What are tactile indicators
Choosing a supplier/ installer

What are Tactile Ground Surface Indicators?

Tactile ground surface indicators (TGSI's) assist the blind and visually impaired with their orientation and alert of pending hazards or obstacles. The visually impaired can detect TGSI's via luminous contrast of the surrounding ground substrate, and via sensory detection through soles of the feet.

Over 300,000 Australians are blind or vision impaired and many more with reduction in sight effectivness. Most fitting this category are aged over 65yo. With the continuing growth in population of over 65 year old's, it is exepected the amount of visually impaired people in Australia will double within the next 25 years.

Types of Tactile Ground Surface Indicators:

TGSI's consist of two types, warning and directional. The most common materials that TGSI's consist of include: Stainless steel, brass, plastics, ceramic, concrete material. Both directional and discrete TGSI' are made in two different forms: Discrete (individual) and integrated (mat form).

Warning TGSI:

Warning TGSI's indicate an approaching hazard. Typical hazards include: Steps/ stairs, ramps, kerb ramps, esculators, railway/ tramway platforms, bus stops, ferry warfs, and in areas where change in direction of directional TGSI's occur.

Warning TGSI's are circular domes 35mm in diameter, 4-5mm in height.

discrete tactile indicator

Directional TGSI:

Directional TGSI's are used as a guide to a safe route, indicating the direction of travel. They are typically used at public transport access points, and street crossings.

Directional TGSI's are long rectangular shaped strips, 35mm in diamater, 4-5mm height and generally 300mm long.

316 stainless steel directional hazard tactile strip

Tactile ground surface indicator selection and installation:

Several factors must be taken into account when choosing an appropriate TGSI for a given environment and when installing TGSI's.

Firstly the need or requirement of TGSI's in a given area must be assessed (Generally this will be undertaken and specified by an Architect). Installing TGSI's in an area where they are not required can cause confusion to visually impaired persons and may create more harm than good in such circumstances, possibly leading to legal consequenses.

Luminance contrast between the TGSI and the substrate must be within a certain range depending on the type of TGSI used. Failure to meet this requirement will reduce the effectiveness of TGSI's, and will not meet the requirements of the Australian Standard.

Ensuring that slip risk is minimised as much as possible is another important factor.

It is good practice to ensure that a experienced TGSI supplier/ installer is selected when sourcing supply of TGSI's. An experienced supplier can provide the purchaser with suitable product options, information on best methods of fixation and equipment to use, and provide proven durable products. Although installation of tactile ground surface indicators is a relatively straight forward task (suitable task to be undertaken by construction laborers), it is important to obtain correct installation advice prior to undertaking installations.

In addition to the initial cost of products, durable fixation and aesthetics is important. Proper product selection and installation procedure for TGSI's from the begining will result in much greater TGSI life and will provide considerable savings in the long term.

Recommended tactile indicator supplier for Australian Market:

This recommendation is based on the following factors:

1.) Quality of TGSI range

2.) Industry experience, knowledge, and capacity

3.) Pricing

4.) Coverage of service (supply Australia wide)

5.) Installation services conducted by licenced and insured contractor.

6.) Purchasng direct from manufacturer/ stockist.

Based on these aspects, TGSI PTY LTD is recommended as the supplier/ installer of choice.