Truncated Domes

You probably passed one today if you left your house. New sidewalk intersections include truncated domes, which are tactile warning surfaces for pedestrians. As old intersections undergo repairs, they receive the surfaces as well.

It looks like a muffin top from Legoland, a brightly colored, raised bar surface that blends into the sidewalk. It’s hard to be surprised by a ramp or a curb anymore when it’s marked in bright yellow, and my cane and my feet detect it easily. The surfaces are kinda ugly, but it sure makes street crossings safer in busy places like the sidewalks of New York City.

Invented in Japan in the 60s, tactile warning surfaces eventually spread around the world. In the US, federal law mandated curb cuts use detectable warnings since 2001. Ten years before that, rail platforms were required to have them. No one wants to spill out into the street or off a rail platform, visually impaired or not.

Have you noticed truncated domes at intersections or elsewhere? What do you think of them?

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. April Brown says:

    They would be helpful in recognizing a change in pavement level.

    My shoes usually slide on them. And the ones at the grocery store – I can’t push a cart across. At least there, they one section big enough for the cart to go through.

    Not sure why, but I find walking on them hurts my feet, even in three layers of socks and heavy shoes.

    At least now I know why they made them that way. Though I’m still not sure how someone in a wheelchair can get across them. I do see them having trouble as well.

    1. April: You’re right, wheels do not work well on these surfaces! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Katherine says:

    Trucated Domes!?!?! never heard them called that before.
    I’m blind myself and know them as TGI Tactile Ground Indicators or TGSI Tactile Ground Surface Indicators, it’s amazing something so universal can be know as a variety of different names…..

    loving the blog by the way 🙂

    1. Katherine: It must be the Australian lingo vs US lingo. I like abbreviations, so TGIs works for me! Thanks for the compliment. I do enjoy writing my blog.

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