Bollards are short, sturdy vertical posts installed primarily to control or direct road traffic, providing safety and boundary definitions. Originating from maritime contexts, they've evolved to cater to diverse applications like architectural enhancements, lighting, and anti-ramming security. Contemporary bollards can be fixed, retractable, or flexible, and are made from various materials, including concrete, steel, and plastic. Besides roads, they are seen around buildings, parks, and sidewalks. By efficiently segregating vehicles and pedestrians, bollards contribute to safer and more organized public spaces.
Bollards trace their roots back to naval traditions, initially serving as posts for securing ships at docks. As urbanization increased, they became traffic regulation tools in the 18th century, repurposed from old cannons. Gradually, their designs diversified for different uses, including ornamental and security purposes. Modern bollards include fixed, removable, and automatic variants, offering an aesthetic way to control traffic, protect pedestrians, and prevent ram-raiding, while beautifying urban spaces.
The force a bollard can stop depends on its design, material, and installation depth. High-security anti-ram bollards, usually made of steel and deeply embedded into the ground, can withstand impacts from vehicles traveling at high speeds, even up to 50 mph. Some are tested to stop a 15,000-pound vehicle, effectively resisting an approximate force of 1.2 million foot-pounds at impact.
Telescopic bollards work using an in-ground, retractable design. When not in use, they retract into the ground, becoming flush with the surface. To raise them, a key unlocks the mechanism, allowing the bollard to be manually lifted and locked in an upright position. This flexible mechanism allows for control of vehicle access while maintaining pedestrian accessibility and aesthetic appeal.
Bollards are filled with concrete to increase their strength and stability. The concrete acts as a reinforcement, making the bollard more resistant to high-impact forces, such as a vehicle collision. This is crucial for security bollards that safeguard sensitive areas. Additionally, concrete-filled bollards provide a robust, low-maintenance solution that can withstand various environmental conditions.