A professional’s guide for better planning & installation Escalators

Multi-level movements have been redesigned by the escalators. Escalators have made it so much easier and faster to move between levels of a building. You can also find them at airports, malls and hotels. They make it easier to climb stairs. It is essential to fully understand the characteristics and types of escalators as well as their designs, dimensions, configurations and other details.

However, it requires technical knowledge and precision as well as careful consideration of the specific requirements and limitations of each location.

Additionally, elevators and escalators are available in different sizes, designs, or configurations. Also, for optimal usage, it remains important to understand the right design otherwise it can hamper the entire building’s structure, functionality, and efficiency.

Professionals need to be able to comprehend the technicalities and dimensions of elevators and escalators.

Elevators and escalators are mechanical devices that allow people to move vertically between different levels of a building.

In other words, an escalator means a moving staircase. It is a conveyor transport device consisting of a single aluminum- or stainless steel motor-driven chain of steps that is guided by a track system that is laid in a continuous loop.

These can also be used in places that are subject to heavy traffic and movement of large masses, such as malls, halls and other public buildings.

These can also be used in areas where elevators are not practical to move pedestrian traffic.

Some types of escalators can also be built outdoors and covered for bad weather, which is quite a clever invention. Elevators and escalators make it easy to move people.

Stylish escalator design with glass handrails

Stylish escalator design featuring glass handrails

Image Source: Elevatori Magazine

Fun Fact: Who invented the escalator?

Leamon Souder, Nathan Ames and Nathan Ames were the first to patent a design anywhere in the world in the 19th Century.

The design they patented never saw the light.

Charles Seeburger, Jesse Reno, and Jesse Reno later designed and developed a prototype. This design was later installed in New York’s department stores. In 1910, the inventors sold their invention to Otis Elevator Company.

Types of escalators

Escalators allow you to move between floors easily by moving staircases. These highly efficient devices can be found in many different forms and designs. There are many types of escalators available today, each with different dimensions.

So, let’s have a look at the different forms or types of escalators used in buildings.

Step type

This type of escalator is still very popular. It is safer than any other forms because it uses metal steps.

Its movement is also upward and then flat and then downward. This trend continues in reverse.

These can also be found in malls or other public places and are suitable to buildings with one-directional passenger flow.

Accessible by wheelchair

A wheelchair escalator can be used in the same way as any other one, but it has special features to facilitate wheelchair movement. The escalator can be used by a wheelchair user in a special mode that has three steps that change and level to form a platform.

Next, spikes are added to the back of the step to keep the wheelchair from falling.

These are very useful for people with special needs, making the building inclusive.

These are often found in hospitals. These are becoming increasingly popular in other places, such as malls and metro stations.


These special spiral elevators have curved steps, giving them a unique look. These escalators are made exclusively by Mitsubishi since 1985.

These escalators are limited to 91 worldwide. This type of escalator is still very difficult to design and measure. They are not always possible to fit in all buildings.

These provide a spectacular view of the building. The spiral escalator is more useful for museums, art galleries, casinos, and buildings with state of the-art interiors.


The levitator, a new type of escalator, is a free type that can curve multiple times in both the upward and downward directions.

Two escalators can share the same loops of steps, which allows for a levitator’s curve to be different. These designs feature unique built steps.

This free-form design can be found everywhere from airports and subways, to shopping malls.

The best thing about levytator is its energy efficiency. The levytator can move up and down with one motor, so it reduces power consumption. This makes the building more energy-efficient and saves money.

Elena Shcherbakova (University researcher) found that the levytator consumes about 80% less energy than regular elevators and escalators.

The levytator also gives As it can still offer freeform curves, the privilege is yours to give the escalators the desired shape and dimension.

This can also be laid on a normal staircase. This means that it can be used for your home as well.

Proper inclines of escalators

An escalator’s angle of inclines is usually 30 degrees. This angle can increase to 35° if the vertical height is less than 6 m, and the speed is less than 0.5 m/s.

These are typically designed at an angle of 27.3, 30 and 35 degrees.

35-degree elevators are ideal for transportation heights of 6 m and take up less space. The 27.3-degree tilt is more suitable for heights higher than 6 meters.

The 30-degree inclination provides maximum safety and comfort for users.

Maximal speed and maximum capacity of escalators

The speed of escalators can have an impact on their transport capacity and also affect the space requirements.

