Turnstile or Turnstyle? Get Your Terminologies Right with This Glossary

January 28, 2020
Turnstile or Turnstyle

While we see turnstiles installed almost everywhere we go, not much is known about these security entrance gates. It’s not surprising that people often get confused when trying to understand their features and even end up misspelling the key terms.

If you’re still wondering whether it is spelled turnstile or turnstyle, you’ve come to the right place to know about these gates.

Here’s the turnstile access control glossary you need.

1. ADA Gate

A gate built in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990. These gates need to be at least 32 inches wide to allow people with physical disabilities to pass through using physical aids such as wheelchairs or walkers.

2. Barrier Arm Turnstiles

Designed to work with infrared technology in an effort to optimize and monitor the throughput of individuals entering or exiting a building. These turnstiles are equipped with arms that serve as physical deterrents, which intimidates potential trespassers while preventing unapproved passage.

3. Biometric Controls

The use of biological features, including face, retina, fingerprints, or voice, to identify and authenticate users.

4. Cabinet

A part of a turnstile that conserves the mechanism, arms, and other accessories.

5. Card Reader

An electronic sensor that reads a magnetic strip, bar code, or chip on an ID card. Card readers can be incorporated into modern turnstiles. When a card with valid credentials is scanned by a card reader, a signal is sent to the access control system, initiating the turnstile to unlock and open. Also known as a proximity card reader.

6. Crawl Detection

The practice of detecting when a person attempts to crawl over or under a waist-high turnstile. This is done with the help of infrared transmitters and receivers.

7. Crawl-Over Protection

Detecting when someone attempts to crawl over turnstile arms to gain unauthorized access. This is done with the help of infrared transmitters and receivers, which are placed above the arms of a waist-high turnstile. Also known as climb-over protection.

8. Crawl-Under Protection

Detecting when an individual attempts to crawl under turnstile arms to gain unauthorized access. This is done with the help of infrared transmitters and receivers, which are placed below the arms of a waist-high turnstile.

9. Electronic Operation

This feature refers to a locking solenoid and an electronic interface panel with modifiable time control.

10. Fail-Safe

When in the failsafe mode, a turnstile will release all locks or the barriers will draw back to enable egress during an emergency such as a fire or a power cut.

11. Fail Secure

When in the fail-secure mode, a turnstile will ensure that there is no use within the unit before locking down to maintain security in all situations. This setting may come in handy in an emergency or a power cut.

12. Flow

This refers to the number of individuals that pass through a turnstile gate in a given period of time. Also known as throughput.

13. Free Egress

This refers to exiting freely or unrestricted exit through a turnstile, gate, or other access controlling barriers. Access control systems such as turnstiles are programmed to grant “free and unobstructed egress” during an emergency by law as mentioned in OSHA 1910.35. Without free egress safeguards, there is a risk that an access control system will trap people during emergencies.

14. Locked Entry

A turnstile setting that is locked on entry into an establishment. Valid credentials are needed to enter the facility.

15. Locked Exit

A turnstile setting that locks upon exit from an establishment. Relevant credentials are needed to exit the facility.

16. Loop Arm

The D-shaped arm of a loop arm turnstile.

17. One-Way Swing

A gate that can swing in one direction only to allow either entry or exit.

18. Optical Turnstiles or Barrier-free Turnstiles

A means to monitor the passage of every individual entering and leaving a facility. These turnstiles do not present a physical barrier.

19. Optical Beams

Infrared beams that detect whether a person or object has passed through a turnstile’s lane and the direction it went in.

20. Piggybacking

The act of following someone through an open door or other restricted access points without authorization or valid credentials. Also known as tailgating.

21. Proximity Card Reader

A contactless smartcard which can be read/detected without inserting into or swiping through a reader device. 

22. Reader Integration

Integration between an identification reader and a turnstile.

23. Tripod Turnstile

A waist-high turnstile with three arms that act as physical barriers and can spin in one or both directions.

24. Turnstile

An entrance control gate that makes it possible to track and control entry into and exit from a secured area.

25. Two-Way Swing

A gate that can swing in two ways to allow entry and exit. Also known as bi-directional.

Image Credit: Flickr / pedrik