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Tactile paving surfaces can be used to convey important information to visually impaired pedestrians about their environment, for example, hazard warning, directional guidance, or the presence of an amenity. Research has determined that visually impaired people can reliably detect, distinguish and Guidance on the use of tactile paving surfaces.

Remember a limited number of different tactile paving surfaces and the distinct meanings assigned to them. The use of blister paving as a warning device at controlled and uncontrolled pedestrian crossing points is now well established. In this document, guidance is given on the use of a number of additional types of tactile surface to give warning of potential hazards and for amenity purposes to give guidance and information.

Recognising that the needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities could create potential conflicts, the research which led to the development of the tactile paving surfaces involved not only the target group, i.e. visually impaired people, but also others with a wide range of other disabilities including wheelchair users and people with walking difficulties.

Each type of tactile paving surface should be exclusively reserved for its intended use and consistently installed in accordance with these guidelines. Visually impaired people are becoming increasingly mobile, both within their local area and more widely, and it is, therefore, very important that conflicting and confusing information is not conveyed.

The successful use of tactile paving also depends on visually impaired pedestrians understanding the different meanings assigned to the paving and being made aware of the presence of such facilities in their area.

Local authorities are advised to investigate how this information can most effectively be
disseminated. To assist with this, a self-instructional training pack based upon the guidance contained in this document will shortly be available from the Joint Mobility Unit at the Royal National Institute for the Blind (see Contacts section). It is strongly recommended that local groups representing visually impaired people are consulted before the installation of tactile paving surfaces which provide directional guidance or information about amenities so that they may indicate what will help them most.


The installation of tactile paving surfaces should be considered as part of a wider package of measures to assist visually impaired people. The installation process should involve an assessment of the surrounding environment. In particular, the condition of the surrounding footway should be examined and hazards, for example, uneven pavements removed and obstacles, particularly inappropriately sited street furniture, repositioned. Street works should be carefully inspected to ensure that the standards of reinstatement of any tactile surface meet the performance requirements of the New Roads and

 

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