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Tactile Walking Surface Indicators: Design Requirements & Installation Guide

29th May 2023

Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSIs), also referred to as detectable warning surfaces or tactile attention indicators, serve as standardized walking pathways that convey vital information to individuals with visual impairments through the use of distinctive textures and occasionally auditory cues.

 

These surfaces are typically constructed using inserts made of various materials such as metal, rubber, stone, or plastic, or they can be directly integrated into concrete ground surfaces. TWSIs are designed to offer a discernible texture underfoot, detectable by a long cane. Furthermore, their edges are intentionally angled or bevelled to minimize the risk of tripping.

 

Two main categories of TWSIs exist:

 

Attention TWSIs, also known as warning TWSIs, draw awareness to significant hazards such as the commencement of a staircase or the perimeter of a platform.

 

Guidance TWSIs, alternatively called wayfinding TWSIs, provide directional information within open spaces, aiding individuals in navigating along designated paths.

 

TWSIs should exhibit a noticeable contrast in color compared to the surrounding walking surface. For attention TWSIs, the recommended color is safety yellow (Munsell Colour System: hue 5.0, chroma yellow 8.0/12). Another effective approach involves using a light hue on a dark ground surface or a dark hue on a light ground surface. To clearly distinguish warning information from guidance information, it is advised not to employ safety yellow for guidance TWSIs.

 

When TWSIs are installed as pre-fabricated panels or affixed onto existing ground or floor surfaces, the panels themselves should feature bevelled edges. The base surface of the TWSI panels should not exceed three millimeters above the existing surface. While surface-mounted installations are less than ideal, they may be considered only when alternatives such as cast-in-place or recessed installations are not feasible.

 

TWSIs should always be attached firmly to prevent edges from lifting.

 

Attention Tactile Walking Surface Indicators

 

Attention Tactile Warning and Safety Indicators (TWSIs) play a crucial role in conveying vital safety information to individuals present in potentially hazardous areas, especially those with visual impairments. Their primary purpose is to serve as markers for identifying potential dangers. It is imperative to maintain uniform safety messaging to ensure that individuals with visual impairments can readily identify precarious situations regardless of their location, be it a town or province.

 

TWSIs should comprise circular or flat-topped truncated domes or cones that are securely installed on pedestrian surfaces.

 

Attention TWSIs should have the following specifications:

 

  • Flat-topped truncated domes or cones should be used, arranged in a square grid pattern, parallel or diagonal at 45 degrees to the main direction of travel.
  • The height of the flat-topped domes or cones should be four to five millimetres. In interior environments with exceptionally smooth surfaces, such as polished concrete or terrazzo, the minimum height of four millimetres is preferred.
  • The diameter of the top of the flat-topped domes or cones should be between 12 and 25 mm.
  • The diameter of the lower base of the flat-topped domes or cones should be 10 mm (+/- 1 mm) more than the diameter of the top.

 

The spacing between adjacent flat-topped domes or cones should be adjusted depending on their size. The larger the individual domes/cones, the more distant the space between them.

 

Attention TWSIs should be used at the following locations:

  • Platform edges
  • Ferry dock edges
  • Edges of reflecting pools and fountains those are unprotected at ground level
  • Tops of stairs, at landings where there is a door leading onto the landing
  • At landings longer than 2,100 mm where there are no continuous handrails
  • Both sides of ground-level railway crossings
  • Curb ramps and depressed curbs
  • Unprotected edges with a drop-off greater than 250 mm in height
  • Unprotected edges where the slope down is greater than 1:3 (33 per cent)
  • Entry points to vehicular routes where no curb or other element separates pedestrians from vehicles
  • At the beginning of ground-level moving walkways (e.g., used in airport terminals)

 

Attention TWSIs used on platforms, ferry docks and other drop-offs should be:

  • 600 – 650 mm deep
  • Located at the edge of the drop-off
  • Running the full length of all unprotected platform/dock edges that border the drop-off

 

At stairs, attention TWSIs should commence one tread depth back from the leading edge of the nosing at the top step and extend across the width of the stairs. The attention TWSI alerts a person with vision loss that there is a set of stairs ahead and to seek the support of a handrail for safe navigation. The depth of the TWSIs used at the top of stairs should be 600 – 650 mm.

 

At railway crossings, attention TWSIs should be located so that the edges of TWSIs are 1,800 – 4,600 mm from the centre line of the nearest rail. Attention TWSIs should be installed in addition to any mechanical barriers that are activated with the arrival of trains.

 

Attention TWSIs should be provided across the entire width of a curb ramp or depressed curb (exclusive of flares). They should be set back 150 – 200 mm from the curb’s edge and extend 600 – 650 mm in the direction of travel.

 

Guidance Tactile Walking Surface Indicators

 

Guidance TWSIs should consist of a pattern of parallel, flat-topped, elongated bars that extend in the direction of travel.

Guidance TWSIs are appropriate at the following locations:

  • Transit stops
  • Train stations
  • Subway or light rail transit (LRT) platforms
  • Airports
  • Sports arenas and stadiums
  • Large open spaces (e.g., public squares)
  • In the door areas of expansive open areas (e.g., shopping malls)

 

Follow these specifications for guidance TWSIs:

  • Where installed to define a route, their width should be 250 – 300 mm.
  • Where installed across a route as an indicator of an amenity or diverging route, their width should be 600 – 650 mm.
  • They should have a minimum continuous clearance of 600 mm on both sides.
  • The height of the bars should be four to five millimetres.
  • The top of the flat-topped elongated bars should have a width between 17 and 30 mm.
  • The bars should be colour contrasted to surrounding surfaces to make them easily identifiable by people with low vision.
  • The width of the base of the bars should be 10 mm (+/- 1 mm) wider than the top.
  • The top length of the bars should be at least 270 mm. If drainage is a concern, a space of 10 – 30 mm should be provided at the ends of the bars.
  • The spacing between adjacent flat-topped bars should be adjusted depending on the size of the bars. The larger the individual bars, the more distant the space between them.
  • Attention TWSIs should be used along tactile guidance paths to identify turns and other decision-making points. The attention TWSIs should be configured in a square pattern centred on the guidance TWSIs, with each side of the square being 600 mm – 650mm.

