Escalators, or moving staircases, are continuously circulating motorized stairways that move people between floors of a building. Often used in conjunction with elevators, or in situations where elevators would be impractical, escalators provide a convenient, efficient, and comfortable means of travel for people needing to ascend or descend through limited sets of building levels—with five or six floors being a functional limit.

Unlike elevators, escalators require no waiting time for use as they continue to move at a constant speed. If an escalator breaks down, loses power, or ceases to function, the escalator can still be used as a normal staircase in most scenarios. Escalators are often used in retail stores, shopping malls, airports, transit centers, convention centers, arenas and stadiums, hotels, public buildings, and can also be detailed with weatherproofing for outdoor use.

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Escalators Guides
Browse through our curated Escalators Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Escalators. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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Moving Walkways

Moving walkways, or moving sidewalks, conveyors or travelators, are motorized continuously moving horizontal or low-inclined surfaces that transport people over short to medium distances. Easy to use by either standing or walking, moving walkways are commonly used in airports, public transportation stations, densely populated cities, museums, zoos, theme parks, retail stores, theater sets, and ski resorts.

Moving walkways can be designed for various customizable lengths depending on use. Handrails of 3’ (.91 m) must be maintained throughout the entire length of the walkway. For structural support, a supporting truss with a depth of 3’6” (1.07 m) must also span the length of the moving walkway.

Side elevation drawing of a Moving Walkway with dimensions and people for scale
Moving walkways, or moving sidewalks, conveyors or travelators, are motorized continuously moving horizontal or low-inclined surfaces that transport people over short to medium distances. Easy to use by either standing or walking, moving walkways are commonly used spaces for human commuting.

Moving walkways can be designed for various customizable lengths depending on use. Handrails of 3’ (.91 m) must be maintained throughout the entire length of the walkway. For structural support, a supporting truss with a depth of 3’6” (1.07 m) must also span the length of the moving walkway.

Side elevation drawing of a Moving Walkway with dimensions and people for scale
Moving Walkways
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Length: Customizable as desired
Height (Handrail):
3’ | .91 m
Depth (Truss):
3’6” | 1.07 m

Drawings include:
Moving Walkways side elevation

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Single Continuous Escalators
Elevation drawings of the side, front, and plan of a Single Continuous Escalator configuration between three levels

Single continuous escalators provide connections to subsequent building levels by connecting them directing with one-way circulation. Unlike discontinuous layouts, continuous designs provide users with quick and efficient vertical circulation between multiple levels. Though single continuous escalators only provide movement in one vertical direction, they can be combined with parallel continuous systems in either a paired continuous or crossing layouts. Single continuous escalators should be used in retail and commercial spaces where speed and efficiency are important for operation.

Single continuous escalators provide connections to subsequent building levels by connecting them directing with one-way circulation. Unlike discontinuous layouts, continuous designs provide users with quick and efficient vertical circulation between multiple levels.

Single Continuous Escalators
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Direction: One-way, single vertical direction
Circulation: Efficient, fast, direct
Uses:
Small department stores, commercial retail

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Single Discontinuous Escalators
Collection of drawings of the front, side, and plan of Single Discontinuous Escalators

Single discontinuous escalators are stacked escalators that connect levels in a single direction. This strategy works best when space is limited, but the one-way traffic is not efficient for people who want to travel quickly between levels. Single discontinuous escalators are generally used in small department stores and retail centers where the non-continuous arrangement encourages customers to slow down and explore more of the store. This discontinuous strategy can also be used with paired escalators.

Single discontinuous escalators are stacked escalators that connect levels in a single direction. This strategy works best when space is limited, but the one-way traffic is not efficient for people who want to travel quickly between levels.

Single Discontinuous Escalators
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Direction: Single, one-way
Circulation: Slow, indirect
Uses:
Small department stores, retail centers

Drawings include:
Single Discontinuous Escalators side elevation, front, plan

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Single Crossing Escalators
Drawings of Single Crossing Escalators showing their arrangements from the side, front, and plan views

Crossing escalator arrangements provide the most efficient and continuous movement of people by separating each direction of travel into an individual uninterrupted path. Alternating directions in systematic structural stacks, crisscrossing escalators should be considered when space planning and productivity are critical design objectives. The crossing escalator is most effective when servicing building programs that require fast travel between levels such as moving employees in large department stores, between floors of an office building, and for time sensitive public transportation centers.

Crossing escalator arrangements provide the most efficient and continuous movement of people by separating each direction of travel into an individual uninterrupted path. Crisscrossing escalators should be considered when space planning and productivity are critical design objectives.

Single Crossing Escalators
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Direction: Crossing two-way
Circulation: Efficient, fast, direct
Uses:
Large department stores, office buildings, public transport

Drawings include:
Single Crossing Escalators side elevation, front, plan

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Paired Discontinuous Escalators
Collection of drawings illustrating the front, side, and plan of a Paired Discontinuous set of Escalators

Paired discontinuous escalators are stacked parallel banks of escalators that connect levels in both directions. Like single discontinuous escalators, but with a second adjacent escalator traveling in the opposite direction, this strategy is not efficient for people looking to travel quickly between levels as the circulation requires the user to travel to the opposite landing to continue moving vertically. Paired discontinuous escalators are generally used in small department stores and retail centers where the arrangement requires that customers spend more time inside the retail space.

Paired discontinuous escalators are stacked parallel escalators that connect levels in both directions. Like single discontinuous escalators but with an adjacent escalator traveling in the opposite direction, this strategy is not efficient for people looking to travel quickly between levels.

Paired Discontinuous Escalators
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Direction: Parallel two-way
Circulation: Slow, indirect
Uses:
Small department stores, retail centers, public transport

Drawings include:
Paired Discontinuous Escalators side elevation, front, plan

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