Today, the most dangerous weapons on campuses just might be vehicles
- By Greg Hamm
- April 01, 2018
On Nov. 28, 2016, a terrorist
vehicle ramming and stabbing
attack occurred at Ohio
State University and resulted
in 13 people hospitalized for
injuries. Approximately a year later, on Oct.
31, 2017, a terrorist drove a Home Depot
rental pickup truck at least 10 blocks down
the popular Hudson River Greenway bike
path from West Houston to Chambers streets,
hitting nearly a dozen pedestrians and bicyclists
before crashing into a school bus near
Stuyvesant High School and elementary
school P.S. 89, just a few blocks north of the
World Trade Center.
It’s no secret that terrorist groups have
called on followers to use trucks, in particular,
to attack crowds. Campuses across the
nation are responding.
VEHICLES ATTACKS OCCUR
AT TWO ACCESS POINTS
Temporary access points are especially prone
to attack. On a college campus, traffic may
need rerouting for football game weekends
and commencement ceremonies or a hospital
might be having an open house. In either
case, sections normally open to traffic will
be closed to create pedestrian paths and
gathering points. However, these areas still
have a need for delivery trucks and certain
other authorized vehicles to enter. These
locations are best protected with crash-rated
portable barriers that erect in 15 minutes
and are then removed once the event is over.
The other is in locations where the primary
use is pedestrian but, frequently, vehicles
need to pass through. An example could be a
square in which the maintenance truck comes
through to clean the square periodically.
Other areas could be those locations with
restricted parking. At a hospital, it may the
entrance to the emergency unit.
TEMPORARY BARRIERS ARE
POPULAR ON CAMPUSES
By their very nature, terrorist attacks are
unpredictable and predicated on surprise.
Staying one step ahead by identifying vulnerable
areas, and securing them, is critical to
staving off vehicular attacks. That means
being able to deploy security equipment in
tough conditions, at a moment’s notice. Such
equipment has existed for several years in the
forms of portable temporary barriers.
During the 2017 football season, six of the
Associated Press (AP) top-10 rated pre-season
football schools, stayed one step ahead
of terrorists and errant drivers on their campuses
by identifying vulnerable areas and
securing them within minutes with temporary,
Terrorists typically don’t go where they see
barricades, so placing them wherever possible
attacks can happen reduces security risks dramatically.
Temporary barriers are often used to
protect facilities while permanent ones are
being built. Plus, they’ve even been effective for
the long-term where physical conditions preclude
Their most common use, though, is for
when vehicle access is required temporarily.
Parking for the football game, a grand opening
for the new wing, freshman matriculation
day and open houses are events needing only
a temporary solution. These barriers can be
deployed quickly and effectively, even in places
where it’s impossible to excavate for a permanent
Moveable self-contained barricades can be
towed into position to control vehicle access
within 15 minutes to answer the need of organizations
that quickly require a temporary
barricade system to address a specific threat
or secure a facility during special events. They
were created for military checkpoints in
Afghanistan and Iraq to provide another level
of force protection.
These mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers
carry a M40 rating, stopping seven and a
half ton vehicles traveling 40 miles per hour.
No excavation or sub-surface preparation is
required. Once towed into position, the portable
barricade uses DC-powered hydraulic
pumps to unpack and raise and lower itself off
its wheels. There is no hand cranking. Wheels
are stored along the sides and the vehicle
ramps fold out, completing the implementation.
To move the barrier from that spot to
another, the procedures are just reversed.
Differing from the “hard stop,” wanted with
anti-terrorist barricades, the Soft Stop technology
of the portable barrier decelerates and
stops the vehicle over a short distance. This is
important because, in many cases, the tragedies
that the portables negate are accidents.
Authorities want the vehicle stopped but they
also want to minimize injury to the driver.
Penn State University uses seven of these
barriers for home football games and special
events. Like similar applications at the University
of Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers and
others, PSU is able to quickly deploy these
barriers at strategic sites around the facility.
After the event, they are quickly knocked
down and towed to another location.
Just recently, portable, temporary bollards
have been added as a tool to stopping attacks.
Individual portable bollards provide vehicle
barricades in applications such as heavily
traveled narrow walkways and roadways or
any area that a vehicle can get through. They
can also be used as substitutes until permanent
bollard systems get installed and can be
placed on any stable surface such as concrete,
asphalt, compacted soil or vegetation to
quickly protect people and property against
aggravated automobile or truck assault.