 

An alternate type of guidance TWSI should be used on road surfaces to assist persons with vision loss to navigate complex road crossings including, but not limited to crossing at:

  • Roundabouts, also known as traffic circles
  • Mid-block crossings with four or more lanes
  • Skewed intersections
  • Offset crossings

 

TWSIs used on road surfaces are clearly different and distinguishable from the guidance surfaces used in pedestrian areas. Guidance TWSIs on road surfaces at pedestrian crossings should:

  • Be configured as a straight path
  • Be 250mm - 300mm wide
  • Be detectable underfoot
  • Be detectable with a long cane
  • Be at least 50% colour/brightness contrasted with adjacent road surfaces
  • Not present a tripping hazard
  • Not present a barrier for persons who use wheelchairs or other types of mobility devices
  • Be configured to mitigate damage from snow-plowing
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Navigating Public Spaces - Tactile Solutions for Wayfinding!

19th May 2023

Have you ever lost your way or been disoriented in a public space? Well, a lot of people frequently go through this, especially those with visual impairments or cognitive disabilities. In these situations, tactile solutions for wayfinding can be incredibly helpful. 

 

These tactile wayfinding solutions are designed to make it easier for people to navigate around public spaces. It also benefits organizations to stand out from competitors by making visitors' experiences more accessible. In this blog post, we'll explore the different types of tactile solutions for wayfinding: 

 

What are Tactile Solutions for Wayfinding?

 

Tactile solutions for wayfinding provide individuals with a physical path to follow, enabling them to navigate public spaces independently. It refers to the utilization of wayfinding bars in public spaces to help people with navigation.

 

Tactile solutions with wayfinding bars are employed in areas with no risk but still, a need to provide a safe path for the visually impaired. The code-compliant wayfinding bars are designed in different materials, colors, and sizes to ensure compliance in every situation, including indoors and outdoors, on newly constructed, retrofitted, and existing surfaces. They are available in a variety of colors and can be used in connection with attention domes.

 

Types of Tactile Solutions for Wayfinding

 

There are several types of tactile solutions available for wayfinding, each with its own features. Some of the best types of tactile solutions for wayfinding include:

 

Cast-In-Place Tactile CAst-iron Wayfinding Plate

 

Advantage™ Replaceable Cast Iron Tactile Walking Surface Indicator (TWSI) plates are created in strict compliance with ASTM A-48, Class 35B Grey Cast Iron. ASTM, which stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials, is a group that publishes production and testing standards for a variety of industries. These standards cover numerous materials, products & systems to enable consistency and safety among manufacturers.

 

The Cast in Place System has exceptionally high strength and uses advanced metallurgical Engineering Science and Technology that satisfies and surpasses the highest municipal restrictions. 

 

Features: 

  • Lightweight and easy to install

  • Maintenance-free natural patina

  • It can be recycled after its lifecycle

  • 10-year manufacturer's warranty

 

Applications

  1. Tactile direction indicators should be installed in spacious and open floor areas to facilitate wayfinding by showing the primary route of travel. 

  2. Installation of directional indicators must follow CSA B651-18 4.3.5.4.3.

 

Eon Tile Rubber Wayfinding Bars Tile

 

Eon Tile Rubber Wayfinding Bars are long-lasting and flexible tactile indicators, ideal for designers and contractors who create top-quality commercial, institutional, and public environments. 

 

Eon Tile Wayfinding Bars act as path makers that help guide pedestrians, including those who are visually impaired, for safe guidance around various environments. These bars are designed to comply with all Canadian accessibility codes and are available in four different colors: ivory, vogue black, smoke grey, and yellow.

 

Features: 

  • Created from premium long-lasting polymers

  • Appropriate for both initial installation and surface retrofit

  • UV resistant for color stability and ensures optimal visual surface contrast

  • Conforms to contrast requirements (based on adjacent surfaces)

  • 5-year manufacturer’s warranty

 

Advantage Tactile Systems Single Bars

 

The Advantage One Stainless Steel Wayfinding Individual Bars Tactile System has an integral texture built into the stainless steel that makes it slip-resistant and permanent.

 

The Individual Wayfinding Bars are proven to be more durable, exceeding any detectable warning product on the market, setting the leading industry standard for detectable warning products. The Advantage One Individual Wayfinding bars are installed by drilling and fastening them directly into the ground, creating a safe pathway and guidance system that is suitable for all indoor accessibility solutions.

 

Features: 

  • 5-year manufacturer’s warranty

  • Resistant to heavy traffic abuse and maintenance machinery

  • Optimum anti-slip design

  • Innovative adhesive capture design

  • 316L, Marine grade stainless steel

 

Access Tile WayFinding bars

 

Access Tile Wayfinding tiles, which combine innovative and creative design elements with tried-and-true engineered polymers, processing, and material technologies, are the ultimate wayfinding solution. 

 

These tiles are the industry leader in terms of durability, weather, and wear resistance. They are available in surface-applied and replaceable cast-in-place options: 

 

AccessTile Cast-In-Place Wayfinding Bars

 

Access Tiles Surface Applied Directional Wayfinding bars are specially designed to be embedded into wet concrete to safely direct individuals between spaces and follow the desired path. These bars make it easier for visually impaired individuals to orient themselves and follow their intended route. Access Tile's detectable directional warning pad is a durable, lightweight, and cost-effective solution.

 

Features: 

  • A cost-effective method of retrofitting existing public spaces

  • Lightweight and easy to handle

 

AccessTile Surface Applied Wayfinding Bars

 

Access Tile's Surface Applied Directional Wayfinding bars are an innovative wayfinding solution designed to assist individuals with navigation between different areas. These bars can be placed onto the existing surfaces to provide clear and visible guidance, making it easier for people to find their way around. They are particularly beneficial for visually impaired individuals, enabling them to orient themselves and follow the desired path more efficiently.

 

Features:

  • 5- years manufacturer warranty

  • Comes in six (6) standard colors to allow for mandatory contrast requirements

 

Elan Tile Porcelain Wayfinding Bar Tile

 

Elan Tile Porcelain Tactile Indicator Wayfinding Bars are not only aesthetically stylish but also engineered for high performance. These navigation bars are constructed from the best raw materials and adhere to Porcelain Stoneware standards, making them appropriate for use in both interior and exterior applications.

