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What Is Traffic Bollard?

Apr. 30, 2021

What Is Traffic Bollard?

Bollards are often overlooked, but they can play an important role in the safety and aesthetics of almost every organization's facility. In a way, they are like masked knights in superhero movies. They never ask for gratitude or recognition; they silently protect the citizens and surrounding buildings. This analogy may be a bit exaggerated, but bollards can indeed save lives and protect property. The key is to choose the right type of equipment.

In its simplest form, a bollard is an unadorned metal pillar placed in front of a building or other outdoor space to control the flow of traffic. They are usually separated to prevent vehicles of typical sizes from passing through them, making them an important part of security boundaries and parking lots. The bollards come in different colors, sizes, decorations and impact resistance. The correct choice of bollards will be integrated with the structure of the building, while providing a sufficient level of impact resistance to prevent property damage and protect pedestrians.

Usually an organization will choose various types of traffic control bollards to perform these tasks in their property. Traffic bollards have several functions: they can distinguish between vehicles and pedestrians, clearly delineate the flow of traffic, provide visual aid in areas with limited visibility, and enclose car-free zones.

Use vehicle bollards to improve traffic management and road safety

The traffic control bollard creates physical and visual barriers to guide vehicles. Outposts prevent entry into restricted areas, separate lanes or traffic directions, and route roads, while also allowing pedestrians to pass unimpeded. Bollards can also complement signs and other traffic management strategies.

Traffic Bollard

The history of bollards

The word "bollard" first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1844, referring to a post used to moor a ship's rope. Its etymology is not clear, but it is likely to be derived from the word "bole". Over time, the term has expanded to include posts that guide pedestrians and vehicles.

Although the term is only 200 years old, bollards have existed for thousands of years. Some of the oldest surviving examples can be traced back to the Roman Empire, where carved stone posts were usually used to tie in front of buildings and as landmarks on both sides of roads.

Bollards often reflect or enhance their environment. Many traditional styles were influenced by the installations of the 17th and 18th centuries, when it became common practice to use retired cannon barrels to half-bury them. These artillery posts are used for mooring on the docks, and for directing traffic inland and protecting stone buildings. When the cannon is buried with its muzzle facing upwards, a large cannon shell is usually used to seal the cannon so that it is not affected by water and debris, forming a unique round top. The different shapes of these old cannons still influence today's style.

Although bollards are still used on the docks, most of them are currently used for traffic and safety applications. In the early 19th century, the residents of Amsterdam were early adopters of this trend because their narrow streets had no curbs or yards. The owners installed decorative cast iron posts in front of their houses and shops to prevent damage caused by increased carriage traffic. The city of Amsterdam eventually followed suit and installed cast iron bollards called Amsterdam to delimit the pedestrian zone. Although most cities, including Amsterdam, use curbed roads as a method of traffic separation, bollards are still used to define different areas in the modern urban landscape.

As vehicles have become heavier and more powerful than earlier cars, the installation and design of these posts have been adjusted accordingly. On one side of this equation is a flexible bollard, which can be hit without damaging the car or the post. On the other side are safety bollards, which are used to protect buildings and pedestrian areas and slow down or stop vehicles that hit them.

Vehicle attacks in public spaces have led to more interest in highly impact-resistant site protection. Government buildings sometimes install anti-attack bollards to withstand repeated bombings by vehicles.

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