Vehicular access control is an essential method of controlling traffic flow, so it’s no surprise that it’s in higher demand than ever. Think about the last time you visited a shopping centre, a hospital or a retail park. Did you have to wait until the car in front had gone through the barrier? Were there bollards that blocked your car from driving or parking in certain areas? These are just two examples of modern vehicular access control.

In this post, we will be offering a full guide to vehicular access control, including: what vehicular access control actually is, the types of vehicular access control systems and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Vehicular AccessImage source: Project Manhattan, Wikimedia Commons (no changes made).


What is vehicular access control?

Many areas suffer from a rising amount of traffic that tends to congregate within one small zone, for example large retail car parks, city centres or hospitals. Despite driving laws, vehicular access control is a simple way of controlling the flow of traffic, and can effectively section off cars and drivers.

With the products produced by Portcullis, access control can be broadened to commercial or residential products. However, vehicular access control primarily tend to be used commercially, usually utilised by city councils or retail property owners.


Types of vehicular access control systems

The types of vehicular access control systems available are numerous and growing, as exciting new technology is made available to companies. Of course, there are already a variety of existing vehicular access control systems, ranging from the humble (yet effective) road blocker to sophisticated rising bollards. The three types in particular that we are going to talk about today are: commercial barriers, road blockers and bollards.

Commercial barriers

Commercial barriers

Commercial barriers provide vehicular access control for a variety of environments, from small car parks, to train crossings, to high-tech secure PSA 68 barriers. Although these barriers may look visibly similar, there are crucial differences in installation and maintenance.

Commercial barriers are an excellent method of vehicular access control. In terms of functionality, they are similar to bollards and road blockers, although more beneficial in certain areas – often these types of barriers can be seen in one-way system car parks such as retail shopping centres.

While it can be argued that these barriers are flimsier than bollards, they are also limited in functionality as they simply raise and drop. They are dynamic enough to let vehicles through one at a time, but unlike rising bollards, it’s difficult to completely move them out of the way when required.


Road blockers

Road blockers

Road blockers (also known as rising curbs) are machine-operated vehicular access control devices. There are different types of road blockers, some are surface mounted and can rise and lower, others – like a PAS 68 counter terrorism blocker – can stop a fully loaded 7500kg lorry travelling at 50 mph.

One popular type of road blocker is known as a surface mount road blocker. These blockers are the opposites of rising curb road blockers in the fact that they offer less security measures, but are cheaper. A bonus of surface mount road blockers is that they offer cost effective vehicular access control for areas such as golf club car parks, where high security is less of a concern than speed of entrance.

Also known as cheese wedges, rising curb blockers meanwhile contrast with the more affordable surface mount road blockers, as they are more expensive but offer a high level of security. As rising curb blockers can rise out of the ground, they are often used in commercial environments where vehicular access control is a top priority. These types of blockers are effective as a high security or counter terrorism measure, hence the higher price tag.

The advantage of road blockers is that you can truly customise your level of vehicular access control depending on your needs. The drawback is that the higher tech ones are costly – but we think, worth it.




Similar to road blockers, there are also multiple types of bollards, from manual bollards that are usually fixed into place, to PAS 68 tested, automatic rising bollards. Bollards are simply metal cylinders that serve as a blockade to vehicles. Bollards often appear in town centres close to pedestrian gateways or bus lanes, and they are often used in commercial environments.

The biggest benefit of bollards is their versatility – rising bollards are fantastic for vehicular access control at intervals, as they can be raised or dropped as required. This versatility makes them more dynamic than commercial barriers and surface mount road blockers.
The drawback of bollards is that to use them effectively, you need more than one in a given area. This can be more inconvenient and sometimes more costly than a simple barrier or blockade.

Whether you’re looking for low level control or maximum security measures, Portcullis can help you with your commercial barriers, road blockers or bollard requirements. Why not get in touch today?