 

Elan Tile Wayfinding Bars provide durable and versatile walking surface Direction indicators, allowing visually impaired individuals to safely and successfully navigate their surroundings.

 

The Porcelain Wayfinding Bars are designed to assist pedestrians in finding their way to their intended destination while also promoting safety, convenience, and adherence to applicable codes and regulations. The bars serve as a guide, helping individuals navigate their way through an area, and ensure that they arrive at their desired location with ease.

 

Features

  • Certified porcelain stoneware for maximum durability and surface hardness

  • Full-body porcelain that gives a highly compact surface with extremely low absorbency characteristics

  • Not affected by stains, water or chemicals

  • Versatile and easy installation for interior and exterior environments

  • Field tiles are available in different sizes

  •  
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Expert Guide to Install and Maintain Ecoglo Safety Way Guidance System!

19th May 2023

Ecoglo photoluminescent safety way guidance systems are silent lifeguards in buildings that guide occupants to safety through the ingenious use of path marking signs, exit signage, step edge awareness, and handrail guidance. These markings create an illuminated escape route in low visibility conditions by outlining paths, noting any changes in direction or elevation, and highlighting obstacles.

 

When the lights go out, these markings come to life to shepherd all toward the exits. These safety way guidance systems comply with strict safety standards to ensure maximum visibility and clarity. The radiant markers lay dormant during regular use but spring into action in case of emergencies, making them the unseen saviors that guide your way in the dark.

 

Adherence of Ecoglo products to standards and codes

 

Ecoglo photoluminescent products used in path marking systems are in accordance with the following Standards: UL 1994 Luminous Egress Path Marking Systems and CAN/ULC-S572 Photoluminescent and Self-Luminous Exit Signs and Path Marking Systems. Ecoglo path marking products should be installed as per the directions in this guide.

 

1: Installation Instructions for Floor Identification Signs

 

1. Surface Preparation

  • Thoroughly clean the surface with industrial strength cleaner if necessary.

  • Remove any loose paint or sealant, then allow the surface to dry.

 

2. Positioning of Signs

  • Mark the position on the door or wall where the sign is to be placed.

Note: Floor Identification signs – the mounting height must be in accordance with local and national codes.

 

3. Placement of Signs

  • Peel the protective layer from the back of the sign to expose the adhesive, ensuring nothing comes into contact with it.

  • Line the sign up with the markings you made.

  • Apply pressure evenly over the sign to fix it fast to the surface.

 

4. Maintenance of Signs

  • Regular dusting with a soft cloth or brush is recommended to keep the sign clean.

  • If the sign is noticeably dirty, clean it with a sponge or cloth.

 

2: Installation Instructions for Step Edge Nosing

 

1. Preparation of the surface

  • Thoroughly clean the surface with industrial strength cleaner if necessary.

  • Remove any loose paint or sealant and then allow the surface to dry.

  • If painted or coated, check that adhesive is compatible with the paint or seal coating.

 

2. Alignment of the Strips

  • Mark 50mm from the left edge of the top step.

  • Mark 50mm from the left edge of the bottom step.

  • Place a string line between the marks to ensure the strip on each step will be correctly aligned.

 

3. Preparation of the Strip

  • Clean the back of the contrast strip with a soft cloth, and if necessary, use methylated spirits (or similar solvent) to remove oil or grease

  • Allow to dry for approximately 1 minute.\

 

4. Applying the Adhesive

  • Apply a 3mm zigzag bead of polyurethane adhesive (such as Wurth KD Bond and Seal or Bostik Seal n Flex FC) to the back of the strip, 3mm in from the edges.

  • Continue along the length of the strip.

 

Ecoglo can supply Wurth KD Bond and Seal in 600ml Sausage form with Applicator Gun.

 

1. Placement of the Strip

  • Line up the strip with your alignment marks and position approximately 2-3mm back from the front straight edge of the step.

  • Place in position with the photoluminescent (light green) component of the strip to the leading edge of the step (see image below).

 

2. Apply Pressure to the Strip

  • Apply even pressure to spread the adhesive beneath the strip using a hand roller.

  • If necessary, stand on each strip to ensure good contact between the strip and the step.

 

3. Allow the Adhesive to Cure

  • Immediately following installation, close off the area for a period of 8 hours to avoid the Ecoglo strip being moved whilst the adhesive is in the early stages of “cure.”

  • Wait until the adhesive has fully cured (allow at least 24 hours) before trimming any excess from each strip with a sharp blade.

 

4. Use of Fixers

For outdoor timber installations, both adhesive and fixers should be used because installation onto outdoor timber surfaces varies due to the uneven nature of timber, the various types of timber (e.g. pine or kwila), the protective coating (e.g. paint or sealer) and seasonal temperature variances.

 

Step 1:

  • Apply adhesive as per steps 3-4, taking care to keep adhesive away from pre-drilled holes.

  • Place strip as per steps 5-6.

  • Leave the adhesive to cure for 7 days before installing the fixers.

 

Step 2:

  • Place a screw fixer into each hole and drill in securely using a battery drill.

  • Do not fully tighten the fixers to avoid compressing the adhesive.

 

For timber installations, the strips should be pre-drilled through the anti-slip material. The table below shows the number of drill holes required to allow for the natural contraction and expansion of timber.

 

1. Maintenance of Strips

  • Regular vacuuming or brushing with a stiff bristle head brush is recommended to keep strips clean.

  • If strips are noticeably dirty, clean them with a sponge or cloth.

 

3: Installation Instructions for Guidance Strips

 

Ecoglo guidance strips are tremendously versatile and can be applied on various types of surfaces, including walls, skirting boards, floors, door frames, flat-sided handrails, and steps*. Generally, as long as the substrate is clean, flat, and dry, the product can be successfully installed.

 

1. Preparation of Surface

  • Thoroughly clean the surface with an industrial-strength cleaner if necessary.

  • Remove any loose paint or sealant, and then allow the surface to dry.

  • If the surface has been painted or coated, check that adhesive is compatible with the paint or seal coating. IF IN DOUBT, REMOVE THE COATING.

