Standard Tactile

TWSI: Part of The Story in Creating Inclusive Audio-Based Navigation Systems

City of Toronto and Ontarians with Disabilities Building More Accessible Communities

Tactile walkway surface indicators, TWSI, are one of the essential tools for creating accessible and inclusive public spaces. But what are they and how do planners choose the right options to implement?

Well, recently we were involved in several conversations on the selection and importance of tactile walkway surface indicators. Specifically, their application around bus stops, outward opening automatic doors and stairs.

Armed with these recent investigations. The following addresses some of the TWSI questions of what, why and how.

A visit to Wikipedia gives a high overview of the what and why. Saying , “tactile paving (also called Tenji blocks, truncated domes, detectable warnings, tactile ground surface indicators, tactile walking surface indicators, or detectable warning surfaces) is a system of textured ground surface indicator found on footpaths, stairs and train station platforms to assist pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired”. These tactile warnings…detectable by long cane or underfoot alert the traveller of approaching streets and hazardous surface or grade changes.

Which brings us to the how and as a former Banker and somewhat fact-based driven individual. My preference is having information backed up by real time evidence, testing and observation by an independent third party.

As such, koodos (kudos) to the City of Toronto and Ontarians with Disabilities, for creating a webpage that provides an in-depth analysis of various TWSI applications used and tested in the environment they will be applied.  The City of Ottawa have also adapted these findings to their TWSI planning initiatives. Using Toronto’s TWSI webpage in conjunction with the International organization of Standard ISO and the American with Disabilities Act ADA. Provides a solid base to begin design consideration and consultations with people who are blind and other stakeholders to create more inclusive local communities

Gateway Navigation consults on the design, implementation and ongoing monitoring for inclusive audio-based navigation systems integrating the architectural, graphic, audio and tactile elements of the built environment. Using a human centred approach promoting co-design and testing with the blind, deaf-blind and visually impaired community. For more information and to chat about accessibility and inclusion email us at:

Link To Toronto TWSI Web Page

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