obligations under disability legislation like the AODA, ADA, and building codes.
Standardized installation ensures uniformity in how warnings and cues are conveyed across regions. This consistency enables intuitive interpretation.
By facilitating accessible navigation, tactile surfaces encourage fuller participation in community life, from parks to libraries to arenas.
In Canada, tactile installations must adhere to accessibility legislation and standards. Key regulations include:
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
Thanks to inclusive design advocacy, rigorous testing, and human-centered innovation, tactile surfaces have evolved into an indispensable component of accessibility.
Ongoing research aims to enhance detectability and aesthetics using technologies like RFID-embedded and LED-integrated tiles. As populations age and diversify, the need for accessible infrastructure only grows.
Tactile wayfinding and hazard warning solutions continue advancing in lockstep with progressive social values of equity, mobility, and independence.
The future looks bright for tactile surfaces to play an ever-greater role in crafting barrier-free, welcoming communities that leave no one behind. The universal adoption of these inclusive design elements is a mark of societies progressing towards accessibility for all citizens.
Tactile paving was invented in 1965 by Japanese engineering student Seiichi Miyake, who was inspired by Braille.
The first ever use of tactile paving was in 1965 at a street crossing in Okayama City, Japan, near a school for the blind.
Tactile paving was introduced in North America in the 1990s after the ADA and Disability Discrimination Act set detectable warning standards.
Common tactile paving materials are durable polymers, metals, porcelain, rubber, concrete, and engineered composite plastics.
Tactile surfaces provide standardized tactile and audio cues to help visually impaired pedestrians detect hazards, navigate safely, avoid disorientation, and travel independently.
As Canada's leading tactile solutions provider, Tactile Solutions Canada offers premium products to make infrastructure accessible. Our extensive range includes:
Let our team of experts recommend optimal solutions for your next public space project. Contact Tactile Solutions Canada today!
6th Sep 2023
Navigating expansive public spaces like transit stations, stadiums, and shopping malls can be challenging, especially for individuals with visual disabilities. Photoluminescent wayfinding solutions provide illuminated visual cues that guide users safely and intuitively toward key locations and exits, even in pitch-dark conditions.
As per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), integrating proper wayfinding systems is crucial for creating accessible public realms. Photoluminescent wayfinding leverages glow-in-the-dark technology to provide continuous non-visual orientation when the lights are out.
Let’s explore the top 7 benefits of photoluminescent wayfinding solutions:
Photoluminescent wayfinding absorbs and stores ambient light, emitting a bright glow when darkness falls. The luminescence lasts for hours, providing a clear path even after the lights are switched off. This 24/7 visibility aids navigation at any time of day or night.
As photoluminescent wayfinding is self-illuminated, it remains fully functional even if electricity fails. The autonomous glow provides reliable visual orientation when exit signs and indoor lighting shut off due to blackouts or emergencies.
Photoluminescent wayfinding adheres to crucial codes like the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards for egress markings. Using compliant systems protects from penalties and lawsuits.
The bright glow pierces through smoke, fog, and pitch darkness. This clear visibility enables safe evacuation and navigation when visibility is near-zero during fires or disasters.
Tactile directional cues guide blind or low-vision individuals along appropriate circulation paths, allowing independent movement through unfamiliar public spaces.
With no need for electricity or batteries, photoluminescent wayfinding is energy-efficient and eco-friendly. This saves energy costs over traditional electrically powered signs.
Available in customizable sizes and colors, photoluminescent strips and markers blend into the interior aesthetic. The discreet integration provides visibility without compromising interior design.
Tactile Solutions Canada offers a wide range of photoluminescent wayfinding products from trusted manufacturers like Ecoglo. Our top products include:
Ecoglo Photoluminescent Running Man Exit Signs – Highly visible directional exit signs to mark egress pathways.
Photoluminescent Stair Edge Nosing Glued or Screwed to Existent Surface or Put into Wet Concrete – Marking of staircase edges for improved visibility and safety.
With over a decade of experience supplying wayfinding solutions in Canada, we are the go-to experts on code-compliant photoluminescent systems. Our team provides product recommendations tailored to your unique application and specifications.
They absorb and store ambient light, requiring no batteries or electricity. The stored energy is emitted as a glow in the darkness.
Large public spaces like transit hubs, theaters, stadiums, offices, malls, and apartments need compliant wayfinding systems.
Most systems glow up to 70 hours on a 30-60-minute charge. The glow duration depends on the light exposure and material efficiency.
