Tactile paving, or a warning surface, is an engineering feat that you see everyday but might not have noticed. This refers to the raised and textured sections of paving that are designed to help the visually impaired navigate busy city streets. This technology has spread throughout the world with many cities looking for a warning surface distributor in order to outfit their own roads and sidewalks.
The Origins of Tactile Paving
The concept of tactile paving was first invented in 1965 by Seiichi Miyake in Okayama, Japan. After being adopted as the standard for Japan Rail, the country’s national railway, it became ubiquitous in the country.
In the 1990’s, America and Europe both launched accessibility standards that incorporated tactile paving as the new standard. This was a boon for companies in the warning surface distributor business.
Today, you can find Miyake’s invention all over the world!
The United States leads the way for tactile paving in North America. The 1990 ADA legislation requires that some kind of tactile paving be installed on curbs, ramps, and other areas where the footpath changes. Cities with light rail or subways also have these markers where passengers enter and exit trains.
Canada is starting to incorporate more of these warning surfaces throughout the country. Meanwhile, Mexico currently has no requirements in place, but a “landmark system” similar to the one in California is used to indicate where a crosswalk is located.
Most of Europe has standardized and updated its tactile paving policy. It’s common to find tactile paving at all of the same locations you would expect to find them in North America or Asia.
Tactile paving is widely used throughout Asia.
Japan is one of the most interesting countries for tactile paving. Despite having invented the technology, the country did not standardize warning surfaces until 2001. This means that the country has a wide variety of different styles of tactile paving.
In China and India, like many countries in Asia, it is common to find tactile paving in major cities and urban areas. Just like in the United States, more rural areas are still implementing these warning surfaces.
The growing market for tactile paving in Asia is a key market for companies working in the warning surface distributor field.
Australia introduced legislation in the year 2007 that required tactile paving as a new standard as part of the country’s disability and equality law. Major cities, such as Sydney, now feature tactile paving and a unique color-coded system.
Tactile paving and warning services are now common throughout the world. No matter where you travel, you are likely to encounter these accessibility inventions.