Truncated Dome FAQs

The use of truncated dome warning tiles has increased the accessibility and safety of public buildings and transportation for the visually impaired. As a property owner, you may have several questions about the selection, installation, and maintenance of truncated dome tiles to ensure your property complies with current ADA regulations. Keep reading to learn the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding ADA warning tiles and how to implement them safely and effectively on any property.

Why Truncated Domes?

ADA specifications require the use of truncated dome warning tiles as a visual and tactile warning system for the visually impaired when navigating public streets, walkways, and other property. The use of truncated domes is required for two reasons: first, because of the feel of a truncated dome tile underfoot is unique and discernible even without visual input, and second, because the standardized use of truncated domes allows for the same level of safety and warning throughout the urban landscape, regardless of city or state. Thus, while other tactile warning systems may also be implemented to improve safety and traction, truncated dome warning tiles that meet federal standards are required by law on public walkways and in public transportation stations.

What Does Visual Contrast Mean?

Truncated dome warning tiles provide advanced and clear warning of changes in the path ahead. While the truncated dome design is meant to warn pedestrians without the need for additional visual information, truncated dome warning tiles must also contrast visually with their surroundings to assist pedestrians with full or partial visual acuity. The type of visual contrast required by the ADA regulations is dark-on-light or light-on-dark, meaning the tile must have a coloring opposite its surroundings. Furthermore, while there is no direct wording in the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding the color of the tile that supports the domes themselves, the Department of Justice, the Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Federal Access Board have all agreed that the entire field or tile housing the domes, rather than just the domes, should be a single color to contrast visually with the surrounding material.

What Does the Installation Process Entail?

The installation process will depend upon the type of truncated dome warning tile that you choose. Cast-in-place tiles are placed in wet cement—after the cement has been poured and leveled, the tile is set in place, and then tamped down until any air that was trapped beneath is released. Once the tile is in place, a cinder block is used to weigh down the tile while the cement sets, which generally takes two to four hours. If you are installing a surface-mount tactile warning tile, you will not have to worry about pouring fresh cement. Instead, you simply need to ensure that the area is free of oil, grease, debris, and moisture. Next, an adhesive is applied to the underside of the tile, and the tile is set on the installation area. Once the tile is in the correct location, holes are drilled into the cement at the tile’s pre-formed fastener locations, and then the fasteners are hammered into place. The edges of the tile are then sealed with caulk, and the tile will then be ready for pedestrian traffic.

Do you have questions about meeting the current ADA requirements or installing and maintaining truncated dome warning tiles on your property? We produce a wide variety of federally-compliant truncated dome warning surfaces, including carbon composite and cast iron tiles. You can learn more about our truncated dome warning systems on our website, or by checking out our blog library for additional tips and news.

Devices That Help People with Disabilities

Numerous devices have been created to aid over 56 million Americans with disabilities, to ensure safety and convenience throughout everyday life. Disabilities can include both physical and mental impairments, such as issues with mobility or cognitive disorders. While some disabilities are fairly recognizable, others are not always immediately apparent.

Studies show that an estimated 10% of U.S. citizens have what is referred to as an “invisible disability.” In efforts to make life easier for everyone, personal tools such as scooters, hearing aids, and assisted computer technologies are now widely used both at home and in public spaces.

Buildings and facilities also have a part to play in aiding those with disabilities, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s not uncommon to encounter mobility aids like wheelchair ramps and automatic doors when entering or exiting a building.

Warning tiles and surfaces are another noteworthy invention commonly seen at intersections, public transit platforms, and retail storefronts. These tiles were specifically developed to make navigating safer and easier, and their uses go well beyond minimizing the effects of certain disabilities, as they also help to prevent slips and falls by providing extra traction.

See the infographic below to learn more about the disability-friendly devices that are making life more accessible for everyone.

How warning tiles can help people that have a disability

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Choosing Your Truncated Dome Product: Cast-in-Place vs. Surface-Applied Tiles

There are several truncated dome products available, each with unique benefits. This article takes a closer look at cast-in-place and surface-applied tiles to help you determine which is right for you.

