Seiichi Miyake is the creator of one of the simplest yet most effective forms of innovation in public transport. He created the ‘Tenji Blocks’ which can today be seen across places of public transport, as well as on streets and pavements. These tactile blocks alert those who are walking that this is a different path from the usual one.
Particularly beneficial to the visually challenged, the Tenji Blocks created by Seiichi Miyake are commonly seen in railway stations. However, these Tenji blocks have a number of other users. The Google Doodle honours 52 years since Seiichi Miyake created the Tenji Blocks. Here are some ways in which these blocks help us:
Tenji blocks are most commonly seen in train stations. These blocks indicate that you are getting too close to the edge. These are useful not only for the visually challenged but also for the able-sighted people who might have accidentally treaded close to the track.
Another use of these Tenji Blocks created by Seiichi Miyake can be seen when it comes to navigating pedestrian traffic in footpaths. The ribbed line often demarcates the area where pedestrians can walk and where they should keep away from.
Often just before climbing or getting down from a staircase, you may come across some ribbed lines. These lines indicate that there are stairs in front of you. These Tenji blocks help ensure you do not accidentally fall off or bump your foot on the stairs. These are also very important for the visually challenged as they can know that they are approaching a staircase.
drivers of public transport
Another critical use of these ribbed Tenji Blocks comes for the people driving public transport vehicles such as buses or trams. When the driver feels the tyres of the bus are on the ribbed marks, they stop the bus. This helps ensure that the bus stops at the right place every time.
Seiichi Miyake on Google Doodle
Google honoured this contribution by Seiichi Miyake to urban planning by posting a Google Doodle. The doodle, as seen below, shows the word GOOGLE written on the ribbed pavement.
It also shows a stick (indicating a visually impaired person) walking nearby – pointing out at how beneficial the Tenji Blocks have been for the visually challenged.