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About Tactile Indicators

Japan was one of the pioneers in the introduction of tactile pavings (Nagoya Daigaku Station with yellow pavings on the Nagoya Municipal Subway)The original tactile paving was developed by Seiichi Miyake in 1965. The paving was first introduced in a street in Okayama city, Japan, in 1967. Its use gradually spread in Japan and then around the world. Today yellow tactile pavings are ubiquitous throughout Japan. For aesthetic reasons, for example in front of hotels, the color of the paving can change to reflect the color of the pavement or stone floor. Sometimes the paving contours are produced with steel stripes and dots. The tactile tiles spread rapidly via their adoption at Japan National Railways (later known as Japan Railway). The system was formally named "Hazard Guide for the Visually Impaired"  in 1985. Its modern form can be classified into two types. One has small, round bumps upon the surface of the block, which are felt through a sole. The second type of a block is a directional aid. Long and slender bumps are installed in the surface. However, many types have been manufactured as an experiment and installed. This has resulted in a situation which may be confusing for both the visually impaired and for the elderly. Usually the color of a tile is used to check the proper direction. If the color is not clear, there may be confusion. This has led to the standardization of the system throughout Japan. Now, these tiles are spreading throughout the world. There are many tactile tiles installed at subway stations and on sidewalks in Seoul, Korea. The installation situation in Seoul is more challenging than in Japan. Since the surface of various sidewalks in Seoul are not flat, there are many places which do not convey the meaning of a Tactile Tile. The Tactile Tiles were adopted at each facility used for the Sydney Olympic Games in Australia and are ubiquitous in Australian public transportation facilities. Such a trend has also started in the UK and the US and throughout the world.