[AI] Helping blocks for handicap

vishnu ramchandani vishnuhappy at yahoo.com
Fri May 23 06:53:22 EDT 2008

Helping blocks for handicap

Western Railway plans to install special chequered
blocks at stations to help the visually challenged

Nilesh Nikade

WR proposes indicators for visually challenged to
enable them to locate their train compartments

The visually-challenged commuters travelling on
Western Railway (WR) will soon find it easy to locate
compartment meant for handicaps, as the administration
has decided to fix special chequered blocks on all the

Earlier, platforms had no indications for the visually
challenged to reach the handicaps’ compartment. Many
visually challenged people would count poles
at railway platforms to find their way.

Aniruddha Sanglekar, visually challenged since
childhood, who travels between Malad to Churchgate
everyday, said, “Railways have indicators on trains
platforms for compartment for the handicapped. But the
blind need either audio or physical indicators to
locate the same.”

“Central Railway had introduced an alarm at all its
platforms to solve the problem. However, at some
stations the alarms were not working. The continuous
sound of the alarm was also creating a nuisance for
other passengers,” said Sushil Chindarkar, another
visually challenged commuter travelling on suburban

The Western Railway installed special chequered blocks
at its Churchgate station on an experimental basis.

An official from WR said, “To indicate the handicaps’
compartment on the platform we fixed chequered blocks
in a two-meter-wide area so that visually challenged
people could easily feel the chequered area with their
feet and locate their compartment.”

With the successful implementation of the project,
Western Railway has now invited tenders to fix these
chequered blocks at all platforms.

“The work will begin in the next three months and is
expected to finish within three months thereafter,”
said Pranai Prabhakar, chief public relation officer
of WR.

WR has also decided to install these checkered blocks
at the edges of each platform to avoid accidents that
take place while people try getting off running

 Braille aid for commuters 

In Philippines and Singapore, the Rail Transit
Services are especially designed for the elderly and
the differently-abled. It has Braille tactiles along
the lanes and elevators to help blind passengers. A
dotted path leads from the entrance, through the gates
to the elevator (with braille buttons) on to
the platform. Corners and stopping points on the path
are marked out with a different pattern.

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