How Does A Car Park Barrier Work?

How Does A Car Park Barrier Work?

Published on : February 15, 2022

How does a car park barrier work?

  1. Detection
  2. Human Intervention
  3. Movement

Car park barriers are access control devices designed to provide or restrict access for vehicles. As per the name, these barriers are mainly used for car parks in buildings, establishments, malls, or any facility with a parking space. People who are unfamiliar with these devices, usually beginner drivers, sometimes get confused about what to do with them. Others just want to know what’s going on behind the scenes. So how does a car park barrier work?

In this article, we’ll talk about the barriers, how they work, and parking access control in general. This will give you a better understanding of what happens when you try to enter a parking space with car park barriers. Read on to learn more.

Types of Car Park Barriers

Types of Car Park Barriers

Car park barriers can be categorized into two main types: manual and automatic.

Manual car park barriers don’t need to have a control station or power supply. These are simple barriers that you use if you don’t need special access control over your parking space. It has a simple padlock system that lets you lock into open and closed positions, depending on whether the parking lot is currently operating or is closed.

On the other hand, automatic car park barriers offer more specialized access control and provide better protection as well. These barriers have more intelligent software or systems that help them function better. They use keypads, intercoms, encoders, or even car detection or plate recognition to provide access. Automatic barriers let you decide which specific vehicles can have access, unlike manual barriers where they’re either closed or open at all times.

If you want to properly secure your parking space and only let select vehicles in, then the automatic car park barrier should be what you’re looking for.

How A Car Park Barrier Works

How A Car Park Barrier Works

With only a simple padlock system and no extra parts, a manual car park barrier is easy to understand. You just lock it open or closed. An automatic car park barrier, however, is more complicated than that. That’s why we’ll focus on automatic barriers and how they work here.

In general, car park barriers consist of a boom, a control unit, and a motor. The boom is the barrier that prevents vehicles from passing, the control unit is the main command center of the barrier, and the motor uses a power source to keep everything running. The other processes of a car park barrier are:


No matter the type of automatic car park barrier you have, the first step is always detection. The barrier would have to know when a vehicle is approaching or it will not have enough time to react. Some automatic barriers use ultrasonic sensors and other detectors to see an approaching vehicle. There are even plate number recognition systems that use cameras to detect vehicles as well. The same sensors are used to let the vehicle pass safely and keep the barrier from closing while the vehicle is still under it.

Human Intervention

Other automatic car park barriers still need some kind of human intervention. Someone can be manning the control unit and pressing a button or typing a code to open or close the barrier. This is commonly seen in car parks that require payment or registration to enter.

It is also possible to install an intercom system that contacts the authorized personnel remotely. This could mean that the system will notify the staff on their mobile, and no matter where they are, they can grant access to the vehicle.


When detection or human intervention has happened, only then will the barrier start moving. As the vehicle passes, the boom will stay open as detected by the sensors. Some barriers have the bounce feature where if a closing barrier suddenly detects a body, it will immediately “bounce” back up and open again. This prevents unwanted injuries or damages.

Other barriers, like the SNAP 4 Barrier, have a master/slave function that lets you control two barriers in unison. This is ideal for car parks or premises with multiple layers of security. It also has an electronic slow down feature, for smoother movement, and is compatible with solar power.

Key Takeaway

To answer your question how does a car park barrier work, it keeps out unwanted vehicles and lets authorized vehicles in. If you’re unsure of what to do, simply approach the barrier and ask the person there if it’s manned. If not, it will either automatically open for you or you should look for other machines where you need to pay or interface with, to enter.

If you have a parking space or other premises where you want to limit vehicle traffic, then we can help! At ELID, we produce state-of-the-art products such as car park management systems and access control systems. Security measures, access control, lift management — we have it all. Learn more about our products here, and contact us if you’re interested!