Federal regulations regarding accessibility of public property for disabled individuals have led to the requirement of truncated dome warning tiles on sidewalks and curb ramps to provide added warning for pedestrians when approaching an intersection or active roadway. When installing truncated dome tiles, there are several factors to consider, including the type of tile that is right for your needs. The choice between cast-in-place and surface-applied tiles should be guided by the type of property you own, as well as the expected wear and tear your tiles and the surrounding area are likely to sustain.

Cast-in-Place Tiles

Cast-in-place ADA tiles are designed primarily for new construction and new concrete surfaces; thus, if you are laying concrete on your property where an ADA truncated dome warning system is needed, a cast-in-place tile is the right option for your project. Cast-in-place tiles are ideal for installation in concrete while it is wet, providing long-term stability and durability even under heavy traffic or severe weather conditions. In cases where you are particularly concerned about replacing your ADA tiles in the future, cast-in-place replaceable tiles have a simple replacement procedure built into the product. Replaceable tiles implement a simple bolt system that locks the tile in place inside the surrounding concrete surface. The bolts can be easily accessed and removed to simply lift the old tile away and bolt a new tile in its place, leaving the entire concrete surface intact to save time and money during replacement.

Surface-Applied Tiles

While cast-in-place tiles are ideal for new building projects, both new and existing properties fall under the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thus, ADA tiles are often needed in existing areas where replacing concrete is not feasible, necessary, or cost-effective. Surface-applied ADA warning tiles are meant for use on existing concrete in areas that require truncated dome tiles to ensure compliance with ADA regulations. These tiles are thinner than cast-in-place tiles and can be installed in approximately ten minutes for a fast, simple, and effective way to retrofit existing sidewalks, parking lots, walkways, and other areas. To install surface-applied tiles, a combination of adhesive and fasteners is used to ensure the tile is mounted properly on the ground and prevent tile slippage or separation from the surrounding area for safety and efficacy. Surface-applied tiles can be replaced as necessary by levering or breaking up the damaged tile, cleaning the area, and installing a new tile in its place.

Making the right choice when purchasing ADA truncated dome tiles means enjoying an easy installation and getting the durability and performance from your purchase that you expect. You can find out more about the types of truncated dome warning surfaces we produce and how to make the right selection when you visit us on the web, or by clicking through the information on our monthly blog.

How Detectable Warning Tiles Have Changed American Roadways

Since 1991, truncated domes have become a commonplace sight across the United States. Today, detectable warning tiles are found not only in public transportation facilities, but also at the interface between public walkways and hazardous roadways and at the transition between level walking surfaces and sidewalk curb ramps. These color-contrasting tiles have not only changed the way intersections and crosswalks look, but have also transformed the way these spaces are used by individuals throughout the country.

Accessibility for All

The most noticeable way in which truncated dome warning surfaces have changed American roadways is their contribution to an accessible America for all. These tiles were first mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act as part of a comprehensive effort to ensure all Americans enjoy the same level of safety, accessibility, and maneuverability in public spaces, regardless of visual acuity or physical ability. While there are several methods and tools used by the blind to navigate their surroundings, there was no standard in place prior to the ADA mandating accommodations for these individuals. Thus, those with visual disabilities were previously at the mercy of their own navigation abilities, which barred many from enjoying the same freedom of movement as their sighted peers. The use of truncated dome tiles as a standard warning system has opened up previously inaccessible or dangerous public spaces to those with visual disabilities or impairments, allowing these individuals to enjoy the same independence and confidence when accessing sidewalks and roadways as other Americans around them.

Heightened Safety for Sighted Individuals

While truncated dome warning surfaces are designed for use by those with visual disabilities, these tiles have also increased safety around public roadways and rights-of-way for sighted individuals. The tiles’ bright and contrasting colors allows those with full vision to easily discern ramps and roadway access points at a single glance. Additionally, because the truncated dome pattern can be felt underfoot, tactile warning surfaces can provide warning to sighted individuals who may not be aware of their surroundings due to distractions such as cellphones or conversations. Cellphone use in particular has drastically increased the risk faced by sighted individuals near active roadways; the added warning system supplied by truncated dome tiles has done much to offset this risk by increasing the number of ways in which an individual is warned of upcoming hazards. Additionally, truncated dome tiles can also provide traction for pedestrians and individuals in wheelchairs, which increases safety in icy or wet conditions.

