How Pedestrian Bollards Protect Drivers and Pedestrians

Posted by slowstop | 05 May 2017

Pedestrian Bollards are closely related to traffic bollards in design and purpose, with the chief difference being that they direct foot, as opposed to motorized, traffic. Nonetheless, they perform an important function in promoting public safety, by maintaining a buffer zone between pedestrians and motorized vehicles.

A powerful example of the role that pedestrian bollards can play is found in New York City. While it’s a great metropolis, NYC has traditionally been hesitant to use bollards to protect its millions of walkers. This is largely responsible for the high incidents of pedestrian-vehicle accidents that occur within the city annually. A recent report by New York City’s Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) mentions 7,000 injuries and fatalities caused by such collisions.

In response, the NYCDOT launched an initiative in 2008 to make the city safer for those on foot. Many of the measures involve the use of bollards. Here are some of the many examples.

  1. Development of bicycle paths connecting all five boroughs, to encourage the use of bikes as an alternative means of transportation. Bollards have been installed on many of these paths, to provide a physical barrier against drivers intruding on the cycle routes. This measure has had tangible results.
  2. The redesign of public spaces to create designated zones for foot, horse, and bicycle traffic. One splendid example of this measure’s success is the revamping of Park Circle in Brooklyn, as seen in this report. It includes several images of how bollards have been used successfully, along with concrete curbs and lane markings, to create safe zones for non-vehicular traffic.
  3. A special emphasis on the Broadway areas of Times and Herald squares, including the use of bollards to establish pedestrian plazas and “refuge spaces,” seen clearly in this video. The resulting improvements to public safety have been dramatic.

The successes enjoyed by the NYCDOT in using pedestrian bollards are clear evidence of their effectiveness. As the world becomes ever more urbanized, the role of bollards in guarding public safety will only increase.

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