Calgary Transit is currently conducting a pilot project regarding the implementation of tactile strips placed at the Bridgeland and City Hall CTrain stations. 

This story also appeared in LiveWire Calgary

The tactile strips have been implemented as part of Calgary Transit’s push to increase accessibility and wayfinding. 

“It’s important for us to make sure that all of our CTrain stations or platforms are accessible for all customers,” said Jenn Boyer with Calgary Transit.

Calgary Transit collaborated with an accessibility consultant and an accessibility committee to determine what different aspects of the tactile strips would be most beneficial to those who would use them. 

“The city is listening to the groups, whether it’s the groups of vision loss or wheelchairs. When somebody needs something made accessible, they go in and try and find a way to make it accessible,” said Deb Bignell, orientation and mobility specialist from Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada, partner of CNIB. 

Tactile strips create a change in texture that can be felt underfoot or with a cane by those with low vision or vision loss. Smooth lines within the tactile strips indicate that it is safe to walk, raised lines indicate to stop walking and right-angle turns assist with way-finding. 

The blue colour of the strips was used in order to provide contrast to the grey concrete in order to assist those with low vision. 

The tactile strips have been designed for those specifically with low vision or vision loss, however, they can also be used as an extra barrier between the platforms and passing CTrains.

The tactile strips are currently in their pilot phase to help determine whether or not they increase wayfinding and accessibility and if they should be placed at other LRT stations. 

Calgary Transit is currently offering a space to provide online feedback on the tactile stripes for customers. QR codes can be found at Bridgeland and City Hall CTrain stations to access the form. 

Calgary Transit will be partnering with CNIB, a Canadian non-profit organization that provides information about vision health. This partnership will assist in recruiting participants who want to participate in the in-person focus groups which are anticipated to start in the summer of 2023 to further determine the tactile strips’ significance in accessibility. 

The pilot phase will run until 2024, after which further decisions will be made. 

“It’s important because it keeps individuals safe and allows them to utilize the public transit…they have the ability to get to places safely and confidently,” said Bignell.

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Isabella West is a fourth-year Journalism student at MRU. She completed her work term over the summer of 2023 at LiveWire Calgary in partnership with the Calgary Journal.