Quality photoluminescent wayfinding solutions can have a lifespan exceeding 25 years with minimal deterioration.
It provides 24/7 visibility, reliability during power failures, code compliance, smoke visibility, intuitive access for blind and low-vision users, and energy efficiency.
Photoluminescent wayfinding solutions enable business managers, owners, architects, and contractors to make public spaces optimally navigable for all citizens, especially those with disabilities. By investing in compliant systems, you can create an infrastructure that is accessible, inclusive, and perceptible regardless of abilities or surrounding conditions.
As a full-service Canadian supplier of photoluminescent signage and AODA, CSA, ISO, and IFC code-compliant (TWSI) tactile tiles, Tactile Solutions Canada is your ideal partner for wayfinding projects. Our team of experts makes compliance simple by recommending properly tested and approved products tailored specifically for your application's size, aesthetics, codes, and accessibility needs.
Bring our luminous wayfinding solutions on board and see your public space transformed with round-the-clock accessibility! Contact our team today to make your next project glow.
30th Aug 2023
Navigating through public spaces can be challenging for individuals with visual impairments. Having proper wayfinding solutions in place is crucial to ensure accessibility and safety for the visually impaired. Tactile wayfinding uses specialized textures and indicators to guide users and provide important spatial information non-visually through the sense of touch.
As per accessibility legislation in Canada, implementing compliant tactile wayfinding solutions in public spaces is a legal obligation. This guide will explore what tactile wayfinding entails, how it helps the visually impaired, types of solutions and standards for optimal implementation. Read out to know:
Tactile wayfinding utilizes standardized ground surface textures comprising raised bars or indicators installed in walking areas. These tactile cues serve to outline paths of travel and key points like amenities, exits, and turnings through distinctive patterns that can be felt underfoot or with a cane.
There are two main purposes tactile wayfinding serves:
Well-executed tactile wayfinding enables visually impaired individuals to navigate safely and independently within environments by providing physical directional prompts detectable through touch.
Thoughtfully implemented tactile wayfinding confers several advantages for enhancing accessibility:
There are multiple options available when specifying tactile wayfinding solutions:
These are installed on existing hard surfaces using adhesive. It is ideal for retrofit projects with no demolition needed.
These are installed directly into freshly poured concrete. It is suited for new construction. Provide permanent tactile guidance.
Discrete bars screwed into existing surfaces. It is for smaller-scale applications.
Uses glow-in-the-dark photoluminescent strips. It provides illumination in the darkness.
Based on factors like setting, foot traffic, visibility needs and budget, appropriate solutions can be adapted to provide compliant and consistent tactile wayfinding.
To ensure effectiveness, tactile wayfinding solutions must adhere to certain guidelines and codes. Key specifications as per CSA B651 include:
Following recognized standards ensures tactile wayfinding is implemented thoughtfully by maximizing accessibility, detectability and safety.
Here are some key public environments that benefit from properly integrated tactile wayfinding:
Careful installation of compliant tactile wayfinding networks spanning key pedestrian zones makes public spaces more usable for citizens of all abilities.
Proper installation and care ensure longevity of tactile wayfinding solutions:
With conscientious installation and maintenance, tactile wayfinding solutions will provide enhanced accessibility and experience for years.
Tactile Solution Canada offers the widest range of compliant tactile wayfinding solutions from trusted brands like Access Tile, Armor Tile, Advantage Tile and Ecoglo. Our offerings are:
To learn more about tactile wayfinding or to get product recommendations from our experts, contact Tactile Solutions Canada today!
The two main purposes are to provide directional guidance along appropriate pedestrian paths and circulation routes and enable spatial mapping of environments.
Tactile wayfinding is mandated in all public spaces like sidewalks, parks, transit platforms, airports, office lobbies, retail stores, government buildings as per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Major types are surface-applied tactile tiles, cast-in-place tactile tiles, metal tactile tiles, individual embedded bars, and photoluminescent wayfinding strips.
Key considerations are indoor/outdoor setting, new or retrofit construction, expected footfall, ability to replace tiles, costs, visibility needs and compliance with standards.
With high-quality installation and materials, tactile wayfinding solutions can last 10-15 years with minimal replacement needs beyond periodic replacement of damaged tiles
30th Aug 2023
In public buildings across Canada, glowing green emergency exit signs are becoming a more common sight. But how exactly do these photoluminescent exit signs work their magic to illuminate emergency exit routes even when the lights go out? Read on for a science explainer demystifying the inner workings of photoluminescent exit signs and their benefits.
