Planes, trains, automobiles… and street furniture

With tight budget restrictions and a multitude of requirements to fulfil, transport sector architects and specifiers are faced with a difficult task when choosing the right street furniture. Nigel Kightley, sales director at CIS Street Furniture, spotlights three products vital for any successful transport project.

Security, safety, quality and refinement are just a few the many aspects architects and specifiers need to consider when planning any urban project.

When applied to transport-specific schemes, balancing these demands becomes an increasingly tricky process. Planners must consider terrorism threats and public safety whilst ensuring the street furniture they’re specifying has manufacturing quality and remains aesthetically pleasing.

All these must be balanced against budget restraints, leaving architects and specifiers needing versatile products that fit all the necessary criteria without breaking the bank.

Blast containment in a bin

When considering any transport related project, the question of security becomes a primary concern. With heavy footfall and passenger volumes, the transport sector has been a historical target for terrorism which means that security should filter through to every stage of the planning process, including street furniture.

Bomb-resistant litter bins should be a key consideration in any transport project. Providing waste disposal for passengers and travellers is a basic amenity. Unfortunately bins have also provided opportunities for terrorist bombing activities which
have resulted in litter bin volume being either scaled back or completely removed – at great cost to passenger convenience.

Bomb-resistant litter bins solve the problem of amenity versus safety. Government Departments are increasingly turning to bomb-resistant bins in airports, bus terminals and train stations. Bins are designed to withstand plastic explosives projecting any blast upwards and away from the public. Of course this extra security doesn’t impact on the functionality or usability of the bins, which provide a vital facility in terms of the immediate built environment.

The right bollards

All bollards are created equal – but some are more equal than others. Faced with a vast choice of street furniture, it can often be tempting to look for the most cost-effective solution – but this doesn’t always translate after final installation. Specifying the wrong product purely based on price or preference can have serious cost effects further down the line.

Architects and specifiers need to ensure contractors are installing the right bollard for the right situation.

Bollards are a common feature in airports, train stations and bus interchanges, and are often bought in large quantities. Whether they be passive (flexible bollards) or secure (anti-ram raid bollards) it can be tempting to install a lower specification bollard to keep project costs down, but this is often a short- sighted approach. In a transport environment vehicular traffic is often concentrated and heavy, placing increased importance on the type of bollard installed.

An incorrect bollard design can lead to repeat damage at the very least –or endanger the pedestrians they’re tasked to protect at the very worst. However when installed effectively, bollards offer solid protection and access control as well as providing pleasing aesthetics to match any scheme.

Security planters – another street furniture solution

When bollards are either unsuitable or cease to be cost-effective there is a new breed of street furniture offering an alternative. Progressively, the presence of security planters is increasing in airports and stations across the UK. Security planters can be made from a wide variety of materials including cast iron, stainless steel, and concrete among others. Their considerable weight and size makes them an ideal security solution. Large planters can weigh up to four tonnes each – yet they offer a demonstrably more pleasing aesthetic security solution compared to an unsightly concrete block?

Planters can be filled with half concrete, half soil or other materials to provide a base for flowers, shrubs and trees – which can complement any visual design scheme. Signage such as finger posts and hanging baskets can also be incorporated into the planter structure to produce elegant dual-purpose street furniture. Planters can be designed to enhance existing street furniture scenes by including logos and branding that may be specific to a project or visual aesthetic.

End-to-end support

Most street furniture providers offer free consultation during the specification and design process. Architects and specifiers should use the free advice available to help make informed deci- sions about the products that best fit their particular project.

Any architect or specifier must be able to rely on firm support from specification through to post-installation.

Planners can expect experienced street furniture suppliers to provide full installation, refurbishment and maintenance services – removing the need for complicated management of subcontractors and multiple suppliers.