Crash Course in Traffic Control


Controlling vehicular and pedestrian traffic is a significant security concern, but the security risks can be dramatically reduced when using the correct perimeter and access solutions. 

With the advancement and convergence of security systems, gates, barriers and turnstiles are following in similar fashion. Innovative technologies are providing the best perimeter protection for high-risk sites while maintaining pleasing aesthetics. 

Barricade methods, in conjunction with an overall security system, will provide an effective means of controlling incoming and outgoing traffic. By combining several types of barriers, vehicles can be monitored and unauthorized access can be eliminated. 

Traffic of the pedestrian variety can be managed inside a facility as well with the use of turnstile and gate devices. Using the correct turnstile method — waist-high, full-length, optical, barrier-free or drop-arm — will regulate the directional flow of people and monitor incoming and outgoing patrons. Combining traditional turnstile and gate access devices with card readers and video surveillance systems will offer more efficient and secure access control. 

Securing the Perimeter and Controlling Vehicular Access
“Automated vehicular gate systems are the first line of defense at the perimeter,” says Richard Sedivy, director of marketing for Inglewood, Calif.-based DoorKing, a manufacturer of residential, commercial, industrial and maximum security gate and barrier operators.

While most barriers and bollards are capable of reducing the speed or demobilizing a vehicle in time for a security guard to react, not every barricade is suitable for every job. For most guard stations, a security barrier needs to be tailored to fit the specific security needs for that environment. 

“It basically comes down to control,” says David Dickinson, senior vice president of Palmdale, Calif.-based Delta Scientific. “If you have a guard roof and a car drives up, there is nothing a guard can do to stop the vehicle. There is nothing to physically stop him and there is no real control unless you have some kind of barricade.”

Determining the correct barricade is indicative to the threat and speed of a vehicle and the level of security needed for a specific area. The weight and velocity of a vehicle will determine whether or not the vehicle will breach the secured area. The payload stopping capability of a barrier or gate is key in choosing and implementing the correct device. 

Vehicle deterrence devices go through two types of testing to determine its payload-stopping capability. The first is a crash-rating test that is determined through computer analysis. The second method of testing is the actual crash test. Delta Scientific uses both tests to qualify its barricade products to ensure the correct stopping capability.

“The most effective means is to run a full crash test,” says Dickinson. “And secondary, we use computer modeling to study our designs and evaluate them.” 

The U.S. Department of State uses three barrier ratings based on a vehicle’s speed and the barrier’s stopping capability. A K4-rated barrier is able to stop a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling at 30 mph, while a K8-rated barrier will stop the vehicle at 40 mph and the K12 at 50 mph. A vehicle’s kinetic energy will determine its hitting power. Kinetic energy is determined through the velocity and weight of the vehicle. In addition, ratings of L1 through L3 are given to describe the distance a vehicle is expected to travel past the barrier after impact. 

Barricades are designed to absorb the vehicle’s kinetic energy upon impact; however, the faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the likelihood of a breach. In order to prevent penetration into a secured area, entrances can be designed with sharp turns to force a vehicle to slow before reaching the barrier. This method significantly reduces the vehicle’s kinetic energy and its chances of breaking through the barrier.

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