Newsletter XVIII - Recently published JRC guidelines on selecting proper security barrier solutions against vehicle ramming

A guidance document on the design, testing and installation procedures of barriers for the protection of public spaces against malicious attacks with the use of vehicles, has been published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

 In the last number of years, public spaces - such as open markets, fairs, tourist sites, pedestrian zones and city squares - have been the target of deliberate vehicle ramming attacks. Particularly high profile and deadly examples of such incidents were carried out in Nice (July 2016), Barcelona (August 2017), London (March and June 2017), Berlin (December 2016), Stockholm (April 2017), New York (May and October 2017), and Toronto (April 2018).

 Against this background, the recent JRC Technical Report addresses the shortcomings encountered in the design of such security solutions, and strives to provide a simple, self-contained practical guide enabling security officials to conduct a preliminary study of elements that are capable of stopping and / or deterring possible vehicle ramming attacks.

 The JRC guideline provides a detailed analytical procedure for risk assessment, through the identification of security weaknesses of a public space and the calculation of the parameters that influence the motion of a threat vehicle, before it enters an area to be protected. The JRC guideline also provides advice for selection of the appropriate protective barrier types (varying in performance ratings, cost, mechanism, attractiveness, permanent or temporary use), depending on the level of risk and particularities of the public space. Special attention is dedicated to the balance between the open nature of public spaces and the security measures needed. Security by design – which refers to the idea that security considerations are to be addressed from the very beginning of the planning and designing of a public space – is seen as the way to integrate security measures in the urban environment in the most efficient and aesthetical manner. 

The JRC guidelines on selecting proper security barrier solutions against vehicle ramming, is not available on-line, but are available from the JRC upon written request (by email to: Two other related recent publications by the JRC - one providing a review of available information sources focusing on the protection of public spaces against terrorist and other types of malicious extremist attacks, and the other presenting a review of vehicle barrier protection guidance - can be downloaded at the two web-links shown below.


Martin Larcher and Artur Pinto
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)

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