Photoluminescent exit signs rely on the phenomenon of “photoluminescence” to operate without electricity. Photoluminescence refers to the ability of certain materials to absorb, store, and emit light energy. These photoluminescent materials include phosphors like strontium aluminate and zinc sulfide.
When exposed to ambient light, the phosphors get energized. The absorbed photons excite the phosphors’ electrons to a higher energy state. When the ambient light source disappears, these excited electrons fall back to their normal state, emitting the excess energy as visible light. Hence the photoluminescent material seems to “glow in the dark” after being charged.
Photoluminescent exit signs contain non-toxic photoluminescent materials integrated into panels or strips. These get charged when exposed to any ambient light source, whether natural daylight entering through windows or ordinary indoor overhead lighting.
Once fully charged, the energized phosphor-infused panels glow brightly in dim or dark conditions. The glow emitted is a lime green color that meets international standards for exit sign illumination.
The glow duration depends on the strength and duration of the initial charging:
This ability to “recharge” themselves using surrounding environmental light makes photoluminescent exit signs completely self-powered and sustainable. They require no external electricity or batteries to operate in dark conditions.
Photoluminescent exit signs offer numerous advantages that make them an ideal emergency lighting solution:
Photoluminescent exit signs are completely unaffected by electricity disruptions and will keep glowing in blackouts when traditional electric exit signs may fail. This unmatched reliability during emergencies ensures exit routes remain visible for safe egress.
By tapping into ambient light, photoluminescent signs consume zero energy. This saves on electricity costs and carbon footprint. They are an eco-friendly, sustainable solution.
3. Durable for Years
Photoluminescent materials retain their luminosity for over a decade. The signs have a lifespan of 15+ years, unlike electric exit signs requiring regular battery replacements.
4. Highly Visible Photoluminescent Glow
The bright green glow of the signs is designed to meet international standards for exit sign illumination. This high visibility captures attention quickly.
5. Fire and Moisture Resistant
The photoluminescent material is non-flammable and continues glowing even in humid or wet conditions. This makes the signs suitable even for outdoor applications.
6. Easy Maintenance
Photoluminescent exit signs have no electrical components and require only occasional cleaning. This saves on maintenance overhead.
Photoluminescent exit signs meet rigorous visibility standards defined in building codes and EN standards for emergency lighting. This ensures legal compliance.
Photoluminescent exit signs are fast replacing traditional electrically-powered exit signs as the new code-compliant standard across Canada and worldwide.
The incentive is the latest building codes and accessibility regulations that promote sustainable designs. For example:
The National Building Code of Canada (NBC) states that newly constructed buildings must incorporate designs and technology that reduce environmental impact and energy consumption. This makes photoluminescent exit signs an ideal eco-friendly solution for new buildings.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or AODA mandates enhanced visibility of exit routes through photoluminescent markings. Photoluminescent exit signs help fulfill this legislation.
Provincial codes like the Ontario Building Code (OBC) also reference NBC and AODA in their standards for increased accessibility. By aligning with the latest codes, builders, and facility managers ensure their projects meet regulatory standards while benefiting from the advantages and energy savings that photoluminescent exit signs offer.
To comply with emergency lighting codes, photoluminescent exit signs are required in nearly all public buildings. Some key locations include:
Unlike photoluminescent exit signs, traditional electrical exit signs rely on external power and have high operating and maintenance costs.
Electric exit signs require professional hardwiring into the electrical system. Their illumination depends entirely on the power supply. In a power outage, they cease functioning, causing emergency visibility issues.
Electric exit signs consume energy continuously, even when the building is unoccupied, leading to high energy bills. Battery-powered variants need frequent and costly battery replacements every 1-2 years.
In contrast, photoluminescent signs leverage natural or ambient light at no added energy cost. Their simple plug-and-play installation also saves on labor costs compared to electrical hardwiring. With a lifespan of 15+ years, they have minimal maintenance needs.
By choosing sustainable photoluminescent exit signs, builders and facility managers see a quick return on investment while enhancing building safety and meeting codes.
They contain non-toxic phosphors that get energized by surrounding ambient light. The energized phosphors emit a green glow when the lights go out, illuminating the exit signs in darkness.
Canadian codes mandate photoluminescent exit signs in nearly all public buildings and facilities, including offices, malls, airports, health facilities, educational institutes, and residential complexes.
No, photoluminescent exit signs are 100% self-powered and require no electrical connection or batteries. They operate by absorbing surrounding ambient light.