The standard transportation speed is between 0.5 m/s and 0.65 m/s, which is significantly higher than an average lift system.

Furthermore, for a speed greater than 0.5 m/s the theoretical capacity is:

Step width Per hour
600 mm 2500
800 mm 6750
1000 mm 9000

The step width of escalators is usually 1000 mm. This allows passengers to move comfortably with their luggage. However, steps that are 600 mm or 800 mm in width are often used in areas with low traffic or limited space.

To determine the suitability of a candidate and to measure its capacity, you can use the following formula:

N= 3600 x X P x V. x cosƟ /  L


N= Number of persons moved per hour

P= Number of persons per step

V= Speed (m/s)

Ɵ= Angle of incline

Additionally, the carrying capacity must be able to accommodate peak periods, during which most passengers board the escalator.

Escalator dimensions

In accordance with worldwide standards, the ideal width of the step is 60 cm, 80 cm, and 100 cm.

moving walkway width and dimensions

Escalator width

Image Source: dimensions.com

60 cm

A 60 cm or nearly 24-inch wide escalator is suitable for accommodating one person. So, it has no room for any extra item or person.

These are typically seen in low-traffic areas with compact space.

80 cm

An 80 cm or nearly 32-inch wide escalator is good enough to accommodate a single person along with a suitcase or enough space for one person to pass by.

These are usually used in areas having low to moderate traffic.

100 cm

A 100 cm or nearly 40-inch wide escalator ideally accommodates two people side-by-side. Also, it prevents any interference in movement and has enough space for one person to pass the other one.

Having room for movement, this width is suitable for high-traffic areas.

Secondly, these devices should ideally incorporate 3’ or 0.91 m handrails for the safety of users. Moreover, they must maintain a minimum vertical headroom clearance of 7’6” or 2.29 m.

Also, sufficient space should be provided at each loading platform—typically 7’6” or 2.29 m at the bottom and 8’ or 2.44 m at the top. Also, the complete length must also provide enough space for a lower zone of mechanical equipment along with a structural truss that averages around 3’8” or 1.12 m deep.

Escalator dimensions

Escalator dimensions

Image Source: dimensions.com

  • Angle of inclination: 30°-35°
  • Height of handrail: 3’ or 0.91 m
  • Headroom clearance: 7’6” or a minimum of 2.29 m
  • Bottom landing length: 7’6” or 2.29 m
  • Top landing length: 8’ or 2.44 m
  • Truss or depth: 3’8” or 1.12 m

Escalator configurations

Based on the traffic influx, the escalators have four main types of configurations, each having different dimensions, that are used for the most common vertical movement systems.

Different configurations of moving staircase

Different configurations of escalators

Image Source: SlideShare


These are mostly seen in metro stations and multilevel theaters. Also, they are suitable for buildings with heavy traffic flow in both directions.

Following are its specifications:-

  • Speed: 0.5 m/s
  • Inclination: 30°, 35°
  • Step width: 800/1000
  • Power: 50Hz
  • Handrails: Rubber/stainless steel
  • Step: Stainless steel
  • Landing plate: Anti-skid stainless steel
  • Operation: Emergency stop button/key switch
  • Illumination: Lighting under upper and lower landing steps
  • Indicator: Failure indicator on control cabinet

Monroeville Mall parallel escalator design

Parallel escalator design in mall

Image Source: Flickr


This stacking system going in one direction minimizes structural space requirements. These are mostly seen in departmental stores and shopping centers.

Also, usually preferred in malls and shopping centers, this arrangement offers a clear view of the shopping floor to stimulate the interest of the potential buyers in the products on display.

Here are its specifications.

  • Step width: 600/800/1000
  • Power: 50Hz/300 V
  • Handrails: Rubber/stainless steel
  • Step: Stainless steel
  • Landing plate: Anti-skid stainless steel
  • Operation: Emergency stop button/key switch
  • Illumination: Lighting under upper and lower landing steps
  • Indicator: Failure indicator on control cabinet

Crisscross moving staircase

Crisscross escalator design for malls

Image Source: Twenty20

Multiple parallel

Two or more escalators are arranged together to move in the same or opposite directions. These are used in high-traffic areas.

