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.

When was the escalator invented?

The first patent for an escalator was filed by Nathan Ames in 1859, but it was not a practical design and was not developed further. The first working escalator was invented by Jesse W. Reno in 1892 and was patented in 1892. The first commercial installation of an escalator was in a department store in New York City in 1896 by the Otis Elevator Company.

How does an escalator work?

An escalator works by using a motor to power a series of interconnected steps that move along a track. The steps are flat and move on a slant, creating the illusion of climbing stairs. The steps move in an endless loop and are guided by a system of tracks and pulleys.

How have escalators changed over time?

Over time, escalators have undergone various changes and improvements. Safety features have been added, speed has increased, capacity has grown, energy efficiency has improved, design has become more visually appealing and accessibility has been taken into account. Modern escalators use less electricity, have features like regenerative drives and are designed to be more accessible for people with disabilities and mobility issues.

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.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
8’-10’8” | 2.44-3.28 m (Varies)
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Continuous Escalators (Crossing)
900.000
328.000
1250.000
5
https://p3d.in/e/xq9jN
GUIDE
3D
Continuous Escalators (Crossing)View of Continuous Escalators (Crossing) in 3D available for downloadView of Continuous Escalators (Crossing) in 3D available for download
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
16’-21’6” | 4.88-6.55 m (Varies)
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Continuous Escalators (Paired)
900.000
655.000
1250.000
5
https://p3d.in/e/gHKGS
GUIDE
3D
Continuous Escalators (Paired)3D model of Continuous Escalators (Paired) viewed in perspective3D model of Continuous Escalators (Paired) viewed in perspective
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
8’-10’8” | 2.44-3.28 m (Varies)
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Continuous Escalators (Single)
900.000
328.000
1250.000
5
https://p3d.in/e/NgKeJ
GUIDE
3D
Continuous Escalators (Single)Perspective view of a 3D model of Continuous Escalators (Single)Perspective view of a 3D model of Continuous Escalators (Single)
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
8’-10’8” | 2.44-3.28 m (Varies)
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Discontinuous Escalators (Paired)
900.000
328.000
1250.000
0
https://p3d.in/e/SJ4yo
GUIDE
3D
Discontinuous Escalators (Paired)View of Discontinuous Escalators (Paired) in 3D available for downloadView of Discontinuous Escalators (Paired) in 3D available for download
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
4’-5’4” | 1.22-1.63 m (Varies)
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Discontinuous Escalators (Single)
900.000
163.000
1250.000
0
https://p3d.in/e/U0JsR
GUIDE
3D
Discontinuous Escalators (Single)3D model of Discontinuous Escalators (Single) viewed in perspective3D model of Discontinuous Escalators (Single) viewed in perspective
14.75’ | 4.5 m (Varies)
8’-10’8” | 2.44-3.28 m (Varies)
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Escalator (Paired)
450.000
328.000
1250.000
5
https://p3d.in/e/jmsi6
GUIDE
3D
Escalator (Paired)Perspective view of a 3D model of an Escalator (Paired)Perspective view of a 3D model of an Escalator (Paired)
14.75’ | 4.5 m (Varies)
4’-5’4” | 1.22-1.63 m (Varies)
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Escalator (Single)
450.000
163.000
1250.000
20
https://p3d.in/e/ehrZP
GUIDE
3D
Escalator (Single)View of an Escalator (Single) in 3D available for downloadView of an Escalator (Single) in 3D available for download
Continuous Escalators (Single)
Scaled comparison drawings of the Continuous Escalators (Single) and other escalator types

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.

Continuous Escalators (Single) have a combined height of 29.5’ (9 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 8’-10’8” (2.44-3.28 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Measured illustration of Continuous Escalators (Single) dimensioned with overall width, length, and height
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.