After 30-60 minutes of charging under indoor lighting, photoluminescent exit signs emit 70+ hours of visibility in darkness. Brighter ambient light results in a longer glow duration.
Key benefits are no wiring required, zero energy consumption, a long 15+ year lifespan, high emergency reliability, and low maintenance.
Our Ecoglo exit signs offer bright green photoluminescent illumination visible up to 75 feet. Some key features:
Our team of experts can recommend the ideal exit signage to enhance emergency preparedness, meet Canadian codes, and create a sustainable building equipped for the future.
To make your next project safer, greener, and more code-compliant, explore our range of Exit Signs today!
30th Aug 2023
Accessibility is a fundamental human right that allows people with disabilities to participate fully in society. In Canada, various laws and regulations at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels aim to make public and private spaces accessible.
For those involved in construction, renovation, or facility management, understanding the critical accessibility codes is crucial to ensure compliance. When it comes to tactile warning systems that assist the visually impaired, some essential standards and regulations apply across Canada. Let’s explore the most important ones.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a landmark provincial legislation passed in 2005. Its goal is to make Ontario fully accessible for people with disabilities by 2025.
AODA standards set accessibility requirements in 5 key areas:
The Design of Public Spaces standard directly relates to tactile warning systems. It covers technical specifications for public spaces like:
For contractors, the AODA Design of Public Spaces standard legally mandates installing compliant tactile warning systems in indoor and outdoor public spaces. This makes AODA the foremost accessibility regulation in Ontario to consult for tactile projects.
The CSA Group develops standards incorporated into Canada’s National Building Code (NBC). When it comes to tactile warnings, CSA B651 is the authority.
This comprehensive standard specifies the technical requirements for tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs). It provides guidelines on:
CSA B651 is aligned with global standards like ISO 23599 on tactile walking surfaces. By adhering to CSA B651, contractors can be assured that their tactile installations will meet strict dimensional, durability, visual contrast, and placement regulations.
Canada’s National Building Code (NBC) sets out technical provisions for constructing new buildings and renovations. It references vital accessibility requirements from CSA standards on tactile warning surfaces.
The NBC demands a minimum level of accessibility in all new construction and renovations through features like:
Meeting NBC requirements necessitates installing compliant tactile warning systems at specific locations. Being the national benchmark, the NBC is a crucial code for tactile installations.
Alongside the national standards, provincial and municipal building codes contain additional accessibility rules tailored to local needs.
For example, Ontario’s Building Code specifies supplementary requirements for new construction and renovations in the province. It adopts the NBC’s accessibility provisions and CSA tactile surface standards.
Municipalities like Toronto also issue their building code requirements and facility access standards. These local codes should be cross-checked to ensure complete compliance.
The IFC contains provisions related to fire safety in new and existing buildings. Section 1024 on Luminous Egress Path Markings mandates photoluminescent markings to delineate exit paths in many occupancy types.
Photoluminescent wayfinding strips, stair nosings, handrails, and door exit signs aid safe evacuation during fire emergencies by remaining illuminated even when lighting fails. IFC-compliant photoluminescent tactile systems can be crucial to creating a compliant facility per the code’s life safety objectives.
The Barrier-Free Design Standards issued by Public Services and Procurement Canada apply to federal buildings like post offices, border crossings, etc. These standards align with CSA requirements and provide schematics, drawings, and specifications related to accessibility.
Tactile warning strip standards are provided for stairs, pedestrian crossings, platform edges, etc. Adherence to these federal standards is mandatory for construction and renovations initiated by Public Services and Procurement Canada.
As Canada’s premier accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada partners with architects, contractors, and facility managers to integrate compliant tactile systems in projects across sectors. Our product portfolio includes trusted solutions like:
These industry-leading solutions are:
By consulting us early in your project, we can recommend optimal tactile solutions to fulfill Canadian accessibility regulations and protect from risks of non-compliance.
The primary federal, provincial, and local accessibility laws are provincial building codes, CSA standards, municipal bylaws, and the National Building Code of Canada.
Key areas are transit platforms, curb ramps, building entrances, commercial washrooms, stairs, pedestrian crossings, and parking areas.
Durable metal, engineered polymer, and porcelain tactile suit heavy-duty exterior use.
High-caliber tactile warning systems require minimal maintenance beyond inspecting for damage and replacing individual damaged sections as needed.
Let Tactile Solution Canada be your partner in creating safely accessible commercial, institutional, and public environments. Get in touch with our experts to learn more about equipping your next project with code-compliant tactile warning systems specially tailored to your needs.