Traffic Control Devices for Parking Lots

Cars in a crowded parking lot


Parking lots may seem safe because cars drive slowly, as compared to big roads. However, it is for that reason that they present a specific danger. In areas such as schools, college campuses, work facilities, and more, there is high pedestrian traffic. Students, workers, and children may be walking around and cutting across roads. As many as 100 school children are injured in accidents that occur on school grounds per year. Better use of signs can help prevent these injuries and keep pedestrians safe.

In addition, these areas can become easily congested. Drivers are often unfamiliar with the terrain and do not understand the routes they should be taking.

Signage is important to manage the circulation and flow of parking lot traffic. Slow speed limits help, but alone may be insufficient. With pedestrians and children interrupting the flow, a lack of traffic control can result in increased traffic at best, and dangerous accidents at worst. Parking lot traffic control is important to optimize efficiency and safety.


Traffic control devices are regulated when used on public roads. When used on private property, however, the sign designs and markings must follow the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The MUTCD controls only the sign design, not how it is to be used. Many of the same principles of traffic control on public roads apply to private roads.

The main difference between a street and a parking lot is the size. Generally, cars go faster on streets due to the larger distance on the road. When looking to estimate how fast cars will go in a parking lot, the number of parking spaces often is a strong indicator. The more parking spaces, the faster cars will go, in general.

Traffic Control Devices

Traffic control devices direct, guide, and inform drivers by offering visual or tactile indicators. These help drivers to take appropriate routes, drive at safe speeds, prepare for obstacles ahead, and see the road better.

Speed Bumps

Speed bumps are useful tools to reduce the speed of traffic. By giving drivers no option but to travel over the bump, they are effective at lowering speed down to 2-5 miles per hour. They are designed for areas where cars should already be driving slow, such as parking lots. Some are built into the concrete, while others are plastic or rubber bumps that are installed on top of the road.


A Bollard is a sturdy, short, vertical post that acts as a visual and physical guide to direct vehicle traffic. They are generally made out of metal, stone, cement, and plastic, making them immobile if cars were to run into them. Bollards were originally used in the shipping industry, but now are common on roads. You may notice bollards in front of storefronts, blocking pedestrian-only paths, and parking lots.

Most bollards are yellow. A bollard can be painted, but there are also bollard covers that are more convenient for quick changes to the coloring. The color is important because a driver can use bollards as a visual guide for where they should or should not go.

Traffic Cones

Traffic cones are essential for traffic control. They are designed for maximum durability, visibility, and traction. Unlike bollards, traffic cones are mobile. This makes them less equipped for permanent pathways, as they can be kicked aside or stolen. However, they are very useful for traffic control that is temporary and requires flexibility.

This full selection of traffic cones is all a fluorescent orange color, which provides high visibility protection and resists fading. It is all in one piece, so the cone will not separate from the black base if it falls over. This high-quality product is sturdy and will not fall over in the wind.

Traffic cones on a busy street

For a smaller option, the 18” traffic cone has all the same benefits as other cones with a smaller height, and comes at $10 per cone. For a larger option, you can choose between the 28” traffic cone that is 7lbs at $18 per cone, or the slightly heavier 28” traffic cone that is 10lbs at $21 per cone.

If you need an entire set of cones, it may be worth purchasing the Dicke Safety Product Collapsable Cone Kit. At just $184.50, you will receive five 28” cones with a storage bag to hold them all. The total weight is about 40lbs.

Warning Sign and Barricades

Barricades and Warning Signs are useful tools to alert exactly where vehicles should avoid. Oftentimes, they are used to communicate road damage or a construction site. Baseline offers the highest quality products because the plastic material will protect the barricades from deteriorating. You can expect your product will never rust, need painting, or need leg straightening.

You can select between a Traffic Drum, a Barricade Board, and a Watchtower Delineator as viable options for this purpose.

Traffic Paddles and Flags

Traffic paddles and flags help road crew workers attempt to direct traffic. Furthermore, they can be used in parking lots or small roads that do not demand a permanent sign. In general, they have been found to be most useful in large parking lots, with upwards of 1,000 parking spaces.

Stop/slow octagonal paddles are used as temporary signs to inform people to stop or drive slow. They come with an orange staff to hold in the air, non-reflective material, and are both durable and easy to use. You can choose between the 18” paddle at $28 per paddle or the 24” paddle at $35.25. This jumps to $51.75 if you choose English-grade reflective material.

Traffic control worker with slow sign

For those that need to hold their paddle higher up, the Orange ABS Staff Extension adds an additional five feet of length and costs $16.50. Furthermore, you can buy a Traffic Flag that will cost between $4.50 and $6.00, depending on the size of the flag, and the staff.

You may need other signage besides stop/slow signs. A large array of Roll-Up Signs and Bases is available. Ordering from Baseline will ensure these signs meet MUTCD requirements. Search through the vast options to find which works best for your needs.

Other Items

Several other items that have not yet been mentioned may be helpful depending on your circumstances. While directing traffic during the day, vehicles can easily see everything on the road. However, at night, vehicle lighting is helpful to inform drivers where they are going. If there is a parked vehicle, such as a construction truck, a snowplow, or a tow truck that is in the area, then it is advised to search through the selection of LED lights, strobe beacons, and amber light bars.

In a similar vein, safety vests and apparels ensure visibility for flaggers, road crews, and all outdoor workers. These are helpful at all times of day, but most necessary at night, when vehicles can not see the road as well.


For those with parking lots, there is a responsibility to ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers. This may seem like a place that is not dangerous due to the slow speed of cars, but the high number of pedestrians means that accidents are fairly common. Parking lot traffic control can be managed with the right tools, personnel, and strategic decision-making to prevent traffic backup and dangerous accidents

Gather the right materials to control traffic and safety in parking lots.