  • The tape is suitable for a temperature range of 0-40C.

  • Maximum installation length is 1500mm.

 

2. Positioning, Alignment of the Strips

  • If installing on a flat handrail or other surface, such as a wall, mark the position where the strip is to be placed. Use a chalk line, plumb line, or spirit level if necessary to ensure the line is straight.

  • If installing on steps, mark 50mm from the left edge of the top step and 50mm from the left edge of the bottom step. Place a string line between the marks to ensure the strip on each step will be correctly aligned. This will give a straight, true line.

  • Offer up the strip to the surface it is to be attached to make sure both surfaces are parallel. If the strip does not sit perfectly flat against the surface without being held in place, carefully bend the strip until it sits perfectly flat against the surface.

 

3. Placement of Adhesive-backed Strip

  • Carefully peel off the release-tape backing from the strip.

  • Carefully line the strip up with any alignment marks.

  • Press the strip firmly in place to ensure even contact between the adhesive tape and the surface to which it is being applied.

 

4. Mechanical Fixers (Screws and Rivets)

  • For handrails in schools or other places where vandalism may occur, screws (for timber, as described above) or rivets (for metal) MUST be used. Install one screw/rivet 10-15mm in from each end of each strip.

  • For outdoor timber installations, screws MUST also be used so that the adhesive tape isn’t able to lift if the timber distorts or absorbs moisture due to normal weather conditions. 5mm pan head screws are suitable to be screwed down firmly but not so tight that the tape squashes under the strip. Install one screw 10-15mm in from each end and one screw in the middle of each strip.

  • If in doubt about the adhesion of the strips to any substrate, use screws/rivets for additional security. Install one 10-15mm in from each end and one in the middle of each strip.

 

5. Maintenance of Strips

  • Regular vacuuming or brushing with a stiff bristle head brush is recommended to keep the strips clean.

  • If strips are noticeably dirty, clean them with a sponge or cloth.

 

Cleaning

 

Regular cleaning to remove built-up dirt and objects on the strips will ensure Ecoglo will continue performing to expectation. Note that the photoluminescence will continue performing even after UV exposure or exposure to moisture. The only reason for the degradation in the performance of the photoluminescence is a lack of correct cleaning.

 

1. Vacuuming or brushing with a stiff bristle head (wet or dry) is often enough to keep the strips clean. The glowing strip can also be wiped clean with a wet or dry sponge or cloth. Observation will determine if cleaning is required; however, a regular cleaning every 4 to 6 weeks or after particularly heavy use should ensure correct performance.

 

2. High-pressure water (but not steam cleaning) can also be used to clean the strips.

 

3. Do not use highly alkaline or acidic cleaning agents. The pH of the cleaning agents should be between pH 5 and pH 12. If cleaning agents are applied at more than pH 10, the strips should be rinsed with pH neutral (pH 6 to pH 8) solution afterward.

 

Ensure the Safety of Your Building Occupants with Ecoglo & Tactile Solutions Canada

 

Providing a safe environment for people in your building is not just a requirement; it is your responsibility. Ecoglo's breakthrough photoluminescent "Safety Way Guidance Systems" are the smart, stylish, and sustainable solution to meet safety compliance needs.

 

These innovative systems expertly guide people to safety in emergencies and power outages. The Path marking signs, exit signage, step edge awareness, and/or handrail guidance glow in the dark for hours, clearly marking exit routes and stairs even when the lights are out.

 

Don't risk non-compliance fees or harm to your occupants. Tactile Solutions Canada with Ecoglo delivers an affordable life safety and guidance solution. We make it easy to do the right thing - contact us today to experience the difference in your building. When emergencies strike, Ecoglo glows. Your path to safety starts here.

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5 Innovative Uses of Tactile Solutions You’ve Never Thought Of

19th May 2023

Tactile solutions refer to textured surfaces applied on floors, walls, stairs, and other areas that provide sensory cues for navigation and hazard warnings. Traditionally, tactile solutions have been used in public buildings to assist visually impaired individuals in accessing facilities and amenities in a safe manner. However, innovative designers and contractors have started leveraging tactile solutions in new and unique ways that enhance experiences for all.

 

In this blog, we explore five innovative uses of tactile solutions that go beyond standard applications. These creative adaptations demonstrate how tactile solutions can be used to make spaces interactive, immersive, and accessible to people of all abilities.

 

Interactive Museum Exhibits

 

Museums are increasingly using interactive exhibits to provide engaging learning experiences for visitors. Tactile solutions can be integrated into these exhibits to make them accessible and inclusive for visually impaired patrons as well. For example, a science museum may have an interactive display demonstrating the water cycle. By affixing tactile maps, diagrams, and Braille labels on the exhibit, it allows visually impaired children to actively participate by feeling the different textures and reading the Braille to understand the water cycle.

 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg implemented innovative tactile solutions in their exhibits. Braille and tactile maps were used throughout to provide navigation assistance. Interactive displays also incorporated tactile components, such as a large tactile model of the Canadian landscape. By applying creative tactile adaptations, museums can immerse all visitors in interactive learning, regardless of ability.

 

Amusement Park Attractions

 

Amusement parks are increasingly making rides and attractions accessible to visitors with disabilities. Tactile solutions can be integrated into rides and interactive experiences in creative ways to make them inclusive for the visually impaired. For example, a rollercoaster may have Braille and tactile signage along its path to describe the twists, turns, and drops in the ride. An arcade or carnival game can have tactile targets, obstacles, and maps incorporated so visually impaired players can fully participate.

 

Some theme parks have introduced innovative ride designs specifically aimed at providing thrilling, immersive experiences for the visually impaired. One example is the Sea Dragon pirate ship ride at Adventure Park USA in Maryland, which was designed to activate senses other than sight, including touch and hearing. The ride incorporates tactile rails, interactive elements like ropes, chains and cannons, as well as audio effects, scents, and vibrations that allow visually impaired riders to experience the thrill of the pirate adventure.

 

By building tactile interactions and sensory immersion into attractions, amusement parks can create accessible and inclusive experiences that all visitors will enjoy and remember. The creative use of tactile solutions in these recreational settings demonstrates their potential to enhance engagement and quality of life for people of all abilities.

