Crash test approved, Australian road barriers using recycled tyres are safer

Crash test approved, Australian road barriers using recycled tyres are safer

    By Emma Lucey  December 22nd, 2022

    Earlier this year, a full-scale crash test was performed on the next generation of road safety barriers constructed using rubber crumb from Australia’s used tyres. The results found rubberised concrete barriers could save lives by decreasing the severity of high impact accidents and promote Australia’s circular economy for tyres.


    The new Rubber T-Lok concrete road barriers have been developed by University of Melbourne and Saferoads with funding from Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA). Tyre Stewardship Australia implements Australia’s Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme which aims to drive sustainable outcomes for Australia’s used tyres. Choosing a TSA accredited tyre retailer, mechanic, or dealership will ensure your old tyres are collected and processed by an accredited recycler who is committed to recovering valuable resources. Your old tyres are recycled into new products like sports matting, playgrounds, roads, or in this case road safety barriers.  

    The concrete barrier crash test involved pulling a Chevrolet ute into the barriers at 100km/hr to simulate a high impact accident. It found the new barriers have enhanced safety benefits with a 10% higher total energy absorption compared to traditional concrete road barriers.  

    “This full-scale test is a tangible success for our project to invent sustainable uses for waste tyres” says University of Melbourne Research Director, Professor Tuan Ngo. 

    “Road users are the winners here. The test showed designed rubberised concrete road barriers will help reduce the force of impact thereby reducing the likelihood of injury and death, as well as being less damaging to the barrier itself.” 

    Tyre Stewardship Australia have already invested $8 million in 56 research and development projects to expand the market for recycled rubber from Australian used tyres. Exploring new markets and products provides manufacturers more opportunities to use recycled content in their products, in turn enabling Australia to recover larger quantities of our used tyres. The scheme aims to recover the 140,000 tonnes of used tyres generated each year in Australia so they don’t go to landfill, get dumped or stockpiled.    

    “This is yet another example of Australian ingenuity and innovation at its best, and we’re very proud to have supported a new home-grown product go from the lab to the real world,” says TSA CEO Lina Goodman. 

    “The next step for us now is to support the team from the University of Melbourne and Saferoads, in calling on regulators to expand infrastructure specifications to include this new product.” 

    When changing your old tyres, finding a responsible retailer and contributing brands is actually very easy thanks to Tyre Stewardship Australia. Search TSA’s My Tyres My Choice directory for a location near you. The businesses listed in the directory are adhering to the sustainability guidelines for the management of tyres at their end of life set by the national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme and contribute to the ongoing success of the tyre recycling program. 

    To find out more about Australia’s circular economy for tyres visit Tyre Stewardship Australia 


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    Emma Lucey

    Emma brings experience in digital media and communications with a background in several industries such as tourism and hospitality. Prior to joining Planet Ark in 2022, Emma spent 5 years living abroad in London & Amsterdam where she developed a greater interest in the environment and sustainability. Outside of work Emma enjoys gardening, camping and crocheting.

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