Truncated dome tiles serve an important purpose in today’s accessible world. These tiles are also required by law in a variety of public spaces, making their installation necessary for ADA compliance. You can check out the current ADA requirements for transit stations and public rights-of-way on our website, where you’ll also find more information about our products, including replaceable, cast-in-place, and surface-applied truncated dome tiles. We also encourage you to read through the latest news and information regarding ADA regulations and truncated dome tiles on our blog.

A Closer Look at the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, often simply called the ADA, was first drafted by the National Council on Disability in 1986. Following its introduction into the House and the Senate in 1988, the bill was signed into law in 1990. Since this time, the ADA has undergone several changes and amendments, and portions of its regulations have been suspended and later reinstated. The purpose of the ADA is to prohibit “discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.” In addition to covering areas such as employment and communication, the ADA also provides accessibility guidelines and requirements to ensure public roadways and transportation services are accessible and safe for all individuals to use.

The ADA and Public Accessibility

The original and continuing aim of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to ensure that all public places and services are accessible to all citizens. Throughout this important document, several requirements and codes are laid out, which specify the modifications necessary for both new and existing buildings to make these spaces accessible and safe. The purpose of these modifications is to ensure that no public space or service discriminates against any individual through building design or facilities that are not usable to or safe for the individual as a result of any physical disability, including mobility-, hearing-, and sight-based disabilities. These requirements span a range of considerations and include accommodations such as curb and building access ramps, elevators, reserved parking spaces, restroom facilities, and warning systems. All regulations governing the placement and maintenance of these public accommodations are overseen by the United States Department of Justice.

The ADA and Truncated Domes

Perhaps one of the most visible changes the ADA has brought about in past decades has been the implementation of tactile warning surfaces in public areas. These surfaces consist of composite or cast iron tiles with a standardized truncated dome pattern. This unique design was specifically chosen to ensure it could be felt underfoot through the soles of shoes; the material of the truncated dome tile is also engineered to make an audible sound that differentiates the tile from the surrounding area when tapped with a cane. Truncated dome tiles must meet color requirements that ensure the tile itself contrasts with its surrounding surface for maximum visibility to assist those with low visual acuity. Today, truncated dome tactile warning surfaces are required by law in several types of public spaces, such as transit platforms, sidewalk curb ramps, and pedestrian crosswalks. These tiles are required not only in newly-constructed sites, but as retrofit projects in all existing areas as well to ensure a consistent standard of safety.

The ADA has paved the way to ensure all public spaces are accessible to all citizens. Whether you are a current property owner or are planning a new construction project, it’s important to ensure your designs meet ADA standards in terms of tactile warning surfaces. We can help you implement high-quality ADA warning tiles on any property with our range of truncated dome surfaces, including cast-in-place, surface-applied, and radius tile systems. Please stop by our website for a closer look at our products, or click through our additional blog articles to learn more about the implementation of truncated warning surfaces on public property.

Proper Maintenance for ADA Truncated Dome Tiles

Maintaining your property means also maintaining your ADA truncated dome tiles. Check out this article to find out the simple steps you can take to ensure your tiles perform their function properly for years to come.

As a property owner, you are required to ensure your sidewalks, curbs, and other pedestrian walkways are compliant with ADA regulations regarding tactile warning for visually-disabled individuals. The truncated dome warning tiles you purchase and install on your property should last for years, even under harsh conditions such as daily sun, regular temperature changes, and frequent pedestrian traffic. While these products are designed to deliver continuous warning for pedestrians with very little maintenance, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of wear and damage that could render your tiles ineffective or require premature replacement.