 

Architectural Installations

 

Forward-thinking architects have begun using tactile solutions in innovative ways to make spaces interactive and accentuate designs. For example, a public building may have an artistic, tactile installation in its lobby to provide an engaging sensory experience for visitors. An office tower, like CIBC Square, could use tactile pavers, railings, or walls in a creatively patterned manner to achieve a modern textured aesthetic.

 

Some architects are also pioneering the use of responsive tactile surfaces that actively change textures and patterns. These dynamic surfaces can transform spaces by altering ambient lighting, temperature, acoustics, and more in response to environmental conditions or user inputs. Such responsive tactile designs can create living, interactive spaces that all individuals can appreciate and intuitively navigate.

 

The innovative use of tactile solutions in architecture and design enhances accessibility while also pushing creative boundaries. By thoughtfully incorporating tactile elements into spaces, architects can make built environments immersive, artistic, and inclusive for people of all abilities.

 

Public Art Installations

 

Public art installations are an ideal medium for employing tactile solutions in creative ways. Many cities have interactive art fixtures that incorporate tactile components to engage citizens of all abilities. For example, a sculpture garden may have textured art pieces with Braille descriptions, allowing visually impaired visitors to appreciate the works through touch. A waterfront boardwalk could feature an art installation with tactile paths, textures, and interactive elements built in.

 

Some public art specifically focuses on the creation of immersive sensory experiences. These interactive artworks are designed to be appreciated through touch, hearing, and other senses in addition to sight. For example, Singapore’s Sensory Sculpture Garden has installations with textured walls, tactile models, and audio components. The artworks are meant to be experienced both visually and through touch, providing an inclusive creative space for all visitors.

 

Interactive public art that leverages tactile solutions in innovative ways can transform a city into an accessible open-air gallery for everyone. By giving the visually impaired opportunities to experience art through the senses beyond sight, these installations demonstrate how creative uses of tactile design promote inclusion and enhance engagement with built environments. In a nutshell, public art that thoughtfully incorporates tactile interactions serves as an inspiration for future accessible and multi-sensory design.

 

The Wrap

 

In summary, we have explored several highly innovative uses of tactile solutions in diverse settings, from museums and amusement parks to architectural installations and public art. By creatively employing tactile design, these spaces have been made immersive, interactive, and inclusive for people of all abilities. The examples discussed demonstrate how tactile solutions can be used in new and unique ways to transform experiences when implemented with imagination and accessibility in mind.

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Understanding The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

15th May 2023

Before we continue ahead to discuss the accessibility standards, it is important to understand the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. So, let’s get started!

 

AODA, or Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, establishes the process for developing and applying accessibility standards. The standards are developed in collaboration with people with disabilities and industry groups, as well as the government.

 

The government is responsible for developing accessibility criteria that organizations must meet under the AODA. Implementing and enforcing these standards will enable us to collaborate in making Ontario more accessible and inclusive by 2025.

 

Accessibility Standards under AODA

 

Accessibility standards are rules that must be followed by the government, corporations, non-profits, and public sector organizations in order to become more accessible for the common public, especially for the visually impaired.

 

They assist organizations in identifying and removing barriers in five areas of daily life to increase accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Such standards act as the foundation stone for ensuring the accessibility of all in the public spaces.

 

Design of Public Spaces Standard

 

The AODA’s design of public spaces standard specifies that newly created or redeveloped public places must be accessible to people with disabilities. The Design of Public Places Standard outlines methods for making common places more accessible. For example, there are accessibility requirements for:

 

  • Recreational trails and beach access routes

  • Public eating areas like rest stops or picnic areas

  • Outdoor play spaces, like playgrounds in provincial parks and local communities

  • Accessible parking (on and off the street)

  • Office building lobbies

  • Indoor stairs and ramps

  • Cafeteria and lounge space

  • Indoor public spaces of apartment buildings

  • Outdoor paths of travel, like sidewalks, ramps, stairs, curb ramps, rest areas and accessible pedestrian signals

  • Indoor play spaces and corridors

 

Ontario Building Code includes the accessibility rules for the indoor space, whereas the Design of Public Spaces Standard constitutes the guidelines for service-oriented elements like service counters, fixed queuing lines, and waiting areas with fixed seating.

The Design of Public Spaces Standard is applicable to -

 

  • New spaces and buildings

  • Existing spaces undergoing renovations

  • Public sector organizations

  • Private organizations with fifty or more workers

 

Private organizations with fewer than fifty employees are simply obligated to follow rules for accessible facilities -

 

  • Recreational trails and beach access routes

  • Accessible parking

  • Service-related elements like service counters, fixed queuing lines, and waiting areas

  • Maintenance and restoration of public spaces

 

Accessibility in Ontario’s Building Code

 

The Ontario Building Code sets the accessibility criteria for most new construction and major building renovations. These contain the following requirements:

 

  • Barrier-free access paths of travel

  • Fire safety devices

  • Public washrooms

  • Access to pools and saunas

  • Seating in public spaces

 

The criteria apply to the majority of new construction and large renovations in Ontario, and they function in tandem with the Design of Public Spaces standard. Existing structures are unaffected unless major renovations are planned. Smoke alarm regulations apply to dwellings, including semi-detached houses, townhouses, and duplexes, but not to the majority of other accessibility standards.

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How Photoluminescent Exit Signs Work and Why They are Effective

9th May 2023

Photoluminescent exit signs are popular for contractors, business owners, and building managers looking for an eco-friendly, code-compliant, and cost-effective way to mark emergency exits. Unlike traditional electric exit signs that require wiring and ongoing energy usage, photoluminescent signs absorb and store ambient light, emitting a glow in low or no light conditions to illuminate exit routes.

 

As per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Tactile Act in Canada, and Section 1024 of the International Building and Fire Codes, properly marked emergency exits are legally required in all public buildings to ensure the safety of all occupants. For business owners, photoluminescent exit signs offer an affordable solution that aligns with environmentally-conscious values. They contain non-toxic, rechargeable photoluminescent panels that charge themselves using existing light fixtures, eliminating the need for hardwiring or electricity.

