The global tactile paving market is expected to witness a considerable growth over the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the increasing usage of tactile paving across pedestrian crossing points, railway platform edges, steps, level crossings, and footpaths. Favorable industry regulations across several regions and increasing adoption of state-of-the-art urban design concepts for pedestrian pathways are anticipated to propel the market growth over the next few years. Paving is a method of outdoor flooring that uses raised surface and textured tiles.
Such raised surface guide visually impaired, partially sighted, and elderly individuals of their environments and the paths that they are following. The most commonly used forms of solid paving are truncated domes, detectable warnings, perceptible ground surface indicators, detectable warning surfaces. The blister surface on the pavement is to provide a warning to visually impaired people who would otherwise find it difficult to differentiate between where the footway ends and the carriageway begins. Corduroy pavers warn visually impaired persons of particular hazards such as steps, railway crossings, and footway joins.
Increasing government spending across the globe to offer safer exterior environments with minimal noise and dust pollution has also augmented the demand for such pavements. Moreover, ease of installation on any standard outdoor surface with marginal impact on the environment is expected to boost the demand for these pavements in the coming years. Authorities such as the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) in U.K. have issued guidelines on the use of such paving surfaces so that it meets it purpose.
Pathways on all existing roads, rail stations, footpaths, and offices are being upgraded as per these guidelines to encourage safety of pedestrians and others in their surroundings. On the other hand, factors such as ignorance and improper guidance from transport departments and local authorities in regards to exterior landscapes are restraining the growth of tactile paving market. Moreover, inconsistent layout and errors in the deployment of such pavements are making them ineffective, thereby hindering its adoption.
Awareness regarding such tactile pavement is minimal in emerging countries, thus many visually impaired or partially sighted or other users do not understand the profiles completely, which leads to the need for convincing the local authorities of the effectiveness of the method. Furthermore, the scope is limited to developed countries due to large-scale unplanned exterior environments in developing countries and limited space availability and crowded spaces in densely populated areas.
However, widespread adoption of urban street design principles that highlight the need of tactile pavements for safer environments for visually impaired and elderly individuals have positively impacted the market growth. Rapid infrastructural developments in the urban areas across the globe have also led to rising demand for these paving techniques, thereby driving the market growth. Increasing investments in technology developments, such as integration of RFID tags in pavements enabling GPS guidance for the visually impaired, would also drive the market.
The development of advanced pavements manufactured from specialty materials with pollution controlling surfaces and increased focus on the environmental sustainability is also likely to contribute toward the market growth in the years to come. Platform edge warnings at street levels and rail platforms are used to indicate approaching edges on streets, cycle tracks, and footways to advise users of the correct side to enter and segregate the tracks. Directional or guidance tactile is used to guide along a route for avoiding obstacles while walking on the tactile surface or maintaining contact with the cane.
Concrete and natural stones are the two primary raw materials used to produce tactile paving floorings. Usually, pre-cast concrete and natural stones are chiseled into the necessary texture and form to obtain pavements. Metallic studs embedded on the surface into paving after the installation is a recent development enabling any stone surface to be textured to a blistering profile. Asia Pacific tactile paving market is expected to witness a surge in demand owing to increasing construction and infrastructural activities in countries such as China, Japan, and India.
U.K. is amongst the leading manufacturers and consumers of tactile pavers due to the strict guidelines regarding its application. The market in the North America region is expected to grow steadily on account of rising number of renovation activities and rapid infrastructural development. Companies are using eco-friendly raw materials and recycling methods in production so as to reduce the environmental impact throughout the product life cycle. Partnerships with architects, consultants, and contractors ensure improved product offering, quality, and performance.
Companies are working on raising the awareness about such paving guides, developing standard codes about various tactile surfaces worldwide for ease of understanding. Training the visually impaired in recognition of such pathways and navigation methods will be a prominent application for leading companies to increase their market penetration. Manufacturers are increasingly focusing on new product design and development to offer high-quality products. Some of the key industry participants include ADA Solution, Inc.; Fujian Yangzi Stone Material; Marshalls; Viztek Ltd.; G-Tech; and Visul Systems Ltd.
Research Support Specialist, USA