SAFER Barrier construction

January 05, 2015,

How the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction Barrier helps improve safety

Commonly referred to as a "soft wall," the SAFER Barrier absorbs kinetic energy when a race car makes contact with the wall, which helps prevent injuries to the driver.

A team of engineers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln helped conceptualize the project, which consists of sections of steel tubing backed by foam blocks that are installed 30 inches in front of race tracks' traditional cement walls.

The SAFER Barrier debuted in 2002 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


The SAFER Barrier extends 30" from the old wall (may vary from track to track).


40" (may vary from track to track)

Steel Tubes

Constructed of 3/16" thick steel. Each tube is 28' long and 8"x8" in diameter. 


Each SAFER Barrier section consists of five tubes stacked vertically. Some sections are shorter at the end of the turns.

Closed Cell Foam

2" x 22" x 40" sheets are stacked and bound to create 30" x 40" energy-absorbing pylons (may vary from track to track).