tactile domes
01 Oct

Tactile Warning Surfaces: A Regulatory Overview on the Americans with Disabilities Act

Tactile warning surfaces, also known as detectable warning dome tiles, fall under the jurisdiction of the Americans with Disabilities Act for creating safe and accessible spaces for all pedestrians in urban and suburban areas. These detectable warning surfaces alert people of street crossings and other hazardous drop-offs. In some cases, these detectable warnings indicate boundaries between pedestrian and vehicular thoroughfares, and they are also used onboarding platforms for public transportation.

A Regulatory Overview on the Americans with Disabilities Act for Tactile Warning Surfaces

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law, acknowledging the right of people with disabilities in every area of public life from jobs to transportation to areas accessible by the general public. When it comes to public spaces, the ADA teams up with the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) to address the information related to tactile warning surfaces. These standards focus on spacing, height, diameter, contrast, and more.

Moreover, the federal government also created the ADA standards and the ADA Accessibility Guidelines or ADAAG. These requirements standardize accessibility across the United States. The ADA requires the installation of detectable warning dome tiles in all spaces that are open to the public, including pedestrian crossings, parking garages, wheelchair ramps, transit platforms, escalators, and stairs.

Where Should Tactile Warning Surfaces Be?

Detectable warnings are most commonly found on curb ramps, vehicle ways, transit platform edges, and more. 

What Size Should Domes Be?

Detectable dome tiles need to have a base diameter of .9 inches minimum to 1.4 inches maximum with a top diameter of fifty percent of the base diameter minim to about 65 percent maximum. This size is important for being detectable to pedestrians through shoes and other mobility devices without disrupting their movement.

What Are the Rules on Dome Spacing?

It should be noted that when dome tiles are arrayed radially, that their spacing may differ from center-to-center within the range. Detectable warning dome tiles need to have a center-to-center spacing of 1.6 inches to 2.4 inches. The base-to-base spacing of .65 inches between adjacent domes.

What Should the Contrast Be of Detectable Warning Surfaces?

The ADA guidelines require that detectable warning dome tiles contrast visually with the adjacent street or walkway, either light-on-dark or dark-on-light. But it should be noted that the contrast of the detectable warning dome tiles and the corresponding surface should only be on the actual ramp and not extend to flared sides—since this can create confusion for pedestrians with visual impairments.

What About ADA Compliant Landings and Blended Transitions?

To protect pedestrians, detectable warning tiles should be located on the landing or transition at the curb back. The alignment of the rows of the detectable warning surfaces can be perpendicular or radial to the break between the landing, blended transition, or the ramp. It should be noted that when the walkway provides access to the street around a corner, the vertical rows of the detectable dome tiles should be aligned perpendicular or radial to the grade break for each crosswalk. Ramp widths can vary by design.

As a brief overview of the ADA regulations for tactile warning surfaces, this is a great starting point; however, it’s crucial to be compliant from federal rules all the way to local law.

At StrongGo, we believe in creating a more accessible world, and we do this with our TekWay ADA compliant detectable dome tiles. Speak with an industry professional today to discover solutions for your project by emailing csd@stronggo.com.