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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Escalator & Moving Walkway Widths

The widths of escalators and moving walkways can be adjusted to meet various demands of pedestrian traffic, use, travel speed, and distance.

When calibrating the appropriate width of an escalator or moving walkway, three standard design widths for use are 24”, 32”, 40” (61, 82, 102 cm). 24” (61 cm) widths are suitable for only one person at a time and are best used when traffic is limited or space is a concern. 32” (82 cm) wide designs offers more flexibility for the users and allow enough space for a second person to pass by. 40” (102 cm) widths provide space for two people and also are wide enough for two lanes of traffic.

Illustration of escalator widths of various dimensioned sizes with people for scale
The widths of escalators and moving walkways can be adjusted to meet various demands of pedestrian traffic, use, travel speed, and distance.

When calibrating the appropriate width of an escalator or moving walkway, three standard design widths for use are 24”, 32”, 40” (61, 82, 102 cm). 24” (61 cm) widths are suitable for only one person at a time and are best used when traffic is limited or space is a concern. 32” (82 cm) wide designs offers more flexibility for the users and allow enough space for a second person to pass by. 40” (102 cm) widths provide space for two people and also are wide enough for two lanes of traffic.

Illustration of escalator widths of various dimensioned sizes with people for scale
Escalator & Moving Walkway Widths
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Width (Stairs/Walkway): 24”, 32”, 40” | 61, 82, 102 cm
Width (Deck): 4’, 4’8”, 5’4” | 122, 142, 163 cm
Width (General): 32”, 40”, 48” | 82, 102, 122 cm
Height (Escalator Deck): 3’8” | 112 cm
Height (Walkway Deck): 3’6” | 107 cm

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Escalator widths sections, moving walkway widths sections

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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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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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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
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

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
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

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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