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

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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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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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Escalators

Escalators are a form of vertical building transportation designed as a staircase that moves with the assistance of a motor-driven mechanism. Escalators are used to connect floors with an angle of rise between 30°-35°. The entire length of an escalator must also provide enough space for a lower zone of mechanical equipment along with a structural truss that averages around 3’8” (1.12 m) deep. Both ends of an escalator require structural supports and may also require intermediate supports depending on the length of the run.

Escalators cannot be used to meet building requirements for fire exits. When specifying an escalator installation, consult directly with the manufacturer for accurate sizes, capacity calculations, speeds, and structural requirements.

For the safety of users, escalators must incorporate 3’ (.91 m) handrails and preserve a minimum vertical headroom clearance of 7’6” (2.29 m). Adequate space should be provided at each loading or discharge platform of an escalator for easy queuing and waiting at peak hours—typically 7’6” (2.29 m) at the bottom and 8’ (2.44 m) at the top.

Drawing of an Escalator with dimensions showing required height clearances, lengths, and depths
Escalators are a form of vertical building transportation designed as a staircase that moves with the assistance of a motor-driven mechanism. Escalators are used to connect floors with an angle of rise between 30°-35°. The escalator must also provide space for a lower zone of mechanical equipment.

For the safety of users, escalators must incorporate 3’ (.91 m) handrails and preserve a minimum vertical headroom clearance of 7’6” (2.29 m). Adequate space should be provided at each loading or discharge platform of an escalator for easy queuing and waiting at peak hours—typically 7’6” (2.29 m) at the bottom and 8’ (2.44 m) at the top.

Drawing of an Escalator with dimensions showing required height clearances, lengths, and depths
Escalators
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Angle of Rise: 30°-35°
Height (Handrail):
3’ | .91 m
Clearance (Headroom): 7’6” | 2.29 m minimum
Landing Length (Bottom): 7’6” | 2.29 m
Landing Length (Top): 8’ | 2.44 m
Depth (Truss): 3’8” | 1.12 m

Drawings include:
Escalator side elevation, side (people)

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Paired Continuous Escalators
Drawings illustrating Paired Continuous Escalators in side, front, and plan views

Paired continuous escalator systems combine two sets of single continuous escalator systems side-by-side. Though inefficient in space planning, this system creates a consolidated and functional destination within a floorpan that allows direct access to multiple floors. Paired continuous layouts can be stacked vertically to further systematize a path of effective travel in buildings requiring productivity and access to various floors. This strategy works best in vertical offices, large department stores, and public transportation centers that can benefit from an efficient bank of escalators.

Paired continuous escalator systems combine two sets of single continuous escalator systems side-by-side. Though inefficient in space planning, this system creates a consolidated and functional destination within a floorpan that allows direct access to multiple floors.

Paired Continuous Escalators
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Direction: Parallel two-way
Circulation: Efficient, fast, direct
Uses:
Large department stores, office buildings, public transport

Drawings include:
Paired Continuous 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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