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

J.R.H. Seisener Accellerating moving walkways for inter-terminal use in airports
Literature survey, Report 2008.TEL.7253, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

The transport of passengers in airports is an ever growing concern because of the growth of airports. Different passenger transport systems are available for the transport of passengers, like the conventional moving walkway, apron bus, light rail, automated people mover, personal rapid transit or accelerating moving walkway. An accelerating moving walkway is a passenger conveyor, which has the same entrance and exit speed as a conventional moving walkway, but a higher speed in the middle. Passengers are accelerated by an accelerating mechanism.

Four types of accelerating systems are currently available.
The first one is built up by subsequent belts. The speed of the belts increases, the longer passengers are in the system. The speed of the different belts increases until the passenger arrives at the middle belt, which has a continuous high speed. At the end, deceleration is generated by belts of which the speed decreases. The smaller the distance to the exit is, the lower the belt speed. The final belt has the same speed as a conventional moving walkway.
The second AMW uses plates that cover each other. For acceleration, the plates slide from each other. At the middle part, no plates cover each other and the highest continuous speed is reached. For deceleration at the end of the system, the plates slide again into each other. Hence, the speed decreases again to reach the end speed, which is the same as the entrance speed.
The third system has the same principle as the first accelerating system, but the belts for acceleration and deceleration are replaced by rollers. The middle belt has the highest constant speed.
The last system is based on sliding parallelograms. Passengers step on a parallelogram pallet with a speed, which is then accelerated moving through a curve. As soon as the curve is reached, the pallets will slide parallel to each other and a speed towards the side is generated. This sideway speed combined with the forward speed is the total speed. The total speed increases, when the speed towards the side increases.

A comparison between the different transport systems is necessary for the evaluation of the best transport system for a specific application. The various characteristics for this evaluation are divided in two different groups: the primary characteristics, which determine whether a passenger transport system can be implemented, and the secondary characteristics, which are not necessary, but are desired by passengers and airport authorities. The primary characteristics are, among other things, the technical ones such as capacity, speed, acceleration and deceleration, the maximum distance the transport system can cover, necessary time, which is divided into travel time and waiting time (in case of discontinuous transport systems), the costs of the passenger transport system and the safety of the transport system. The secondary characteristics, which are preferred for a transport system are low system malfunction, high reliability and environmental impacts. Also important for the application of the transport system are route type and weather conditions.

Airports all over the world use different transport systems to move passengers. However the most common system is the automated people mover, often combined with conventional moving walkways. Due to the growth of airports, innovation of passenger transport systems remains essential. The AMW can be a direct competitor to the ARM, based on transport distance, capacity and costs. A study in the past already mentioned the great potential of the AMW. However at that time no AMW was commercially available.

If the distance a passenger has to cover is below the 200 m, implementation of a CMW is the best solution. If the distance the transport system has to cover is over 3000 m, other transport systems like light rail, train or bus may be more advantageous. Between the 200 m and 3000 m, the AMW is a good alternative to the ARM. The relatively low costs and the continuous character of the system makes it competitive for inter-terminal transport. Due to the continuous character, the capacity is relatively high. The secondary characteristics make the AMW even more competitive. Currently for passengers no possibilities are available to make intermediate stops. For inter-terminal transport this will cause no problem. However, if intermediate stops are commercially applied, AMWs can be competitive for intra-terminal transport systems as well.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2008.05.12; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.