There is a good chance most of us have come out of the grocery story and pushed our carts over a large row of bumps in the sidewalk. Often there might be a swearing under the breath as we reach for out rattling eggs, but here's the thing, the store isn't trying to irritate you. Those bumps are called truncated domes and they serve a vital purpose.
In the U.S. the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made truncated domes mandatory in 2001 so that visually impaired people can tell when they are leaving the walkspace and entering and area where cars are present. There are many different styles, that mean different things to the visually impaired person, and they can certainly be life saving while navigating through city streets.
A twitter user, Dr. Amy Kavanagh, who lives in London, sent out a series of tweets to explain what all of the different bumps in the road mean. Take a look, and maybe next time when you are pushing your cart over those bumps you'll have a greater appreciation for the job they do.
As I’ve been trained by fab @guidedogs how to navigate using tactile pavement I thought I would share some key info… https://t.co/eQ1RWlqh7V— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528909375.0
At pelican or controlled pedestrian crossings the red bumpy blister paving is in an L shape. The vertical tail of t… https://t.co/6Nv539aZFI— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528909735.0
It’s really important not to block the bottom corner of the L shape or access to the right side button box. The but… https://t.co/S2J0dby6Sk— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528910490.0
What might appear as random bumps have meaning to those who use them.
At uncontrolled crossings, meaning without lights or a box, there is just a simple rectangle or square of yellow bu… https://t.co/Lv96oxYMSV— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528910722.0
On train platforms the bumpy blister paving is in diagonal lines rather than horizontal rows. This is mainly percep… https://t.co/GNKavu6u15— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528910898.0
Before steps or slopes the tactile paving has horizontal ridges know as corduroy! Regarding stairs they indicate th… https://t.co/4Zq86CkQOh— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528911112.0
At my office we also have an indoor version of the striped tactile in front of lifts! https://t.co/YCgmgJQBL4— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528911182.0
Dr. Kavanagh also pointed out the importance that the truncated domes be well maintained.
When tactile paving isn’t properly maintained and the bumps or ridges degrade it can be very unsafe for VI people.… https://t.co/g3Qz4G9YJP— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528911273.0
Sounds and vibrations are also used.
VI people use other tactile cues like drain covers, pavement texture changes & level changes to navigate. I use thi… https://t.co/SEbHpquWzT— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1528911425.0
If you would like to help to make sure tactile roads are readily available, she left a link to a petition in the UK.
The absence of tactile pavement & more importantly curbs is a serious issue in shared spaces. Many visually impaire… https://t.co/A0b3Vt7px0— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@Dr Amy Kavanagh)1529007773.0
People were grateful for the lesson.
@BlondeHistorian @guidedogs Really interesting. Thank you. We have a new 'shared space' in the town centre where I… https://t.co/wI41R8JrOJ— Holly Thomas (@Holly Thomas)1529005683.0
@BlondeHistorian @guidedogs I didn’t know all this. Have to say I struggle with some broken tactile paving because… https://t.co/FNuaXt3dbt— Tanni Grey-Thompson (@Tanni Grey-Thompson)1528930645.0
And people were already getting involved.
@BlondeHistorian @guidedogs Reported this to my local council. The leg is on the wrong side. Keeping a lookout for… https://t.co/OPYfXCdGpe— Mrs Parker Knight (@Mrs Parker Knight)1529272791.0
@BlondeHistorian @ALBY_LAD @guidedogs Fascinating, I never knew any of this, not one bit. I shall a) pay more atten… https://t.co/E6qkvxeBwl— Leander Starr (@Leander Starr)1528946494.0