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

A. Rahmouni Comparative review of Accelerating Moving Walkway Designs
Literature survey, Report 2007.TEL.7122, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

Conventional Moving Walkways (AMWs) can be classified into two types: belt systems and pallet systems. Belt systems make use of belts made of pure rubber or rubber reinforced by fabric layer and steel wires. The belt can be supported by a steel slider plate or rollers. Pallet systems can be classified in two classes: systems that make use of pallets moving over drums and system with pallets circulating in the horizontal plane. The first class of systems can make use of pallets supported by two wheels or by four wheels, the biggest advantages of the second class over the first are: the smaller required pit depth and the possibilities to construct curved sections.

There are four types of AMWs: multi-belt systems, roller systems, sliding-pallet systems and parallelogram-pallet systems. Multi-belt systems accelerate as a result of the small speed difference between the sequencing belts. The movement of the handrail and treadway of this system is not synchronized during acceleration. Roller systems make use of rollers to accelerate. Acceleration is achieved as a result of a small speed difference between the sequencing rollers. The movement of handrail and treadway of this system is completely synchronized. Sliding-pallet systems make use of sliding pallets. Passengers are accelerated as the distance between the pallets becomes larger and decelerated as the distance becomes smaller. The movement of handrail and treadway of this system is synchronized. Parallelogram-pallet systems make use of parallelogram pallets. By guiding the pallets in curved guide rails, the pallets move in such way that a side velocity factor is created. The side velocity factor of a pallet becomes larger until the pallet enters the high-speed zone. As a result, the resultant velocity formed by the side velocity and forward velocity increases. During deceleration the opposite process takes place. The movement of the handrail and acceleration zones of this system is not synchronized.

AMWs have the capability to accelerate, hence they are able to transport people in a faster way than CMWs. However they consist of more components and are therefore much more complicated. To achieve a continuous change in speed, accelerating pallet systems make use of a folding drive chain, drive axle or chains in combination with sprockets. The drive mechanism of their handrail is also composed of a large number of components. CMWs make use of a simple drive chain, and contain a simple handrail system. Accelerating belt systems consist of multi belts installed in series. Therefore they contain more components than conventional belt systems (make use of a single belt). The level of complexity of the construction of accelerating and Conventional belt systems is nearly the same, because they contain the same type of components. The higher speed of accelerating systems does not effect the theoretical and practical capacity. Thus, conventional and accelerating systems with the same width and the same entrance speed have the same capacity.

There are several factors which encourage or discourage the implementation of an AMW. Encouraging factors are: reduction of the journey time of passengers, increase of the service level and the ability to transport people over larger walking distances. There are three discouraging factors. Firstly, safety problems can occur at the beginning of the implementation period, because people are not yet used to the system. Secondly, AMWs are expensive, mainly because they are new. In general products are expensive during the introduction stage because manufacturers want to earn back the R&D costs made and because the products are traded in smaller scales.

Third, AMWs that are used to bridge large distances could form some flexibility barriers. People who want to cross over should walk large distances around the system. Those who want to bridge shorter distances are not able to make use of them.

The system characteristics of AMWs can be determined by analyzing the properties of the construction. By assessing the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of each AMW can be made visible. The assessments made are expressed in scores between one and four. The higher the score, the more positive the assessment is. In table 1 the assessments of the characteristics of AMWs expressed in scores are summarized.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2007.03.14; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.