Active vs. Passive Vehicle Barriers

Active vs. Passive Vehicle Barriers

Active or Passive? Which vehicle barrier should you choose? A lot goes into creating a superior perimeter security solution for your facility and vehicle barriers are an essential part of the design. They limit access to specific areas only authorized personnel may enter. They protect storefronts on busy streets and crowded urban areas. Vehicle barriers even protect government buildings and businesses from criminals who try to use the chaos of a car crash to their advantage.

When designing a building, public area, or other space, you should include vehicle barriers in your design. You can install two main kinds of road barriers — active or passive. In this guide, we’ll look at active vs. passive vehicle systems so you can choose the best kind for your project’s needs.

What Is a Passive Vehicle Barrier?

Passive crash barriers are fixed in place.  They cannot be moved.  They are typically the most efficient and cost-effective way to treat or harden the portion of perimeter security where the permanence of the barrier is not an issue.

Several types of passive security barriers exist, but each has one thing in common — once you set them up, they will protect against vehicle accidents and attacks. Passive barriers do this by absorbing energy and transferring it to their foundation in the ground or concrete.

Types of Passive Vehicle Security Barriers

Here are the main road barrier types you can choose for your project.

  • Passive bollards: Passive crash bollards are sturdy cylinders planted in the ground, usually in groups, for stopping moving vehicles in their tracks. Space exists between each bollard to allow pedestrian traffic, but cars cannot pass through.
  • Terrain: Natural or human-made terrain features can stop vehicles from accessing an area. Some designers choose to use landscape for a natural-looking layer of protection around a building.
  • Crash fences: Crash fences supported by cable barriers and sturdy posts can keep vehicles out of an area by stopping their forward movement.
  • Concrete walls: The tried-and-true concrete wall may lack visual appeal, but it is a surefire way to keep vehicles — and pedestrians — from accessing or damaging an area.

Benefits of Passive Vehicle Barriers

Passive barriers are appropriate for the following types of applications:

  • Perimeter Security: When you are trying to protect a large area where there are no vehicular access points.
  • Little or no maintenance: Passive security barriers require little upkeep to remain functional.  Structures like concrete walls or bollards will remain effective for many years with just routine cleaning.
  • High performance to halt security breaches: Crash-tested passive barriers have been engineered and tested to provide the specific crash protection stated (example: ASTM F2656 M30, M40, M50).
  • Aesthetic considerations: Passive security barriers can more easily blend into the given architecture without detracting from it in any way, and can often work as an enhancement.

What Are Active Vehicle Security Barriers?

Active security barriers involve movement to work.  Movement can occur by way of a person manually operating a barrier or by way of automation, such as a gate or barrier arm operator.  Their principal function is to provide crash protection when in a closed position and to allow vehicular traffic to enter and exit as necessary.  Automated active barriers are often used in conjunction with card readers, keypads, and other access control devices where openings in a fence line or wall are fully automated.

Types of Active Security Barriers

Types of Active Vehicle Barriers

The following list includes different kinds of active crash barriers.

  • Gates: Crash gates operate like other automatic and manual gates while including a crash-tested beam device that is engineered to withstand the impact of a large high-speed vehicle (as defined by test standards such as ASTM F2656).
  • Barrier Arms or crash beams: The crash beam pivots up when in the open position. It provides crash protection from vehicular impact, not pedestrian-related security.
  • Active bollards: Can rise into position automatically. Compatible with various forms of access control.  Difficult to maintain in colder climates where ice and salting occur.
  • Wedge barriers: Wedge barriers are upward-angling steel plates that face the direction of traffic. The operator can lower the plates to be flush with the pavement when in position to allow vehicular traffic.  Like the active bollard, it’s difficult to maintain in colder climates where ice and salting occur.

Benefits of Active Vehicle Barriers

Here are some of the advantages of active security barriers.

  • Regulate entry to an area: Active security barriers are perfect for applications when you need to restrict entry. Regulate access so you always know who is entering the facility or zone.
  • Activate them at will: A successful emergency action plan may include active security barriers. You can increase your area’s security from unwanted vehicles by raising your active bollards or operating your other forms of active security.
  • Deter hostile activity: Criminals who see a guard using a traffic control arm or notice wedge barriers blocking access to a road may give up their unethical ideas. Even a heavy-duty crash gate can be enough to discourage criminals, which is the desired effect.

Which Vehicle Barrier is Best for You?

Simply put, passive vehicular barriers are fixed in place, they don’t move. Active vehicular barriers have the ability to restrict or clear an opening so that an authorized vehicle can pass through; they have the ability to slide, rise, pivot, or lower depending on barrier type. Those passive or active barriers that are crash tested provide crash protection equivalent to the stated DOD, DOS, or ASTM F2656 rating (example: K-4 or M30, K-8 or M40, K-12 or M50).

Take a gate and a bollard, for example. A bollard, which is a type of passive vehicle barrier, offers unmanned, fixed vehicle resistance along the perimeter of an area. By comparison, a gate is used at specific access control points to let authorized vehicles pass through.

Buy Vehicle Crash Barriers for Your Next Project From TYMETAL

Buy Vehicle Crash Barriers for Your Next Project From TYMETAL.

At TYMETAL, we are one of the leading security gate manufacturers in the United States. Our crash barriers can help you achieve better safety for your project, whether you need the passive benefits of bollards or the active functions of a high-quality crash gate. Take control of the area’s security and reduce your risk of vehicle attacks with some help from the team at TYMETAL.

We hope you’ll contact us today for more information and consider our anti-ram vehicle barriers for your project. We look forward to serving you.