A Guide to Specialised Safety Flooring
Tactile paving, blister surfaces and other safety flooring for the disabled and visually impaired must meet certain guidelines. The government recommends that tactile paying be placed in certain places to ensure safe transit of visually impaired people, and provides the fixed dimensions for the surfaces.
Blister surfaces provide a warning to visually impaired people who would otherwise, in the absence of a kerb upstand greater than 25mm high, find it difficult to differentiate between where the footway ends and the carriageway begins. The surface is therefore an essential safety feature for where the footway is flush with the carriageway to enable wheelchair users to cross unimpeded.
The profile of the blister surface comprises rows of flat-topped ‘blisters’, 5mm (±0.5mm) high. The blister surface can be made of any material suitable for footway pavements. It is most commonly supplied in 400mm sq concrete slabs or smaller block pavers.
The Disabled Persons Act 1981 requires highway authorities to “have regard to the needs of disabled persons when considering the desirability of providing ramps at appropriate places between the carriageways and footways”.
It is recognised that the absence of a kerb is essential for people using wheelchairs but is potentially hazardous to visually impaired pedestrians who rely on a kerb upstand as a warning that they have reached the edge of the footway.
Typically, a kerb upstand is absent when a ramp has been provided between the carriageway and footway as at a crossing; when traffic calming measures have resulted in the level of the carriageway being raised to that of the footway, as at flat top road humps; or when streets have been partially pedestrianised and footways and carriageways are only differentiated by the use of different colours and/or materials.
It is important that ramps are designed appropriately for the use of wheelchair access. The maximum gradient should not exceed 1 in 12 (8%), and where space allows, a gradient of 1:20 (5%) should be achieved.
Corduroy Hazard Warning Surface
Corduroy surfaces warn visually impaired people of the presence of specific hazards: steps, level crossings or the approach to on-street light rapid transit (LRT) platforms. It is also used where a footway joins a shared route. It conveys the message ‘hazard, proceed with caution’.
The profile of the corduroy surface comprises rounded bars running transversely across the direction of pedestrian travel. The bars are 6mm (± 0.5mm) high, 20mm wide and spaced 50mm from the centre of one bar to the centre of the next. It is recommended that the surface be in a contrasting colour to the surrounding area so as to assist partially sighted people.
The corduroy surface can be used for any situation, except at pedestrian crossing points, where visually impaired people need to be warned of a hazard and advised to proceed with caution, for example:
- the top and bottom of steps
- the foot of a ramp to an on-street light rapid transit (LRT) platform, but not at any other ramps
- a level crossing
- where people could inadvertently walk directly on to a platform at a railway station
- where a footway/footpath joins a shared route
Platform Edge (Off – Street) Warning Surface
The purpose of this surface is to warn visually impaired people of the edge of all off-street railway platforms. The profile of the platform edge (off-street) warning surface consists of offset rows of flat-topped domes 5mm (±0.5mm) high, spaced 66.5mm apart from the centre of one dome to the centre of the next.
The surface is different to the blister surface used to warn of the absence of a kerb upstand at pedestrian crossing points. The surface can be any colour other than red, but should provide a good contrast with the surrounding area to assist partially sighted people.
The platform edge warning surface is recommended for use at all off-street rail platforms including:
- heavy rail platforms
- off-street light rapid transit (LRT) platforms
- underground platforms
The surface should be installed to a depth of 400mm along the entire length of the platform. The platform edge (off-street) warning surface should be laid immediately behind the platform edge coping stone. In most cases this will be between 600mm and 700mm back from the platform edge, but in some circumstances this may be as little as 500mm. It should never be less than that because people may not have enough time to stop walking once they have detected the tactile surface.
Platform Edge (On-Street) Warning Surface
Platform edge (on-street) warning surfaces warn visually impaired people that they are approaching the edge of an on-street light rapid transit (LRT) platform. With the introduction of on-street LRT platforms, it is now possible for pedestrians to encounter a platform whilst walking along a footway.
The profile of the platform edge (on-street) warning surface comprises rows of ‘lozenge’ shapes. The lozenge shapes are 6mm (± 0.5mm) high and have rounded edges in order not to be a trip hazard. This surface was developed because of the risk that the blister shape platform edge (off-street) warning surface could be confused in the street environment with the blister surface used to indicate the absence of a kerb upstand. The surface is normally buff coloured but can be any colour, other than red, which contrasts with the surrounding surface. This will assist partially sighted people.
The lozenge surface is recommended for use at all on-street LRT platform edges. It should not be used at off-street platforms where the flat topped dome platform edge (off-street) warning surface should be used. The surface is not recommended for use at raised bus stops.
Segregated Shared Cycle Track/Footway Surface and Central Delineator Strip
Segregation of pedestrians and cyclists by providing for cyclists on the carriageway or cycle track, should be the aim of highway authorities, particularly in new developments. This not only helps out visually impaired people, but is also helpful to other vulnerable pedestrians, such as those with impaired hearing and those with walking difficulties.
The profile of the tactile surface comprises a series of raised, flat- topped bars, each 5mm (±0.5mm) high, 30mm wide, and spaced 70mm apart.
The central delineator strip is 12~20mm high, 150mm wide with sloping sides and a flat top of 50mm. The material should have a white finish. This is prescribed in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions – TSRGD (Diagram 1049.1) with a construction tolerance of ±6mm for any vertical upstand below the trapezoidal profile. Recent research has confirmed the importance of ensuring the profile conforms to TSRGD to be fully effective and has highlighted the increased value of a 20mm profile to visually impaired pedestrians.
Guidance Path Surfaces
The purpose of the guidance path surface is to guide visually impaired people along a route when the traditional cues, such as a property line or kerb edge, are not as useful. It can also be used to guide people around obstacles, for example street furniture in a pedestrianised area. The surface has been designed so that people can be guided along the route either by walking on the tactile surface or by maintaining contact with a cane.
The profile of the guidance path surface comprises a series of raised, flat-topped bars running in the direction of pedestrian travel. The bars are 5.5mm (±0.5mm) high, 35mm wide and are spaced 45mm apart. It is recommended that the guidance path be in a contrasting colour to the surrounding area so as to assist partially sighted people.
The guidance path is recommended for use in the following circumstances:
- where the traditional guidance given by a standard footway between the property line and carriageway does not exist
- where pedestrians need to be guided around obstacles
- where a number of visually impaired people need to find a specific location
- in transport terminals to guide people between facilities
Tactile Pavers from GripClad
GripClad provide high quality GRP tactile pavers. GRP provides a wide range of benefits as a safety flooring material. We understand what it takes to maintain compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
We have worked in a number of industries ensuring that their premises are both safe and compliant. Our tactile pavers are easy to install and require very little maintenance. The fast curing, colour-match adhesive sets within 2 hours and can even be applied in damp environments.