 

The Actual Science Behind Photoluminescent Exit Signs

 

Photoluminescent exit signs work by absorbing and storing ambient light energy, which is emitted as a bright glow in low or no light conditions. They contain special non-toxic photoluminescent materials, typically zinc sulfide or strontium aluminate, that get charged through exposure to natural or artificial light sources.

 

Once charged, these materials emit the stored energy as a bright glow for extended dark periods. The illumination duration depends on the charging period, with longer exposure to light resulting in a glow lasting up to 7 hours on a single charge. The light emitted is a bright green that meets or exceeds requirements for emergency exit visibility, ensuring the signs can be seen even at a distance in smoky, chaotic conditions.

 

Benefits of Installing Photoluminescent Exit Signs and Why They're Effective?

 

Energy-Efficient

 

One of the biggest benefits of photoluminescent exit signs is their energy efficiency. By tapping into ambient light, they consume no electricity, saving business owners money on energy costs and reducing environmental impact. The signs only require surrounding ambient room lighting to charge, using energy that would otherwise be wasted, and they remain effective for up to 15 years without needing replacement.

 

Highly Durable

 

Photoluminescent exit signs are also highly durable, withstanding various environmental conditions. The photoluminescent material is non-toxic, moisture-resistant, and non-flammable. It will continue operating in very hot or wet environments, including outdoor areas exposed to the weather. The signs glow in complete darkness for up to eight hours after a charge, marking exits around the clock.

 

Reduces the Risk of Failure

 

An additional benefit is that photoluminescent exit signs eliminate the risk of failure during power outages. As they require no hardwiring or electricity, the signs remain fully illuminated even when the main power is disrupted. This ensures all occupants can easily spot exit routes to evacuate the building in an emergency.

 

Code-Compliant and Required by International Building Codes

 

Compliance with fire safety regulations and building codes incentivizes businesses to invest in photoluminescent exit signs. They meet the same strict standards as electric exit signs to properly guide occupants to safety in accordance with laws like the Ontario Fire Code. The bright green glow is also highly visible, capturing attention even at a distance in smoky, chaotic conditions. Did you know that according to Section 1024 of the International Building and Fire codes, all buildings are required to have luminous egress path markings installed? This includes the installation of photoluminescent exit signs, which are a great way to ensure that everyone can safely exit a building in case of an emergency.

 

To meet code compliance, all exit signs must be UL 924 certified, and this means that they have been rigorously tested and are guaranteed to perform when you need them most. So, whether you're a building owner, manager, or just a concerned citizen, it's important to make sure that your building is equipped with the right emergency lighting to keep everyone safe.

 

Photoluminescent Vs. Traditional Exit Signs

 

Whether battery-powered or hardwired, traditional exit signs provide illumination using a power source that requires ongoing maintenance and costs. The signs rely entirely on their power supply, consuming energy 24 hours daily to stay lit. Batteries must be regularly replaced, often within just 1-2 years, and hardwiring requires professional installation with associated labor fees. Energy usage continues even when exits are not in use, increasing utility costs over the signs' lifetime.

 

In contrast, photoluminescent exit signs are self-sustaining, absorbing, and re-emitting ambient light to provide bright illumination without any internal power source. They use special non-toxic, rechargeable materials that tap into existing overhead lighting and natural light from windows or skylights to charge. Once charged, they emit a glow for up to 7 hours, even in complete darkness. They require no wiring, batteries, or ongoing maintenance, saving time, money, and the environment.

 

Photoluminescent exit signs are also highly durable, withstanding heat, humidity, and other extreme conditions for up to 15 years without deterioration. Their non-toxic materials pose no health hazards and continue operating in wet or corrosive environments. Traditional signs, in comparison, often fail prematurely due to battery drain or electrical faults, requiring frequent replacement of components.

 

During an emergency like a fire or power outage, the reliability and performance of exit signs are critical. Photoluminescent signs provide continuous visibility even when main power is disrupted since they require no external power source. On the other hand, traditional signs may cease working in the event of a power failure, blackout, or distribution issue, putting occupants at risk in an already dangerous situation.

 

The Wrap

 

The choice is clear for business owners & contractors prioritizing reduced costs, improved sustainability, and enhanced emergency preparedness. Photoluminescent exit signs are a visibly better solution.

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REDUCE THE RISK OF SLIPS AND TRIPS WITH PHOTOLUMINESCENT SURFACE APPLIED ANTI-SLIP CONTRAST STRIPS

9th May 2023

Though we believe that our audience is well-aware and knowledgeable, it is important to understand what being photoluminescent means to ensure that exact information is delivered. Any photoluminescent object emits light after absorbing photons (carries energy), and such an object does not require additional energy like electricity to light up.

 

The one differentiating factor distinguishing photoluminescent tactile solutions from others is the ability to ‘glow in the dark.’ During an emergency or unavailability of electricity, photoluminescent tactile solutions provide the safest pathway and reduce the risk of slips and trips.

 

In this article, we will discover how photoluminescent surface-applied anti-slip contrast strips help reduce slipping or tripping accidents.

 

What are Photoluminescent Contrast Strips for Stairs?

 

Photoluminescent Contrast Strips improve egress speed and visibility in all lighting conditions. In all conditions, Photoluminescent Tactile Strips for Stairs provide life-saving egress lighting. These strips ensure your building fulfils the code compliance without bothering the design.

 

The strips are charged by natural and artificial light & glow for hours after a power failure. The best is that these Photoluminescent Contrast Strips are easy to apply and install; all you need is a premium polyurethane adhesive.

 

Note - The photoluminescent contrast strips can be installed with mechanical fasteners, but do not use them while installing outdoors.

 

Engineered for Durability

 

When it comes to durability, Ecoglo’s Photoluminescent Tactile Warning Strip for stairs has no match—manufactured using Ecoglo’s patented process, which produces the most robust and highly efficient photoluminescent product available. The photoluminescent strips’ distinct ridges prevent them from most abrasive damage and provide slide resistance while making the product easy to clean.

 

The hard-wearing silicon carbide non-slip material is integrally bonded with the aluminum substrate. Thousands of people can walk on it without incurring wear and tear. The contrast strips' durability and strength ensure they can bear heavy loads, eventually reducing the chances of accidents.
 