So, following are its specifications:-

  • Speed: 0.5 m/s
  • Inclination: 30°, 35°
  • Step width: 800/1000
  • Power: 50 Hz
  • Handrails: Rubber/stainless steel
  • Step: Stainless Steel
  • Landing plate: Antiskid stainless steel
  • Operation: Push button/key switch for emergency stop/key switch/inspection operations
  • Illumination: Lighting below the upper and lower landing steps
  • Indicator: Failure indicator on control cabinet

It is also recommended to have handrails that move. This allows the passengers to keep up with the steps.

Although you can fix the direction of the movement (upward or downward), it is recommended to have it controlled by professionals, based on time and other requirements.

Multi parallel escalator

Multi parallel escalator

Source: Alibaba

Working mechanism for the Escalator

An escalator design is made up of interlocking steps that have the same dimensions and are powered by an electrical motor.

The steps are moved by a pair o chains that are looped around another pair o gears. This loop rotates around a larger metal called a truss. The truss also connects the entire mechanism to the floors. The steps also move like a conveyor belt.

For a better understanding, here’s a video:-

Components of escalators

Landing platform

landing platform

Escalator landing platform

Image Source: Wikipedia

The landing platform is where motors, curved track sections and gears are located. It also has a comb plate as well as a floor plate.

The passenger will stand on the floor plate before they step onto the escalator. The comb plate is between the floor plate, the escalator and the comb plate.

The motor assembly is located on the top platform, along with the two drive gears that move the chain loop to either side. On the other side, the bottom platform contains the step return gears and the return wheels.

These platforms also hold in place the ends of truss.



Escalator Truss

Image Source: buckylab

The truss is a hollow metal structure that connects the upper and the lower landings. It also has tracks connecting the upper and lowest sections.

The truss has three main parts:

  • The lower section
  • Section of inclines
  • The upper section.

The ends of a truss are connected with concrete or steel supports to the landing platforms. It also supports two handrails, which move at the same speed and speed as the elevator.



Track assembly

Track assembly

Source: Electrical Knowhow

The track system can be still be found in the truss. It also guides the steps: one track guides the front wheel and the other the back.

There are two types of tracks:

  • The inner rail of the step wheel track: This is for the front wheels of the steps.
  • The trailer-wheel track (outerrail): For the back of the steps.

The formation of the staircase can also be caused by the tracks’ relative positions. This happens when the tracks move under the comb plates.

The tracks have the longest distance between them based on the straight section in the truss. This configuration allows the back of a step to be at an angle to the one behind it. This angle bends steps to resemble a staircase.


Handrail assembly

Handrail assembly

Source: Electrical Knowhow

The handrail provides support for passengers by providing handholding. It is pulled along its track using a chain that is connected to the main drive transmission via a series pulleys.

The handrail is divided into four sections:

  • Slider:The slider, located at the center of the handrail, allows it to move smoothly along its track. It is often a layer made of synthetic or cotton fabric.
  • Tension member A tensile component is either flat steel tape or steel cable and provides the handrails with the necessary tensile strength.
  • Inner construction components:These elements are found on top the tension member and are made from chemically treated rubber to prevent the layers of rubber from separating.
  • Cover:The handrails have a combination of rubber and synthetic materials that are resistant to everyday wear and tear.

It is also recommended that handrail width not exceed 75 mm. A moving handrail should be at least 300mm in height and have an operating speed of 0.35 M/s.


Basic Components of balustrade

Source: Electrical Knowhow

The balustrade includes the handrail and exterior support structure of escalator. It also extends over the steps and supports a handrail.

Balustrades also have an interior low-deck, which is a set of side panels typically made of glass and supporting the handrail base. An interior high-deck is the side panel typically made of aluminum or steel alloy sheets.

The interior high-deck consists of the following major components:

  • Skirt panel or skirt
  • Interior panel or side panel
  • Handrail stand
  • Interiors with high-decks
  • High-deck exterior
  • Inner decks
  • Outer decks
  • Exterior panel
  • Newel
  • Front plates or the newel base
  • Notification for an emergency
  • Key operated switches

Balustrade glass must not be less than 6mm thick and 680mm high.




Steps to the Escalator

Source: Best Life

There are three widths available for the steps, as mentioned earlier: 24 in, 32in, and 40in. The step’s depth must not exceed 15.74 inches, and the rise should not exceed 8.5 inches.