Keep Tiles Clean

One of the simplest ways to ensure your ADA warning tiles remain in good shape is to keep them clean. Sweeping away trash and dirt and removing mud and other sediment using a hose takes very little time but will protect the integrity of your truncated domes for years. In public areas, you can encourage individuals to keep tiles and the surrounding areas clear by providing trash receptacles within a short distance of the curb, such as outside building entrances or along public walkways.

Reduce Unnecessary Traffic

Pedestrian walkways are often subjected to additional types of traffic, including bicycles, skateboards, carts, and more. Wheeled traffic can cause added wear and tear on the tiles, reducing their functional lifetime by increasing the risk of cracks or missing domes. Posting signage that discourages the use of wheeled vehicles or carts on walkways can in turn reduce the wear experienced by your tiles to prolong their functionality and prevent cracks or other damage that will lead to the need for tile replacement. If you frequently receive heavy deliveries using hand carts or other equipment, designating a delivery entrance and parking area can also prevent delivery personnel from causing accidental damage to your tiles with poor parking techniques or heavy carts.

Adjust Snow Removal Techniques

In areas with cold winter weather, snow removal becomes an important aspect of property maintenance. While snow and ice removal in general will improve pedestrian safety and increase the longevity of walkway materials, poorly-planned snow removal techniques can affect the quality of your truncated dome tiles. Deicing salts can cause deterioration of the concrete that supports walkway tiles, as well as damage the surface of carbon composite and fiberglass tile products. Similarly, poor shoveling techniques or careless snow plow operation can crack or gouge the concrete surrounding ADA tiles or cause breakage of the tile surface itself. Adjusting your snow removal techniques to use deicing solutions that will not damage concrete and ensuring employees take care when shoveling or plowing can reduce the risk of tile damage and deterioration during colder months.

Take Care of Concrete

Your ADA tiles require a solid, stable surface to support them; concrete is a durable and cost-effective material, but can become susceptible to damage with poor maintenance techniques. Taking steps to care for the concrete on your property will also improve the efficacy and stability of your truncated dome tile installation, increasing the longevity you get from these products. Because the removal of surface-applied and non-replaceable cast-in-place ADA warning tiles can damage the tiles and require new product installation, minimizing the instances of concrete repair that could result in this situation is the best way to ensure tiles remain in place throughout their expected lifetime.

Our truncated dome warning tile systems are designed for easy installation and fast replacement, while our cast iron products offer unparalleled durability and longevity. You can find out more about achieving ADA compliance with our tile products on our website and blog.

Navigation Tools for the Blind

Humans rely on sensory input to assess and navigate their surroundings. Partial and total blindness can affect the ability to navigate easily and safely in many ways, both in familiar and unfamiliar settings. Today, there are a variety of tools and technologies designed to improve maneuverability for the blind. These tools allow individuals with visual disabilities of all kinds to safely, effectively, and independently move through public spaces without worry or confusion, ensuring that public property and roadways are accessible for all.

White Canes

The white cane is a versatile tool commonly used by individuals with visual impairments to navigate their surroundings. Although cane length varies according to the user’s height, the white cane is designed to act as an extendable tool that relays information about the environment. During use, the white cane is held in front of an individual as he walks, allowing him to feel out ledges, drops, and other features of the terrain by sliding the cane in an arcing motion. The white cane can also be tapped against the ground to alert the user to changes in sound and texture, which signal changes in terrain. While white canes are primarily meant for use as a navigation tool, they also serve to alert sighted individuals to the presence of an individual with vision impairments.

Tactile Warning Surfaces

Tactile warning surfaces are designed to provide visually-impaired individuals with a consistent non-visual warning when the path ahead presents hazards or changes. These surfaces are required by law in various public locations, including along transit station platforms, on public crosswalks and curb ramps, and approaching active roadways. Tactile warning surfaces provide warning in many ways to ensure they meet the needs of all pedestrians. First, tactile warning surfaces feature a standard pattern of truncated domes, which can be felt underfoot through the soles of shoes. Second, these surfaces are comprised of a different material than their surroundings, allowing them to contrast visually and provide an audibly different sound when tapped with a white cane or struck with hard-soled shoes. These tiles have become part of a nationwide navigation system mandated by the ADA to provide visually-disabled individuals with the same level of access and safety to sidewalks and other public areas as those with full sight.

