Walking on an escalator - Is it faster?

Jamie McKane

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Walking on an escalator - Is it faster?

Love them or hate them, traffic laws exist to keep people safe and to help vehicles flow smoothly. And while they aren’t legally enforceable, pedestrian traffic also tends to follow its own set of unwritten rules.

Most pedestrians use walking etiquette as a way to minimize discomfort – “Oops! Sorry to bump you!” – and to improve efficiency – “I want to get there faster!”

[The Conversation]
 

Eric

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OMW this is a brilliant article.

"Walking on an escalator – Is it faster?
By Lesley Strawderman – Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Mississippi State University "

Is that what the scientific community of the 21st century occupy themselves with? :laugh:

Without even thinking about it, you probably abide by the common pedestrian traffic rule that faster walkers should move to the inside of a path while slower walkers gravitate to the outside.
Shem, we should start a crowdfund to get her to SA.

This approach to passing leads to the formation of pedestrian lanes of traffic. While they’re not painted on sidewalks like they are on roadways
They are? :unsure:

Riders will use the right half of the step if they are standing and the left half if they’re walking (or running!) to reach the end of the escalator.
Not if you're from this region... Cue Trevor Noah.... ESCALATOR! ESCALAAAATOR!

"Someone standing needs, on average, a little over three square feet (0.3m²) of space, whereas a walking pedestrian needs more than eight square feet (0.75m²). "
Except in SA again - where standers put their suitcase next to them, giving walkers a little over 0.03m² of space.

"In London, planners reaped a 27 percent increase in the hourly capacity by switching to a “standing only” policy on a typically congested escalator at a subway station. No walking was allowed on the crammed escalator, which allowed more people to move through the station in the same amount of time as before. "
That's incredible! You mean to tell me escalators are more appealing to people if nobody is walking on them? Wow!

"Stand on both sides of the escalator. The others will follow. Counterintuitive as it may seem, this one change will help everyone get to the destination faster, especially only when things are crowded. "
FTFY. And let's be honest, who cares about making the escalator more efficient when you need to be somewhere quicker than the escalator can take you standing? My one major flaw when using train systems is that sense of mild panic you have when you hear your train approaching while you're still trying to get down the stairs to the platform... despite knowing that another 10 minutes or so for the next train is not actually a long time to wait.


In SA, if you are impatient and want to get there sooner, you don't take the escalator, you take the stairs! As seen at OR Tambo every time I travel... then there's those travelators...

 
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Arthur

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Interesting. Thanks.

Unless too crowded, I walk/climb on escalators, or take the stairs, which I climb two or three at a time.
 

quovadis

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The writer has obviously never been in rush hour in any 1st world city. If you block the left heaven help you especially with subway entrance/exits where they’re literally at 50 degrees for 50m
 

Eric

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The writer has obviously never been in rush hour in any 1st world city. If you block the left heaven help you especially with subway entrance/exits where they’re literally at 50 degrees for 50m
Hmm... not sure I follow your logic. Seems to me they have done their homework.
 

Agent_Smith

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Walk on an escalator - Wasn't that an Aerosmith song? Oh wait, it was Love in an elevator. Nevermind...
 

saor

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Title once again hardly relevant to the article.
The writer has obviously never been in rush hour in any 1st world city. If you block the left heaven help you especially with subway entrance/exits where they’re literally at 50 degrees for 50m
There's also signs asking you to stand either left or right. So yeah - if you want to incur the wrath of a city at 5pm - stand on the wrong side.
 

saor

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Hmm... not sure I follow your logic. Seems to me they have done their homework.
What works and what's dictated are two different things. From the article:
Stand on both sides of the escalator.
Go try that in London on the Underground...
 

Eric

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What works and what's dictated are two different things. From the article:
Go try that in London...
Yeah, I doubt they were being serious asking you to block the escalator contrary to policy, however you may have missed:

In London, planners reaped a 27 percent increase in the hourly capacity by switching to a “standing only” policy on a typically congested escalator at a subway station. No walking was allowed on the crammed escalator, which allowed more people to move through the station in the same amount of time as before.
You would be the prize prawn if you told people to get out of your way when the policy was no walking.
 

quovadis

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Yeah, I doubt they were being serious asking you to block the escalator contrary to policy, however you may have missed:

You would be the prize prawn if you told people to get out of your way when the policy was no walking.
Yeah and that study in London related to 60ft or longer escalators.
 

quovadis

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I still don't get how that equates to them not having experienced rush hour in a busy city.
When you’ve been on an underground where people literally throw themselves at closing doors of passenger cars losing shoes and bags, the enforcement of a stand only policy will always result in people yelling “stand left/right coming through...”
 

Eric

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When you’ve been on an underground where people literally throw themselves at closing doors of passenger cars losing shoes and bags, the enforcement of a stand only policy will always result in people yelling “stand left/right coming through...”
Apparently it didn't in London as per the article. Which city did you experience this in?
 

quovadis

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Apparently it didn't in London as per the article. Which city did you experience this in?
London, Rome, Washington DC, Paris - seen it all and I’ve actually never seen an escalator with a stand only policy as yet. The problem comes when there’s a train every 7 or 8 minutes and it’s about to depart - people fly down escalators. In DC i couldn’t believe the speed at which people pass others especially at how steep they are.
 

Eric

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London, Rome, Washington DC, Paris - seen it all and I’ve actually never seen an escalator with a stand only policy as yet.
So how can you berate her for never having experienced an escalator in rush hour in a 1st world city while you admit you've never been on an escalator with a stand only policy?

The problem comes when there’s a train every 7 or 8 minutes and it’s about to depart - people fly down escalators. In DC i couldn’t believe the speed at which people pass others especially at how steep they are.
London has some pretty steep and long escalators. Angel station is over 60m. There are two marginally longer ones in DC. Wheaton and Bethesda.

 

quovadis

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So how can you berate her for never having experienced an escalator in rush hour in a 1st world city while you admit you've never been on an escalator with a stand only policy?

London has some pretty steep and long escalators. Angel station is over 60m

Wheaton Station comes to mind which is 70m or so at a very steep pitch. And I never berated - was just stating a point that if you didn’t follow the etiquette or block both sides you would most likely not enjoy the outcome especially at rush hour.
 

Eric

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Wheaton Station comes to mind which is 70m or so at a very steep pitch. And I never berated - was just stating a point that if you didn’t follow the etiquette or block both sides you would most likely not enjoy the outcome especially at rush hour.
Only if the policy was to give way to walkers. If they changed the policy, they would make it known and commuters would become familiar with it and changed their habits. I think this exercise is actually about advocating for change in the name of efficiency during rush hour.
I don't know that I agree with the outcome but I can't argue in the absence of information.
 
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