As I’ve been trained by fab @guidedogs how to navigate using tactile pavement I thought I would share some key info in a thread! First, blister paving at road crossing points. The tactile round bumpy paving at pelican crossings is usually red & bumps are in horizontal rows.
At pelican or controlled pedestrian crossings the red bumpy blister paving is in an L shape. The vertical tail of the L connects to the building line. This helps VI people find the crossing as they follow the L into the bottom corner. This also leads to the button box.
It’s really important not to block the bottom corner of the L shape or access to the right side button box. The button box has a tactile on the underside. This cone spins the light goes green so VI people can cross safely even when there is no beeping!
On train platforms the bumpy blister paving is in diagonal lines rather than horizontal rows. This is mainly perceptible using my feet. There is normally a gap between the paving & platform edge. I use this kind of paving to navigate along a platform. If it’s on my right I’m safe
Before steps or slopes the tactile paving has horizontal ridges know as corduroy! Regarding stairs they indicate the start or end of a set of stairs. There is usually a gap of an average footstep before the stairs stop or start.
When tactile paving isn’t properly maintained and the bumps or ridges degrade it can be very unsafe for VI people. Like here it’s hard to tell where the road starts. If you see tactile paving in poor repair please report it.
VI people use other tactile cues like drain covers, pavement texture changes & level changes to navigate. I use this drain grate that follows the south side of the kings cross plaza to get to the pedestrian crossing, stay in a straight line & avoid crowds.
Visually impaired people navigate using tactile paving in different ways. Cane users feel the vibrations & Listen to the sounds. Guide dog handlers, VI people being guided or VI people not using a cane will usually use their feet to feel the textures.
If you see a visually impaired person pausing on tactile paving they are probably feeling it in order to work out their route or what kind of obstacle there might be. Leave us to it, don’t grab us or take us across a road unless we ask for help
Is it okay to say "Can I assist you here?" to a VI person? No grabbing or getting in the way. And not an offer of help, but just assistance ('help' implies helplessness and a requirement for thanks; assistance is just that, I feel).
The L shape or the box shape of the tile layout. The colour is more for partially sighted people or people with some colour vision. The L shape indicates a controlled crossing, a box / rectangle suggests an uncontrolled crossing. A T shape indicates a zebra crossing!
Assist is a good word! I would judge each situation, does the person seem happy & confident with their surroundings. Are they walking along somewhere or hovering or looking lost? Always ask first & respect the answer. No isn’t rude it’s just saying I’m fine I don’t need help.
Unfortunately across most of the country there aren’t tactile pavements at road crossings. In my local area there are several crossing points with no tactiles. In unfamiliar areas the lack of tactile paving can make independent travelling very difficult for visually impaired folk