Assistive Technologies

As cellphones, wireless networks, and Bluetooth connectivity have become commonplace in modern society, researchers have begun tailoring these tools to assist the blind with safe and stress-free navigation. GPS- and camera-based apps are currently under development or coming into use and allow visually-impaired individuals to receive the real-time navigation assistance they need through their personal cellphone. More advanced assistive technologies may soon be available to guide those with trouble processing or receiving visual input through simple everyday tasks by facilitating communication between personal devices and the public environment. These technologies aim to provide the added input needed for the same level of independent functionality in unfamiliar settings that sighted individuals enjoy without effort.

Truncated dome tactile warning surfaces play a vital role in the functionality and safety of individuals who are partially or fully blind. Our detectable warning tile products are designed with maximum visibility and longevity in mind, ensuring your property complies with the current ADA requirements for truncated dome spacing, height, and coloration. Please take a look through our website for detailed information on our ADA-compliant truncated dome tile systems, or click through our past news articles and blog archive for more pedestrian safety tips, company news, and product information.

Who Is Seiichi Miyake and Why Did He Make Truncated Domes?

In 1965, the inventor Seiichi Miyake created something that would spread to almost every civilized country in the world. Since the creation of truncated domes, a tactile warning surface that is built into sidewalks and pedestrian thoroughfares, they have been installed throughout his native Japan, as well as Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

Seiichi Miyake wanted to help people with visual impairments travel safely through the streets of Tokyo. He was also worried that people who could not see well were in danger when boarding a train. In the 1970s, all Japan Railway platforms were modified to include tactile warning surfaces, which were in two distinct patterns.

The first pattern was a series of lines which indicated that the person traveling along the path should continue forward. The second pattern consisted of truncated domes, which would indicate the person should stop because of a change in direction or a transition from sidewalk to motorway, or that they were reaching the end of the boarding platform and should wait for the train to stop before proceeding.

After the United Stated enacted the ADA, truncated domes have become mandatory on all sidewalks, in all train stations, and on public thoroughfares that coincide with motorized traffic areas. While they do not require the lined tiles that mean “go” in Japan, they do require the textured tiles that mean “stop.”

To find out more about this amazing invention and how it can help you protect persons with visual disabilities, please contact ADA Solutions, Inc. by visiting our website, or by calling 800-372-0519.

A Look at Past and Present ADA Truncated Dome Requirements

Since it was signed into law in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act has undergone several changes and updates, including a temporary suspension of requirements pending investigation and study to ensure the efficacy of mobility and safety measures. Today, this legislation mandates the installation of standardized truncated dome tactile warning surfaces in various public locations to accommodate individuals with visual disabilities and ensure safety for all pedestrians.

Original 1991 Requirements

When the ADA was signed into law, it mandated the placement of truncated dome tactile warning surfaces in several public access settings. The United States Department of Justice was named the agency responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Act, while the United States Access Board was tasked with developing the minimum requirements outlined by this important legislation. In 1991, these requirements included truncated dome installation on sidewalk curb ramps and at access points leading to and from hazardous active vehicular roadways, as well as the placement of a truncated dome warning strip at the edge of all transit platforms. These requirements went into enforceable effect on January 26, 1992.

1994-2001 Suspension

Studies surrounding the safety and efficacy of truncated dome tactile warning surfaces began when these tiles were first required in 1991. In 1994, the Department of Justice issued a suspension of the requirements surrounding curb ramps and hazardous roadways. During the suspension, which lasted from 1994 to 2001, the requirements for truncated domes on transit platform edges remained in place and enforceable, while truncated dome surfaces were no longer required on pedestrian walkways and curb ramps. This suspension was maintained until 2001 to provide the Department of Justice with a sufficient baseline to complete a 10-year study on the use of truncated domes in these settings. On July 26, 2001, the suspension expired, reinstating the requirements for tactile warning surface placement on curb ramps and at the interface between walkways and roadways. These standards also mandated the placement of truncated dome tiles around reflecting pools and in front of doors leading to potentially hazardous areas.

