Mobile Barriers MBT-1®
Background & Specifications

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Mobile Barriers MBT-1® Specs

Mobile Barriers MBT-1®
"Improving safety, efficiency and traffic flows in and around work zones"

Mobile Barriers MBT-1® is tested, accepted and Federal-aid eligible for speed appropriate use on the National Highway System (NHS). It was originally conceived following a tragic incident in which two Colorado maintenance workers were killed by a wrong-way driver in June 2004. It underwent 4 years of development and refinement working with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) before being first deployed in Colorado in June 2008. After further in service testing and evaluation, it was formally introduced in San Jose the following year where it received the American Traffic Safety Services Association’s (ATSSA’s) Innovation of the Year Award for 2009. It has since gone on to receive increasing accolades for improving safety, efficiency and traffic flows in and around work zones, including additional national and international awards from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and the International Road Federation (IRF).

Mobile Barriers MBT-1® provides 42-102’ (12-31 m) of highly mobile positive barrier protection with minimal deflection. The MBT-1® essentially functions as an integrated barrier, utility vehicle, and flatbed trailer all in one. It can be used with any standard semi-tractor with 60” (1.5 m) of swing clearance and pulls fully set up at speed from site to site. It can be easily reconfigured to the right or left depending on the end to which the tractor is attached (see Reconfiguration video), and can be ordered with integral power, lights, signage, TMA and other features. It has lockable and on-deck storage at both ends.

For crews, the barrier protects against work zone incursions (front, back and side), reduces the number of vehicles and equipment otherwise needed on site (reducing clutter and congestion in the work zone), and improves lighting and ambient conditions (reducing fatigue and improving the general ability to focus on the work at hand). Each of these areas has been shown in applicable research to be significant contributors to fatalities and injuries within work zones.

For passing traffic, the barrier can help reduce the number and duration of lane closures (reducing the amount of disruption and congestion), improve physical and visual separation between passing traffic and workers (reducing distraction), and reduce upstream/downstream glare (allowing aging eyes to pass with less adjustment and strain).

Mobile Barriers MBT-1® is the first and only such highly mobile barrier to be tested and accepted/Federal-aid eligible for speed appropriate TL-2 and TL-3 use on the NHS, under both NCHRP 350 and MASH. In 2012, it was hit by 2 semi-trucks with nominal damage (click here for information and pictures).

With life cycle costs of $15,000/yr or less, the MBT-1® can pay for itself with nominal usage, and in less than 2 years with 10-15 lane closures per month, while significantly improving safety, efficiency and traffic flows in and around work zones.  Federal assistance may be available to help cover rental or up-front purchase costs.

Mobile Barriers MBT-1® has been presented and highlighted at numerous national and international conferences and meetings, as well as in various articles and television news stories (NBC-Denver 2008, CW-DFW 2009, NBC-DFW 2010) See “Highlights” and “Recent News” on the home page.

Colorado: The Colorado Department of Transportation now has three MBT-1®.  A study in Colorado (Hallowell et al. 2009) investigated the potential effectiveness of the MBT-1® in work zones. The study noted various attributes including significant advantages in the MBT-1®’s lighting schemes, programmable message board and radar, higher 5’ walls, increased overall mass, higher TL-3 crash-testing, and the overall simplicity and mobility (no on-road deployment required – workers can pull into place and immediately go to work). Since work zone power, signage and work area lighting systems are integrated with the MBT-1®, the systems are always in optimal location relative to the work activity.

Texas: There are eleven (11) MBT-1® operating in Texas. North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) acquired one of the first MBT-1®, now has four (4) operating on its roadways (two under direct ownership and two under contract). NTTA and its contractors use the barriers heavily and have reported positive experiences in various articles and a Transportation Research Board (TRB) presentation Bloschock 2010, Pickard 2009 and NTTA 2011 report that maintenance staff quickly experienced its ease of use and protection, and use them daily. As TxDOT's Executive Deputy Director said, "There's no better way to reduce work zone accidents and improve conditions for everyone than to safely complete the work as quickly as possible and reopen the roadway to normal traffic flow."

Ontario, Canada: There are now seven (7) MBT-1® operating in Canada (with at times more as needed). There have typically been three to six (3-6) MBT-1® in Ontario, Canada where they are used extensively. The Ministry of Transportation has found them to be saving both time and money (Graham, et. al. 2011 and  Buchanan & Phillips 2011– article and audio interviews available under Pics & Info). Additional MBT-1® are also being moved and used throughout other parts of Eastern and Western Canada. Mobile Barriers MBT-1® was honored to be featured in the opening plenary section of the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC).

NY & NJ: There are three MBT-1® in NY and NJ.  In their report on NJDOT’s MBT-1®, Kamga & Washington 2009 found that the MBT-1®’s functional requirements were state-of-the-art for work zone positive protection against lateral intrusions by vehicles. The authors stated the MBT-1® far exceeded expectations to protect workers from bodily injuries caused by errant vehicles and also protected drivers from possible injuries with its TMA and unique ability to rock slightly on its suspension while turning and redirecting crash energy.  They noted the barrier’s mobility both to the site and on the site was another attractive feature when considering the implementation of this barrier on a given road construction project, due to decreased setup time compared to more traditional traffic control devices.

Barbaccia 2011 (w/ Better Roads Magazine) interviewed MBT-1® users in various states who accredited it with helping minimize traffic disruption and maximizing worker safety in short-duration, rapid-work zones, while at the same time increasing efficiency and productivity.

There is now an MBT-1® located just outside of Washington DC just a few miles down from the Pentagon at the I-395/I-495 intersection. Mobile Barriers MBT-1® can now be seen near a number of major airports: Denver, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, El Paso, Amarillo, DC (Reagan or Dulles), NY (JFK or LaGuardia), Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix, Miami, Charlotte, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto. Contact us to see one.

MBT-1 Overview

MBT-1® Basic Configuration
(62’ w/ 1 wall section)

Common Options

Special military, security & defense options.

Mobile Barriers MBT-1® Specs