Continuous Escalators (Single) have a combined height of 29.5’ (9 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 8’-10’8” (2.44-3.28 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Measured illustration of Continuous Escalators (Single) dimensioned with overall width, length, and height
Continuous Escalators (Single)
Height:
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
Width:
8’-10’8” | 2.44-3.28 m (Varies)
Length:
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

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

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Continuous Escalators (Crossing)
Group of scaled illustrations of various escalator types compared to the Continuous Escalators (Crossing)

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.

Continuous Escalators (Crossing) have a combined height of 29.5’ (9 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 8’-10’8” (2.44-3.28 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Elevation drawings of Continuous Escalators (Crossing) showing dimensioned analysis of their length, width and height
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.

Continuous Escalators (Crossing) have a combined height of 29.5’ (9 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 8’-10’8” (2.44-3.28 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Elevation drawings of Continuous Escalators (Crossing) showing dimensioned analysis of their length, width and height
Continuous Escalators (Crossing)
Height:
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
Width:
8’-10’8” | 2.44-3.28 m (Varies)
Length:
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

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

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Discontinuous Escalators (Paired)
Group of scaled illustrations of various escalator types compared to the Discontinuous Escalators (Paired)

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.

Discontinuous Escalators (Paired) have a combined height of 29.5’ (9 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 8’-10’8” (2.44-3.28 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Elevation drawings of Discontinuous Escalators (Paired) showing dimensioned analysis of their length, width and height
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.

Discontinuous Escalators (Paired) have a combined height of 29.5’ (9 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 8’-10’8” (2.44-3.28 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Elevation drawings of Discontinuous Escalators (Paired) showing dimensioned analysis of their length, width and height
Discontinuous Escalators (Paired)
Height:
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
Width:
8’-10’8” | 2.44-3.28 m (Varies)
Length:
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

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

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

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Discontinuous Escalators (Single)
Size comparison diagram of the Discontinuous Escalators (Single) compared to other similar escalator types

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.

Discontinuous Escalators (Single) have a combined height of 29.5’ (9 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 4’-5’4” (1.22-1.63 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Dimensioned elevation drawings of Discontinuous Escalators (Single) measured with length, width and height
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.

Discontinuous Escalators (Single) have a combined height of 29.5’ (9 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 4’-5’4” (1.22-1.63 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Dimensioned elevation drawings of Discontinuous Escalators (Single) measured with length, width and height
Discontinuous Escalators (Single)
Height:
29.5’ | 9 m (Varies)
Width:
4’-5’4” | 1.22-1.63 m (Varies)
Length:
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

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

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

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Escalator (Paired)
Scaled comparison drawings of the Escalator (Paired) and other escalator types

Paired escalators increase the capacity and efficiency of moving people through a building by allowing for greater flexibility, reducing congestion and increasing the flow of people. Pairing an up and a down escalator side by side is particularly useful in areas where there is high foot traffic, such as airports, train stations, and shopping centers. Additionally, it allows for better accessibility, as it allows people with mobility issues or disabilities to access both directions without having to walk or use another means of transportation. If one escalator is out of service, people can still use the other one to move in the opposite direction.

Escalator (Paired) have a combined height of 14.75’ (4.5 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 8’-10’8” (2.44-3.28 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Measured illustration of Escalator (Paired) dimensioned with overall width, length, and depth
Paired escalators increase the capacity and efficiency of moving people through a building by allowing for greater flexibility, reducing congestion and increasing the flow of people. Pairing an up and a down escalator side by side is particularly useful in areas where there is high foot traffic.

Escalator (Paired) have a combined height of 14.75’ (4.5 m), length of 41’ (12.5 m), and common width between 8’-10’8” (2.44-3.28 m). Dimensions will vary based on the desired length and height.

Measured illustration of Escalator (Paired) dimensioned with overall width, length, and depth
Escalator (Paired)
Height:
14.75’ | 4.5 m (Varies)
Width:
8’-10’8” | 2.44-3.28 m (Varies)
Length:
41’ | 12.5 m (Varies)
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Drawings include:
Escalator (Paired) side elevation, front, plan

Details & Downloads

Downloads

2D Downloads

3D Downloads

Related Buildings Collections
Buildings