No.2 baffled by Tactiles, Truncated Domes, pavement markers 

tactilesIn at No.2 of 5, the baffling inclusion of ‘Tactiles’ in our building codes is the worlds largest -unapproved- human-trial of a therapeutic intervention, never conducted.

The Science; There is no valid peer review research anywhere in the world to support tactiles and truncated domes in our building codes. By ‘valid’ we mean research that has, at a minimum; a control, a placebo, and a sample group that reflects the nature and risks of the intervention strategy.

For example: tactiles are required in childcare centres, yet never, repeat – ‘never’- tested on a valid cohort of children.

There is no research- period- into the effect or effectiveness of installed tactiles, nor was there a reasoned cost-benefit-analysis for the inclusion of tactiles in the building codes.

Costs: The national public-private-spend on tactile infrastructure is estimated at over $100 million per annum. A conservative estimate of the costs to an average CBD is approximately $250,000 per annum, and $7,000 per intersection.


  • Chinese exporters and local installers win in spades
  • Advocates for tactiles, who typically are not people with disability, but installers and employees, paid and promoted by vision charities from an estimated $90 million in annual donations and grants.
  • Our best estimate of daily users of tactiles within a CBD servicing about 3 million people, is eleven (11). That’s 11 people in 3,000,000.

Baffled: Building owners are gobsmacked by the unaccounted money, time and resources spent on installing and maintaining tactiles, that become worn, slippery and do-not get used enough to justify whatever untested benefit.

Findings; The case for including tactiles in building codes is based in rubbery census figures about self reported vision difficulties, yet there is no link between the data and the prevalence of people that can navigate independently and confidently using tactiles.

Yes, the rate of vision impairment is high, but the stats include people like me; I wear glasses and have no use for tactiles. Yes, conditions like diabetic retinopathy are increasing in the over 65 cohorts, but how many blind over 65’ers navigate their office or schools using tactiles?

There’s the call by advocates for more research, yet the absence of research is a false case for including tactiles; in absentia is the case for a moratorium.

Instead of using the 90 odd million in donations to keep proper statistical data on their not-for-profit activities, then following through with epidemiological research, advocates have opted to abuse the courts and tribunals to get their legislative change, at great damage to the vision impaired communities reputation, and to cast doubt over all other accessibility measures. For what benefit, they can’t say.

To be sure, in construction we can all do better: architects and engineers can design out hazards like rail platforms and unexpected steps, although tolerance for red-tape is limited, and limited resources must be spent for maximum gain.

We conclude: Putting truncated domes on stairs and pavement crossings, or anywhere around children amounts to nothing but an unapproved, unethical human trial of a therapeutic product, and number 2 for baffling access standards.

Don’t install them if you don’t need to. Contact us for research findings and alternatives to Tactiles and Truncated Domes. Contact info here

Copyright Arqua Australis Pty Ltd

All research findings documented in this brief are the property of the authors and may not be reproduced without prior permission.

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