Why Certain Colors Are Used for Tactile Detectable Warning Surfaces

crossing-street-with-detectable-warning-system

Have you ever wondered what purpose those raised truncated domes served when placed at busy intersections or along the edge of subway and train platforms? Aside from providing visual cues to non-visually impaired people that they need to take caution in this location, the raised bumps help provide non-visual cues to people who have problems seeing.

They could have reduced vision, be considered legally blind, or have other vision problems relating to depth perception. When they “feel” the raised bumps on the surface, it alerts them that they need to take precautions beyond the end of the raised domes.

Detectable warning surfaces are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, depending on where they will be installed. In addition, they are offered in a wide array of different colors. Most people are familiar with the bright-yellow-colored warning surfaces since this is one of the most used colors.

Yet, you may have encountered tactile surfaces that are blue, red, black, white, or a combination of two or more colors. There are even graphic-style warning surfaces that could feature a company’s brand name, logo, or other such advertisements.

Why Are There Different Colors?

stop-and-walk-sign

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) does not have a set color requirement for tactile raised warning systems. According to Section 705.1.3 of the ADA, it states the following in regards to color:

“Detectable warning surfaces shall contrast visually with adjacent walking surfaces either light-on-dark or dark-on-light.1

What this means is that municipalities, businesses, and other parties are responsible for ensuring tactile warning surfaces are installed where required by federal laws, and that they are essentially free to choose any color or combination of colors they desire, so long as the colors contrast with the surrounding surfaces.

To illustrate, a local community is building a new park that has a sidewalk around its perimeter which serves as a crosswalk at busy intersections. The streets and sidewalks are made of light-colored cement.

At each intersection, the color of the warning surfaces should be a dark color to contrast with the light cement. The local community could decide to use the traditional yellow or opt for a dark red, blue, or some other color if they so desired.

yellow-detectable-warning-system

However, before you start ordering new colors for the tactile dome surfaces you are responsible for, you do need to check your state’s regulations and requirements. Some states like California, have adapted their own specific regulations and requirements in regards to color. In California, the state’s regulations allow for the use of yellow-colored warning surfaces.

If the warning surfaces you are responsible for are in California, then yellow is currently the only color you are allowed to use with a few exceptions. For example, you might be allowed to add white text or an image to the surface, such as the wheelchair used for handicap accessible parking spaces.

However, it is your responsibility to ensure this is allowed in the locations where you are going to be installing new or replacing existing warning surfaces.

What Is the Role/Purpose of Each Color?

The color of truncated domes can sometimes be used to serve specific roles or purposes. With our traditional yellow color, it signifies to use caution in the location. In some cities, they will also use a bright red or brick red color, which also indicates people should use caution.

Some state regulations will only allow the use of red warning surfaces in areas that are considered a controlled pedestrian walkway or crossing. A controlled walkway or crossing would be considered crosswalks at major intersections, but could also include different types of crossings, like a pedestrian bridge used above a busy road.

The bright blue color that is often associated with handicap accessible areas is typically reserved for the same purposes when used with warning surfaces. You may also notice the wheelchair symbol in white on the surface.

handicapped-detectable-warning-systemOther colors you can encounter in different cities could include:

  • Black
  • Dark Red/Brick Red/Orange-Red
  • Dark Gray
  • White
  • Light Gray
  • Brown/Clay Red
  • Light Yellow

The use of these colors is often for aesthetic reasons and, typically, does not have any specific role or purpose tied to the color. For example, dark-red warning surfaces may be used on a pedestrian crossing that intersects a jogging and bike path made of a light-colored cement or paving tiles.

The dark red provides a brick-like appearance to the path and satisfies the ADA contrast requirements. On the other hand, if the path was dark-colored asphalt, then the warning surface tiles should be a light color, so white or light gray would both work as viable color choices.

Can a Business Use Custom Colors?

As long as there are no state-mandated requirements and the tactile system satisfies the ADA federal requirements, then by all means, a business can use custom colors. Custom colors can include just about any color and shade. For instance, a sports arena may choose to install detectable tactile surfaces that reflect the team’s colors.

Some businesses also use custom designed panels that they can change out that feature to different types of images, logos, and text. For example, a retail store could have special tiles made to reflect various times of the year, holidays, or seasonal sales events. As long as the panel they want to replace is a cast-in-place replaceable panel, they can swap it out with whatever custom designed panel they want to use.