Reliable Solution for Step-Edge Safety

 

Annually, there is an average of 12,000 deaths by stairway accidents. The statistics themselves are the statement on why keeping secure surroundings around staircases is essential. Considering the same, Photoluminescent Tactile Indicator Strips for stairs appear as the reliable solution.

 

The colour contrast of the non-slip material with advanced photoluminescent technology provides step-edge visibility under all light conditions. The unique ridges in the Ecoglo photoluminescent strips and the integrated anti-slip contrast strips ensure all-weather slip resistance. Trust Tactile Solution Canada as your go-to provider for Stair Tactile Warning Strips in Canada. Let’s make our surroundings code-compliant while providing the maximum accessibility.

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CIBC Square - Epitome of Innovation & Accessibility

3rd May 2023

CIBC Square is a stunning office complex with two office towers spanning over 3 million square feet. Undoubtedly, CIBC Square is setting the new standard for community in terms of innovation, transformation and accessibility. A perfect workspace, place to socialize and celebrate cuisine and culture, CIBC Square connects the Waterfront and Financial District, expanding and glorifying this stretch of Toronto.

 

CIBC SQUARE, a location for business, pleasure, and community, offers an unmatched experience in the heart of Toronto. This modern-marvel provides exceptional work environment equipped with modern-thinking features.

 

Annual Listening Sessions

 

It is really important to be empathetic towards your target audience to find the reliable solutions. The same goes with businesses and CIBC Square understands this in all sense.

 

Listening exercises have focused on barriers created by remote and hybrid work, as well as concerns and considerations for return to work. Topics that are brought up during the listening exercises are leveraged to enhance our human capital strategy.”

 

The above statement is made by Claudette Knight, vice-president of workplace design and transformation at CIBC. Let’s go a little deeper.

 

CIBC hosts annual listening sessions to understand the constraints and barriers disable people face every day at the building premises.

 

Design of Public Spaces

 

An inclusive design strategy was created and applied to the whole CIBC campus, including-

 

  • Employee space
  • Conference & event centre
  • Flagship banking centre

 

The design strategy fulfills the building code and industry standards for well-being, accessibility and inclusion by incorporating built-environment design principles that state the complete range of human diversity.

 

CIBC also incorporated accessibility elements across the structure that meets legislative requirements. Elevator destination dispatch with audio and visual indicators; accessible, all-gender washrooms on every floor; a relief area for service animals; and code-compliant tactile solutions on cautionary places and Braille signage for improved way-finding are among the features of the accessible CIBC campus.

 

All the new branches are built considering the accessibility needs of clients. CIBC, at a minimum, follows industry standards for all new branches, including the Barrier Free Design Standards and the Barrier Free Design for Automated Banking Machines that were established by Canadian Standards Association International.

 

The Canada’s Leading Accessibility Solutions Provider

 

One of our brands, a reliable tactile solutions provider, Kinesik has a major role in making CIBC Square the most accessible public and commercial space. We leverage the power of intelligent design and precision engineering. Our products enhance the quality of CIBC Square’s infrastructure and ensure safe passage and code-compliant exit signs.

 

Let’s see which products from the Kinesik’s arsenal made CIBC Square accessible.

 

Photoluminescent Floor/Stairwell Number Sign

 

Ensuring the safety of the building’s occupants is a top priority, and floor-level exit signs play a critical role in achieving this goal. The photoluminescent egress path marking system includes floor identification signs (FID) that enhance egress speeds and provide essential information for egress safety in CIBC Square.

 

Photoluminescent Handrail Strips

 

Photoluminescent handrail markings have been expertly engineered, and rigorously tested, to enhance both the ease and speed of egress for stairs with railings. Our handrail strips are versatile enough to fit in any space without distracting from the design of the CIBC Square building while providing an excellent handrail marking solution for CIBC’s infrastructure. 

 

They were proven to be highly resistant to UV/weathering, which helped reduce the building’s depreciation.

 

Photoluminescent - Slip-Resistant High Contrast Nosings

 

With unique ridges and integrated anti-slip contrast strips, these nosings ensure all-weather slip resistance making CIBC Square’s premises much more secure. Thanks to its leading-edge technology, it is a pioneer in the emerging supplemental (or passive) emergency lighting market.

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Tactile Solutions for Pedestrian Safety - An Overview

3rd May 2023

Consider this fact - In the first 20 days of 2023, over 88 pedestrians were hit. Isn't this alarming? It gets a lot tougher for visually challenged people to avoid any kind of accident.

 

In order to avoid the risks and minimize fatal accidents, it is important that contractors, city planners, and property owners must do their bit to promote and maintain pedestrian safety.

 

But the question is, how can one really achieve the maximum safety level? Well, this blog covers the answer to the same question. Let's explore!

 

Detectable Warning Surface Solutions

 

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 states that applying detectable warning surfaces in public spaces is compulsory for accessibility solutions provider. But what are these detectable warning surfaces?

 

If you walk or take public transport to work, you've certainly noticed those raised truncated domes placed on the ground at intersections, rail platforms, and even closer to the bus stops. These tiles equipped with raised circles are known as detectable warning surfaces, and they inform persons who are completely blind or have low vision of this shift so they can be prepared in advance before passing a busy intersection.

 

How Can Detecting Warning Surfaces Improve Pedestrian Safety?

 

These curtailed dome tiles are installed to help visually impaired people to navigate and locate public spaces securely and confidently. The story doesn't end here; the detectable warning surfaces provide much more benefits to pedestrians.

 

Warns about Potential Hazards

 

Detectable warning surfaces are devised and installed to provide non-visual notice of impending hazards. Cast-in-place tiles are most typically observed at crossings for pedestrians, where they inform visually impaired individuals of the commencement onto a vehicle roadway. In a similar way, detectable warning surfaces erected on transit platforms warn pedestrians of the inclined drop into the tracks.

 

The detectable warning surfaces are erected at strategic spots in public spaces to draw pedestrians' attention, cautioning them to halt, analyze their environment, and move accordingly. The application of detecting warning surfaces is limited to the exterior use, these are used for internal use at escalator approaches, pedestrian crossings & top of stair landings/wheelchair ramps.