Up to five TB100 portable bollards can be
linked together with a cable system and be
placed on a road’s surface to create immediate
protection. No other installation procedures,
excavations or sub-surface preparations are
required. Certified testing demonstrates that
a portable bollard system will stop and disable
a 15,000 pound vehicle traveling at 30 miles
per hour, resulting in an ASTM M30, P3 rating.
A single TB100 bollard absorbs 400,000
foot pounds of kinetic energy.
Temporary bollards can be used to close
off streets, entrances or wide expanses such
as access to pedestrian areas or even airport
runways. They can be installed in conjunction
with portable barricade to fill in any
gaps to protect people and critical infrastructures
at public events such as parades, festivals,
sporting weekends and any place that
vehicles could attack transitory events. The
combination of the portable barriers with the
new portable bollards provides fast controlled
vehicle access without the time and
labor of installation.
PROCUREMENT OFTEN SIMPLIFIED
From a purchasing standpoint, it can be easier
to buy portable barriers than permanent barriers.
The latter are oftentimes placed into an
organization’s real assets budget because they
are permanently installed into the ground,
becoming part of the property. Such budgets
can often create complex purchasing scenarios
for an agency. However, purchasing portable
barriers is no different than buying protective
vests for personnel or new sets of
wrenches for the maintenance department.
FIXED, MOVEABLE BOLLARDS -
THE MOST USED PERMANENT
SOLUTIONS USED ON CAMPUSES
Bollards, some moveable that go up and down
to let vehicles through and others fixed or stationary,
are aesthetically pleasing and let pedestrians
move between them in non-roadway
applications. Bollard systems operate individually
or in groups of up to ten. They are used for
intermediate level security applications. Individual
bollards are up to 12.75 inches in diameter,
up to 35 inches high and are usually
mounted on three to five foot centers. They are
tested to stop and destroy an attacking vehicle
weighing 10,000 pounds moving at 65 miles
per hour or a 20,000-pound vehicle moving at
46 miles per hour. Kept in the “up” position to
stop traffic, moveable bollards lower to allow
Ranging from faceted, fluted, tapered, rings
and ripples, colors, pillars, to shields, emblems
and logos, bollards look nice and are versatile.
You can specify ornamental steel trim attached
directly to the bollard, or select cast aluminum
sleeves, which slip right over the crash tube.
Bollards can be galvanized for corrosion resistance,
fitted with an internal warning light for
increased visibility and engineered to suit high
traffic volume. If damaged, simply slip off the
old and slip on the new.
UCLA uses decorative bollards throughout
the campus to restrict vehicle access to student
housing areas and other locations which
require authorized access on a somewhat frequent
basis. Some of the areas block access to
dumpsters and roads that demand pedestrian
access only, such as when classes are in session.
Decorative bollards also protect the George
H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum,
located on a ninety-acre site on the West
Campus of Texas A&M University. These bollards
are designed to protect facilities from
those not authorized to enter or others from
driving errant vehicles into pedestrian areas.
Fixed post bollards are available to secure
the sides of roadways with the same crash rating
and appearance as their moveable cousins.
While cement barriers, such as posts and
pots, are available many campuses prefer
fixed post bollards for several reasons. First of
all, when hit, cement posts and pots can
explode, literally spreading shrapnel throughout
the crowd, potentially creating numerous
injuries. Shallow foundation bollards can be
installed within sidewalks or on top of concrete
deck truss bridges as well as conform to
the inclines and turns of a locale. They
also meet the one-meter clearance regulations
mandated by the Americans with Disabilities
The fixed bollard, which does not go up
and down, provides a significant blocking
device solution that continues to challenge
security directors faced with threats such as
stopping a vehicle from plowing into the
hospital’s pharmacy to keeping vehicles on
the other side of the campus perimeter.
They let facility manager meet a long-standing
challenge—how to easily install bollards
on shallow substrates, including those that
are not level or have turns. No longer do
locations, such as curves on hills, the upper
levels of parking structures and other
unprotected locales have to use unsightly
‘make-do’ solutions to stop car bombers or
NO APPLICATION TOO
LARGE OR SMALL
Protecting campuses from vehicle attack is no
small responsibility; it’s becoming mandatory.
Knowing that you’ve got the right equipment in
place to secure the campus from vehicle threat
and prevent what is becoming all too common
human tragedy brings a peace of mind that no
amount of money can buy. Carefully researching
available options and consulting with
experts will ultimately lead to the right solution
in helping you protect your
campus from vehicle-based
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.