Does the Choice of Color Really Matter?

detectable-warning-systems-for-the-blindAccording to a study conducted by the United States Access Board, it found that while traditional yellow was a good contrasting color for many applications, unless there were state regulations requiring the use of this color, other colors would work just as well.

In fact, they found brick red to be just as superior a contrasting color to yellow in their 2007 research study.2 The study also found that the use of multiple colors in areas where using a single contrasting color was difficult was better compared to using a single color.

To illustrate, a rail station platform uses a series of different paver tiles in both dark and light colors. Since there are both light and dark colors, choosing a contrasting color to satisfy the ADA requirements could prove challenging. However, the ADA does allow an exception where you could use two colors—one as a border around the second color to help create the necessary contrast.

How ADA Solutions Can Help

ADA Solutions offers a wide array of tactile warning systems and solutions in traditional yellow and customizable colors to suit your needs and requirements. We can lend our expertise to help ensure you satisfy ADA requirement and any state regulations for the type of panels you choose for your project including:

  • Cast-in-Place
  • Cast-in-Place Replaceable
  • Photoluminescent Systems
  • Way-Finding Surfaces
  • Replaceable Graphic Tile Systems
  • Radius Systems
  • Surface Applied Systems
  • Cast Iron Tactile Systems

We are committed to the highest quality and standards in our products and solutions. Over the years, we have installed over 30 million square feet of warning surfaces all across the country! At ADA Solutions, your project and your needs always come first to ensure you receive the customer-focused attention you deserve.

We would also be happy to supply you with a sample of our products. To request a free quote, free sample, for assistance finding a distributor in your area, or any other questions about ADA Solutions truncated domes and warning systems, please feel free to contact us at (800) 372-0519 today!

Sources:

  1. http://www.ada-compliance.com/ada-compliance/705-detectable-warnings
  2. https://www.access-board.gov/research/completed-research/visual-detection-of-detectable-warning-materials/3-discussion

Tactile Warning Surfaces at ADA Solutions, Inc.

warning-surfaces-text

Tactile Warning surfaces are needed in many places as required by federal, state, and local laws and regulations. You will find Tactile warning surfaces used in such locations as:

  • Bus Stations
  • Train Stations
  • Airports
  • Subway Stations
  • Public Sidewalks
  • Public Crosswalks
  • Entry Ways to Businesses
  • Apartment Complexes
  • Condominium Communities
  • Schools, Colleges, and Universities

Essentially, these special types of raised dome surfaces provide tactile warnings for visually impaired individuals, as well as in lowered lighting conditions. They help identify a change in elevation and grade, as well as a transition from one surface/location to another—for instance, leaving a sidewalk and entering a crosswalk at a busy intersection.

ADA Solutions, Inc. provides a wide range of different types of tactile warning surfaces and systems, including:

  • Iron Dome®
  • Radius Systems
  • Cast in Place
  • Cast in Place Replaceable
  • Surface Applied
  • Guide Tile
  • Directional Bar Tile

Our solutions are designed to be used for retrofits, remodels, and new construction. Based on the type of project, one or more of our tactile warning products will help finish your project on time, and under budget.

To learn more about our many different types of Tactile Warning Products and their key features, we invite you to  review the following infographic. Afterward, do not hesitate to contact us directly for further assistance in selecting the right Tactile Warning product for your project.

 

Warning Surfaces at ADA Solutions

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Most Common ADA Requirements

Common ADA Requirements

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was introduced in 1990 and revised as recently as 2016. In addition to defining a disability, it forbids discrimination and requires employers to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Common ADA requirements also include ease of access, public rights-of-way, and curb ramps at pedestrian crossings. Many of the products ADA Solutions offers, including those with a detectable warning surface and truncated domes, help facilities and businesses meet the guidelines of the ADA.

Common ADA Requirements

Detectable Warnings

Title II of the act established the requirement for these in 1991.1 By law, such surfaces are required on curb ramps, transit platform edges, and vehicular ways. One reason is to provide an indication to visually impaired individuals. The Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) only allow for truncated domes as warnings, as exposed aggregate or grooves can be confused with cracks, joints, and textures on the pavement.

Curb Ramps

Chapter 6 of the ADA calls for the use of curb ramps. They provide access to sidewalks and streets for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters. Otherwise, curb edges would create a safety hazard, and individuals would need to choose to stay home or risk traveling in the streets with vehicles.

These ramps include a ramp run, the sloped section that allows one to travel from the sidewalk to the street. They also include transitions at the top and bottom. Flare sides level the curb with the street, while the gutter of the roadway passes immediately adjacent to the ramp. Acceptable alternative designs include parallel curb ramps, which come together with a landing level with a road, and combined curb ramps, consisting of parallel and perpendicular ramps.

