I'm sure we've all seen these devices which can "lock" and "unlock" vehicle entry and exit to an alley / road /etc.

They consist of one or several hefty steel or concrete "pillars" less than a metre high which can be lowered into the road surface.

Device to restrict access to a road.

They are strong enough that most vehicles couldn't just drive through them, at least not without substantial damage. But they let pedestrians and cyclists, perhaps even motorcycles, pass through easily.

Some like the one pictured have a place where somebody in a vehicle can use a keycard or such to gain access. Others I assume can only be opened by some remote access technology or perhaps by mechanical means.

In any case I don't know how to read up on them because all my attempts at Googling their characteristics to find a name have failed so far.

  • I remember seeing them in Barcelona about 11 years ago. And right now I'm in Batumi Georgia starting to contribute to OpenStreetMap but didn't know what to call the things let alone add them to the map! (-: May 7, 2012 at 17:24
  • I wonder if these are more common than the variety that is placed into the hole from above...
    – yoozer8
    May 7, 2012 at 23:39
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    And now, a demonstration: youtube.com/watch?v=hCSsope5vOA May 8, 2012 at 5:13

1 Answer 1


Rising bollard / retractable bollard:

Retractable or "rising" bollards can be lowered entirely below the road surface (generally using an electric or hydraulic mechanism) to enable traffic to pass, or raised to block traffic. Rising bollards are used to secure sensitive areas from attack, or to enforce traffic rules that are time related or restrict access to particular classes of traffic.

  • +1 for rising bollard. Ones which lie flat rather than disappear are called collapsible bollards -- link to pic
    – Andrew Leach
    May 7, 2012 at 17:34
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    Another, related name for them seems to be retractable traffic bollard.
    – Jonik
    May 7, 2012 at 17:52
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    I can't say for sure, but I wonder if the choice of adjectives depends on the "normal" state of the bollard. That is, if a bollard's top is usually level with the road, but only lifted on occasion (such as during a time of heightened security), that would be a "rising bollard;" whereas if it is usually in its raised state, and only lowered on occasion (say, to let an emergency vehicle pass), that would be a "retractable bollard." That's the nomenclature I'd instinctively use.
    – J.R.
    May 8, 2012 at 22:07
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    @Paola -- don't leave us in suspense! What's the Italian term? May 9, 2012 at 0:12
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    @Malvolio. We call them "dissuasori mobili", more or less "mobile deterrent", and they are just one of the many "deterrents" that are installed in our towns to try and convince people to park their vehicles properly. If you are interested in studying the subject in depth, there's an interesting page on Wikipedia (in italian... ) and these are two links to companies who can provide you with such manufacts. urbaco.com/IT-IT or gladiusnet.it/dissuasori.htm
    – Paola
    May 9, 2012 at 0:33

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