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Tactile Guiding System: Studs and Strips to Guide Your Way

Posted on | 30 Jul 2021

Image of Tactile Guiding System on MRT platform
Image of info on tactile guiding system

Can you make your way around a train station with your eyes closed? Probably not.

Imagine what it is like for our friends who are visually impaired, with the throngs of commuters and mix of sounds in the stations.

This is where the tactile guiding system comes in handy. Like signposts on footpaths, these detectable warning surfaces were adopted in Singapore and on transport nodes to help smoothen commuters’ journey. Acting as physical cues, detectable by foot or a white cane so those who need them can move around independently. The tactile guiding system leads the way to essential services in the station such as the Passenger Service Centre and the platform screen door designated for priority boarding.

Travelling with ease for everyone 

Accessibility is the key in providing an inclusive public transport system to commuters with special needs. Some of our first accessible features like ramps and lifts were catered to wheelchair users, but soon expanded to include users with other special needs through regular engagements with groups such as the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH). 

But did you know that we started incorporating the tactile guiding system and braille – another aid for the visually-impaired – when building our train stations almost two decades ago? They were included in the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) revised Code on Barrier-Free Accessibility in Buildings in 2002.

Psst! Fun Fact

Did you know? The Art-in-Transit piece located at the TEL Caldecott station was inspired by the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped, which is located nearby. Using the concept of Braille, the artist created a wall of connected smileys on perforated metal panels along the station platform to greet commuters.

Keep your eyes peeled for this artwork when the TEL2 Caldecott station opens in August 2021!

Engaging the end-users 

LTA proceeded to install the system on the North East Line (NEL) and Sengkang LRT first in 2003, before fully implementing it across the entire North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL). 

It all started back in August 1999, when LTA set up a working group to study ways to improve the accessibility of rail transit stations. The barrier-free project included features like braille and the tactile guiding system for future rail projects.

As we developed the features, we also wanted to ensure they benefited the commuters and the community’s needs. So LTA consulted and worked with SAVH, which provided useful insights. 

Today, our tactile guiding system is a staple for future MRT and LRT stations. We went further when designing the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) and Downtown Line (DTL) stations – there are now tactile guides leading to accessible toilets, and other inclusive features like braille signs for all toilets. There is, of course, more we can do to make rail travel more inclusive. 

Discover more features that ensure our public transport remains accessible here. Beyond hardware, everyone can play a part to make our land transport system more accessible and inclusive.

Did you know fact about the tactile guiding system on transport nodes
Timeline of History of Tactile Guiding System in Singapore
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