 

Slip-resistant Surface

 

Truncated domes give a tactile warning while providing a non-slip grip on the surface of detectable warning surfaces. In all weather conditions, the crucial microtexture on detectable warning surfaces adds another layer of pedestrian safety. The non-slip surface is specifically useful in sloped places like curbs and wheelchair ramps, allowing people to gain friction.

 

Brings Attention to the Surroundings

 

Our surroundings typically fade away when we focus on what is in front of our eyeline. However, detectable warning surfaces draw our attention due to the clearly-visible different surfaces felt underfoot. This becomes extremely crucial for visually challenged people as they must be extra cautious of their surroundings.

 

The visible shift in surface causes pedestrians to pause, analyze, and take in the surroundings before continuing. Such a call to attention is especially useful in stairwells, escalators, pedestrian crossings, and transportation platforms.

 

Wayfinding

 

It can be challenging to maneuver largely open spaces, such as concourse halls or hotel lobbies for people of all abilities, but especially for those with vision impairment. ISO Wayfinding bars tiles, which are frequently used in conjunction with truncated dome tiles, provide a tactile track that the visually handicapped may readily discover and follow.

 

Not only do detectable warning surfaces help the visually handicapped navigate a big open space, but they can also help individuals who do not have visual impairments. In an unfamiliar and difficult-to-navigate situation, the well-defined pathway can assist in guiding pedestrians to the main information desk or destination.

 

Pedestrian Safety is Crucial

 

Pedestrian safety is an important factor to consider while designing public or commercial spaces. While the lawful act of ADA requires the space to be completely safe for pedestrians, especially for visually challenged people, it becomes the unsaid responsibility of the contractors to ensure that the building designed under their scope and guidance should be 100% safe and secure.

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The Role of Tactile Paving in Urban Planning and Design

3rd May 2023

Creating an inclusive environment that caters to people of all abilities is crucial in architecture and code-compliant tactile solutions prove to be of big help. However, the commonly held notion of accessibility is limited to physical disabilities like wheelchair users. Architects often envision accessibility as incorporating ramps, wide corridors, and elevators. But disability comes in many different forms, some of which may not be visible.

 

Therefore, accessibility in our surroundings involves much more than just accommodating wheelchair users. For instance, incorporating tactile elements in architecture and urban design can significantly improve the navigability of space for visually impaired people. In this blog, we dive into the world of tactile paving, discussing its various forms, historical significance, and how it can be implemented to create an inclusive environment.

 

What is Tactile Paving and Why Do We Need It?

 

Tactile paving refers to textured ground surface indicators that provide cues for navigation to the visually impaired. As per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or AODA guidelines, tactile paving is required at pedestrian walkways, transit platforms, parking lots, interiors of apartment buildings, office buildings, malls, any public interior spaces, and other public spaces. The raised bumps and grooves in tactile pavers allow visually impaired persons to detect important navigational signals through their canes or underfoot.

 

A brief history of Tactile paving!

 

Back in 1965, a Japanese engineer named Seiichi Miyake invented tactile bricks to support his visually impaired friend. Little did he know that his invention would revolutionize the way we navigate our cities. Two years after its inception, Okayama City in western Japan became the first city to install tactile paving around the city.

 

Over time, it gained popularity and was widely adopted by the Japan National Railway within a decade. By 1985, it became mandatory for cities across Japan to install tactile paving. Today, the use of tactile bricks has spread beyond Japan, and they are now a common sight in cities all over the world. From Australia to the UK, the US, and Canada to many other countries, tactile paving has become an essential tool for the visually impaired to navigate their surroundings with greater ease and independence.

 

Tactile paving comes in a diverse range of types, each with its unique colors and markings that convey distinct meanings. Generally, these tiles are painted in bright hues to enhance visibility for partially sighted pedestrians. This is especially important as per the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandates a color contrast of at least 70% between the tactile bricks and the surrounding pavement. In several countries, a bright yellow color is commonly used to serve this purpose.

 

How Is Tactile Paving Useful in Urban Planning & Design in Canadian Cities?

 

Tactile surfaces are an absolute game-changer for architecture and urban design. They are a lifeline for visually impaired individuals, allowing them to navigate the built environment with greater ease. It's important to note that the disability is not in the person but in the barriers present in the physical space.

 

Incorporating tactile surfaces into architectural design is crucial for improving accessibility. Architects should actively consult the accessibility guidelines of their own country or district to ensure these surfaces are integrated effectively. By following these guidelines, architects can transform functional products into added value for architectural design.

 

The best part? These inclusive projects, with their attention to detail, can significantly enhance the lives of all occupants. So, if you're designing a commercial building, incorporating tactile surfaces is a small yet impactful step toward creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

 

In Canada, tactile pavers address the serious issue of limited navigability and accessibility in many city public spaces for the visually impaired. These pavers guide blind or low-vision pedestrians to detect obstacles, wayfinding paths, transit platforms, crosswalks, interiors of apartment buildings, office buildings, malls, any public interior spaces, etc. For example, tactile pavers with uniform grooved bars indicate the path to the destination, raised bumps signal a stop like an intersection, and stair landings and staggered bumps indicate the edge. This helps solve the key problems of mobility and access in Canadian cities for persons with visual disabilities.

 

Active Paving for an Active Population

 

Canada has an aging population and the number of people with age-related visual impairments is growing. At the same time, Canadian cities are encouraging active, outdoor lifestyles with more pedestrian avenues, cycling infrastructure, and public transit, interiors of apartment buildings, office buildings, malls, any public interior spaces. Tactile paving is crucial to make these active transportation routes and public spaces accessible to visually impaired residents so they can maintain active lifestyles. With increasing awareness, many Canadian cities are now retrofitting public areas with tactile paving to enable visually impaired pedestrians.

 

The Wrap

 

With the right solutions and standards in place, tactile paving can help Canadian cities achieve goals of inclusion, accessibility, and active living for all. Companies like Tactile Solutions are key partners in paving the way. For more information on tactile paving solutions for your city or business, contact Tactile Solutions at https://www.tactilesolution.ca/solutions. Let's make infrastructure accessible and inclusive one step at a time.

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