Size Requirements

The guidelines require that a detectable warning surface begins 6 to 8 inches from the back of a curb. It must extend two feet in the direction of travel. Domes provided by ADA Solutions are available with 1.67-inch and 2.35-inch spacing and are 0.20 inches high.

Accessible Routes

Curb ramps, doorways, elevators, and platform lifts are included under this category. The slope should not be steeper than 1:20,2 and any walking surface shouldn’t have a cross slope steeper than 1:48. In addition, the clear width of walking surfaces should be at least 36 inches. The clear width of a turn must be 42 inches if the accessible route turns at 180 degrees around an element less than 48 inches in width; both accessibility requirements must be followed unless exceptions apply.

More details can be found in the ADA and Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act

ADA Solutions Helps Meet Common Requirements

Our products are designed to meet all ADAAG requirements. Pre-assembled replaceable and long-term fiberglass reinforced composite Cast-in-Place panels are available. We also offer surface applied panels that can be retrofitted to a new construction or an existing concrete surface. Radius systems are cut to dimensions that suit each application. Photoluminescent, way-finding, and cast-iron tactile systems with truncated domes are also available to help meet ADA guidelines.

Learn more about what we offer by filling out our contact form or calling 800-372-0519.

Sources

  1. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/resources/dwm.cfm
  2. https://www.si.edu/content/accessibility/americans-disabilities-act.pdf
  3. https://www.ada.gov/
  4. https://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap6toolkit.htm

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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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? Read more

Cast Iron Products: Iron Dome®

For twenty years ADA Solutions, Inc., has been the industry leader in manufacturing detectable warning surfaces that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and all other applicable government regulations. We have arrived at this position as a direct result of our willingness to innovate and a policy of responding to the needs of our customers and distributors. This guiding principle has led us to develop our latest offering in ADA-compliant tactile warning tiles: Iron Dome®.

Cast Iron Products

Iron Dome® is essentially an upgraded, improved version of our older cast iron ADA warning tiles. How does Iron Dome® differ from this older product? It has been specially designed with relatively lighter materials that can be installed and removed with greater ease, which significantly reduces the overall costs associated with its maintenance. Formerly, our cast iron product came in 12” by 24” pieces that were assembled with 1-2 rails. With Iron Dome®, clients now have their choice of two sizes: 24” by 24” and 24” by 30”. These state-of-the-art warning tiles are installed with an anchor system, which makes these materials more easily replaceable.

Iron Dome® includes a variety of valuable features that make it ideal for use as an ADA- and ADAAG-compliance detectable warning surface:

  • Textured, slip-resistant surface that meets coefficient of friction requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).
  • Color contrast that complies with ADA and ADAAG requirements for light-on-dark or dark-on-light detectable warning surfaces. UV-stable materials provide uniform coloring without the need for paint or other surface coating. (Custom colors are available.)
  • Made in the U.S. with recycled, eco-friendly, LEED-compliant materials.
  • Conforms to AASHTO M105-09, Standard Specification for Gray Iron Castings (ASTM A48, Class 45B).
  • Conforms to ASTM A159 regulations for Automotive Grade Gray Iron Castings.
  • Conforms to AASHTO M306-10 regulations for Drainage, Sewer, Utility, and Related Castings.

Iron Dome® is a durable and aesthetically attractive product. As with all of our detectable warning surfaces, it has been engineered and tested to comply with all regulations pertaining to water absorption, compressive strength, wear resistance, weather resistance, chemical resistance, detectability (sound attenuation), and UV stability. In addition to meeting ADA and ADAAG requirements, Iron Dome® conforms to Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, International Standards Organization ISO 23599, Public Right of Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG), as well as Canadian Standards Organization standards (CSA B651-12). Like all ADA Solutions, Inc., products, it is approved by all major municipalities across the U.S. for use as a tactile warning surface for the visually impaired.

The installation process is simple. Once installed, the Iron Dome® Tactile Warning System can be safely opened to foot traffic within two to four hours. It can be installed on curb ramps, parking areas, stair landings, pedestrian crossings, transit platforms, escalator approaches, and similar areas.

We are confident that Iron Dome® will fulfill all of your needs and expectations when it comes to detectable warning surfaces. Please feel free to request a quote with our convenient online form. You may also call us at (800) 372-0519 with any questions or concerns you might have about this new product from ADA Solutions, Inc.