Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

M. van der Zee An introduction to accelerated escalator design
Literature survey, 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.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2005.07.07; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.