M. van der Zee
An introduction to accelerated escalator design
Report 2005.TL.6931, Transport Engineering and Logistics.
This report discusses the conventional escalator and its application and
implementation in pedestrian traffic systems. Human factors that influence
the use of escalators and their transportation performance are listed. A
brief technical analysis is made of the conventional escalator.
Escalators are an important means of vertical transportation within public
buildings, warehouses, public transport transfer facilities and airports.
Escalators by far have the highest handling capacity of all internal
passenger vertical transportation modes.
The conventional escalator consists of a moving stairway, which is powered
by a chain; a basic design that has not changed since its introduction in
1900. Escalators are being manufactured by several companies in the United
States, Japan and Europe. Important standards that apply to escalators are
ASME A17.1 and EN 115: 1998.
Escalators are used to transport people. Human factors as space
experience, walking characteristics and perception of acceleration have
much influence on the overall performance of an escalator. Accidents that
passengers on escalators have mainly consist of falls and entrapments.
Escalators mostly find their application as a part of an internal traffic
system. In order to design such a traffic system, requirements have to be
formulated, which have to be fulfilled by the design. An important aspect
is the estimation of traffic flows and the calculation of the capacity of
(vertical) transportation facilities. In practice, the capacity of an
escalator is found to be about half the theoretical capacity. Escalator
usage depends on the availability of other means of vertical transportation
and the vertical distance to be traveled.
Implementation of escalators consists of the determination of the location,
the arrangement, requirements on the surroundings and an operation scheme.
Escalators are usually located in the line of the highest expected traffic
flows. Their arrangement is used to facilitate optimum flow, to guide it
along certain routes or to aid in increasing the building's aesthetics.
A brief technical analysis shows that the basic design of the escalator
can be improved in terms of noise and wear (due to the chain), passenger
comfort and safety and journey time.
Recently, some escalator manufacturers have become increasingly interested
in accelerated escalators. Accelerated escalators are escalators that have
varying step speed along the step trajectory. With respect to a
conventional escalator, this system could provide increased comfort and
safety for the passengers; have smaller implementation dimensions and
decrease traveling time.
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