Current 2010 Standards

The most recent update to the requirements regarding truncated dome tactile warning tiles was made in 2010. These current requirements apply to all construction completed on or after March 15, 2012; construction projects completed before this date may legally adhere to the original 1991 standards without penalty. The 2010 standards alter the 1991 truncated dome pattern requirements slightly, requiring domes to be spaced between 1.6 and 2.4 inches apart and allowing the dome base diameter to range from 0.9 to 1.4 inches. All domes must reach a uniform height of 0.2 inches, with the top diameter of each dome spanning 50 to 60% of the base diameter. The 2010 standards have also limited the required installation of detectable warning surfaces to transit platform edges, public rights-of-way, and curb ramps, eliminating the previously mandated placement of tiles around reflecting pools and hazardous doorways.

We are dedicated to providing high-quality truncated dome products designed to ensure pedestrian safety, property value, and ADA compliance. Whether you need information regarding current ADA standards or would like to request a quote for one of our versatile truncated dome products, you can find the information you need on ADA regulations and tile installation and replacement on our informative website. Our news blog features more tips, news, and articles highlighting the value, importance, and benefits of truncated dome tactile warning surfaces across America today.

Maximizing Detectable Warning Surface Longevity

Since 1991, the Americans with Disabilities Act has outlined accessibility requirements for public pathways and spaces to ensure those with disabilities enjoy the same level of safe and efficient navigation as the majority of the population. These requirements include the installation of truncated dome tactile warning surfaces in transit stations, at crosswalks on active roadways, and in front of doorways leading to potentially hazardous areas. Truncated dome tiles are not only an investment in the accessibility of your property, but also an assurance of long-term compliance with the ADA. Thus, it’s important to take steps to maximize the longevity of the tiles you install to reduce wear and tear and prevent the need for premature tile replacement.

Choose the Right Tile for the Job

Detectable warning surfaces are required in a variety of locations, including both indoor and outdoor settings. Before installing a truncated dome surface, it’s important to choose the right type of surface for your needs. Factors such as the location and climate where the tile will be located all play a part in the right type of tile for your project. Composite fiberglass tiles are ideal for a variety of settings, but can sustain damage in very cold or very heavily-trafficked conditions, as well as on sidewalks where they may come into contact with snowplows or snowblowers. In these conditions, where tile durability is of the utmost importance, cast iron tiles may be the best choice. Radius tiles allow for installation in a curved pattern to accommodate the shape of the platform, sidewalk, or curb where you will be laying truncated dome tiles, improving both the efficacy and the aesthetics of the detectable warning system.

Follow Proper Procedure for Concrete Pouring and Curing

While truncated dome warning tiles are designed to provide years of steadfast function, tile longevity also depends on the quality of the tile installation and the strength of the surrounding concrete. The key to getting the very best performance from your truncated dome tiles lies in proper concrete pouring and curing techniques, which will provide a stable and durable base for truncated dome tiles. Imperfections or damage to the surrounding concrete, either due to issues during installation or throughout the ensuing years, can reduce the durability of the tile and the quality of the bond between tile and concrete. Thus, it’s vital to take factors such as temperature, moisture levels, and ingredient ratios into account during concrete pouring and curing to ensure proper concrete installation and maximum surface longevity. It’s also important to keep in mind that truncated dome tiles are not rated for installation on asphalt or other surfaces, but have been specifically designed for installation on concrete walkways and ramps.

Our wide selection of ADA-compliant truncated dome surfaces ensures you’ll find the right tile for the job, whether you’re preparing a new construction site, retrofitting an older sidewalk, or simply in need of a tactile warning tile option that will withstand severe weather and heavy traffic. If you’d like more information about our products, click over to our website for design specifications or to contact us for a quote. You can also stay up to date on the latest ADA compliance regulations and the most recent innovations in accessible technology when you click through our blog library.