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The city is a jumble of access ramps, train platforms, bus stops, sidewalks, curbs, and intersections. While a non-disabled person finds these challenges pretty easy to navigate and deal with, for people with disabilities and visual impairments, this can be more of a struggle. So much so, moving around a big city could truly be a hazardous experience.

People with visual impairments and disabilities need additional help to ensure their safety while navigating through the busy city streets, sidewalks, subway and rail platforms, bus stops, and so on. To help ensure people with disabilities get that help, the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates certain measures to make accessing different areas easier and more accessible to everyone.

One such requirement is the installation of detectable warning panels in the surface area of sidewalks to serve as a warning for upcoming dangerous changes. These changes could be a busy intersection, a ramp, an edge of a platform, curbs, or steps. The warning panels help to keep everyone safe, including people without visual impairments or disabilities.

For instance, many people walk around these days looking down at their smartphones. This leads to distractions that could result in their walking out into a busy street, off a curb, or, worse, falling off a rail platform down onto the tracks. Luckily, the change in the dome surface can be felt and alerts people to potential dangers and hazards.

Detectable warning systems are essentially a “stop sign” to let people know they need to do something. The raised surfaces on the warning panels are designed to be detected by a walking cane as well as be able to be felt through the soles of boots and shoes. People might need to stop and prepare to cross a busy street or wait for their train. It could also indicate the need to look up from your smartphone to see what attention is required.

Even though detectable warning systems are great, you also have to consider lower light conditions and situations that could result in complete darkness. While visually impaired people will still be able to easily navigate using the tactile surfaces, non-visually impaired people will be the ones at a disadvantage.

Detectable Warning Panels

This is where our Glow-Dome™ product can help. Glow-Dome™ panels do not rely on any power source and are charged by ambient light. They provide emergency visual cues in reduced or no light situations. The panels can be integrated into tactile warning systems to help provide a distinct visual cue. They are offered in retrofit transit, paver, and replaceable tile options.

In addition, certain building codes and regulations could require the use of photoluminescent tiles to help mark the path to exits during emergencies, reduced or no-light conditions, and other such situations.

  • Fun Fact: Glow-Dome™ panels can help you earn LEED credits toward earning a green building rating.

To learn more about detectable warning tiles, tactile warning systems, and Glow-Dome™ panels, please feel free to contact ADA Solutions at (800) 372-0519 today!