The 7 Wonders Of Tactile Paving

Today, i learnt all about tactile paving, and the types that are available. Guide dogs nationally have developed a self training pack, primarely for blind and partially sighted people, but it can be used by sighted people too. The pack is being tested by a few teams to see if it would be worth making more of them to teach people about the types of tactile paving there is and what each is used for.

We first of all talked about what was helpful for us in our environments both inside and outside. We then started to explore the packs. The pack consists of a booklet full of diagrams of the different types of the paving, along with a booklet of descriptions to accompany each diagram. Each diagram had 3 sections A, B and c. The first section of the diagrams were a side on view to the particular type of tactile paving. I personally thought the side on view seemed a bit pointless, but that could have been because i’ve never had vision. The next section was what each bit of paving looked like, and the third bit was it in a real situation such as a road. Each bit on the real thing was labeled in braille and large print. There is also audio with the diagrams for people who don’t read braill. They asked if the large print was okay along with the braille or if it got in the way, but i found it grand as the print was far enough out of the way of the braille. It would say things like “pavement” then flat kerb where the kerb would be, and then it would say “road” where the road was.

The first type of paving was the blistered type found at crossings. When the crossings are controled, the paving is an l shape and has a tail or stem which goes back to the building. If it is a side road then it just is the squares of it. Next, was the type found at the top and bottom of steps. This is ribbed so you know the difference. Next, was the type found on train platforms which are like the blistered stuff, but they are laid out slightly differently. I asked why the tactile here doesn’t go right up to the edge of the platform but it’s to give people time to stop in time. This goes all the way along the platform edge. Next, is the paving which indicates a footpath with a cycle lane running along side it. There should be tactile which is like horrizontal bars for the pedestrians which should be along the path, and the cycle lane has the bars going vertically along for the cyclests. Unfortunately we do not seem to have this much here. Next, was something called guidance paving, which is meant to guide people if they are walking through an open area. This again is like bars going vertically up the middle of the pavement i think, but again, we don’t seem to have this anywhere. Next, was the tactile on tram platforms. This is like ovals. Again, we don’t have trams here, so we couldn’t see what it would feel like. I should go down south to Dublin to find some lol Finally, it was the informational paving which is like the stuff found in playparks which is kind of spongy underfoot. Apparently this is used for places where there are a lot of visually impaired people, lke the RNIB. I shall have to search this one out too lol.

At the back of the booklet with the diagrams there was a sponsor a puppy advert in braille. As far as diagrams go, i thought this was very very well done. A lot of thought had clearly gone in to what things should look like. The only issue i had was with the side on view bits as i really didn’t see the point.

We filled in questionaires after this as this is still in the trial stages. If it is a success, then it could be used for counscils and things. I think more people will give feedback before the final thing is developed.

I must say the session was very useful, and i deffinetly think people could learn the different typesif they wanted to.

It will certainly be interesting to see this being taken forward. I never even knew there were 7 types :). Deffinetly a very interesting presentation.