Aluminum is used to make escalators stronger and lighter. To prevent slippage, rubber mats could be attached to the escalator’s surface. You can also add yellow demarcation lines to clearly mark their edges.

In short, the layout of the steps is controlled by the track placement.

Guide to the Escalator Layout

In many buildings, such as shopping centers, hospitals, art galleries and museums, and metro stations, airports, etc., elevators and escalators of different dimensions are used. Each building is different and has its own requirements and limitations in terms of its number and placement.

How do you determine how many escalators are needed in a building’s structure?

These parameters will help you determine how many escalators are in a building.

  • Type of building (offices and malls, movie theatres, subway stations, metro stations, airports)
  • Peak traffic times (opening & closing hours)
  • Ratio of customer turnover per floor
  • Travel comfort required on the unit (uncrowded or convenient, crowded).

Once you have established these requirements, you will be able to determine the building’s actual capacity. You must keep in mind that the actual effective capacity is still 40-80 percent of the theoretical capacity. It also depends on the step width of the users and their density.

Effective escalator capacity vs theoretical escalator capacity chart

Chart showing the effective escalator capacities versus theoretical escalator capacities

Source: Kone

How do you choose the position of the escalator’s handle?

  • The crowd’s movement plays an important role when deciding the positioning.
  • Avoid high-sellers if you want to put an escalator into a mall. This is to avoid crowds around the escalator.
  • Elevators and elevators must be located near the main entrance.
  • It should be placed near the main routes to an infrastructural structure.
  • There must be plenty of space between the upper landing platforms and the lower landing platforms.

These can also be mounted outside. It is also known as an outdoor escalator.

Two types of outdoor escalators are available:

  • Semi-outdoor that is still positioned under a roof
  • Fully outdoors that is directly exposed to the weather conditions

For safety reasons, you should cover the fully-outdoor version as well. If it rains, the passenger will likely have an umbrella rather than the handrails. This is dangerous.

These motorized stairways can be used in conjunction with elevators. These stairways are also used in places where elevators are impossible to install.

As the passenger capacity increases, escalators are still a better choice than elevators (a large escalator can carry up to 6,000 people an hour).

An escalator does not require waiting time, unlike an elevator. Additionally, even if it breaks down or ceases to function, it can still be used as a normal staircase until it’s fixed again.

Escalator and elavator

Escalator and Elevator

Source: TE Connection

Sr. No. Escalator Elevator
1. Also known as “moving stairs”. It is used to transport people between different levels of a building. A room lift is a type of lift that can carry a limited amount of people up and down.
2. Open moving stairs. Closed cabins
3. It consists of a motor-driven chain that runs on a track. Powered by an electric motor connected by traction cables.
4. Carries more than 20 passengers in a single run You can carry 10-15 items at a time.
5. Requires very little space. Installation requires more space

Kone escalators

Kone makes escalators for indoor and outdoor use. The Kone escalator rises from 13 to 18 meters. Professionals such as Consultants can create the initial dimension drawings to ensure that the escalators are properly placed in their buildings.

Schindler escalators

India has seen the Schindler escalator for over two decades. Schindler is known for its innovative technologies. Schindler’s latest Handrail Sanitization Solution for Escalators has been launched to keep up with the latest innovations and launches. It provides protection against germs viruses and bacteria, thus preventing infection.

Otis escalators

Otis makes safe and reliable escalators that seamlessly integrate with buildings. Otis also offers customized escalator or elevator designs to meet the unique needs of each building.

Otis’s Multifunction Escalator Safety Device enhances code safety.

Thyssenkrupp escalators

Thyssenkrupp’s escalators can be ordered in a variety of styles and functionalities. The brand offers escalators that can withstand all types of traffic, including outdoor, semi-outdoor, indoor. The Thyssenkrupp Escalator Lighting adds a unique look to your device.

Hitachi escalators

Hitachi escalators has a wide range of escalator models and elevators that offer great flexibility and durability. Hitachi escalators also offers maintenance and modernization services that ensure smooth operation.

Fujitec escalators

Fujitec offers smooth-running commercial escalators such as airports, malls, and other buildings. Also, the brand’s GS Escalator remains a much-preferred escalator model in the Indian market.

Mitsubishi electric escalators

Mitsubishi is a well-known brand. The Spiral escalators, one of the most ambitious designs in escalator design, was created by Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi offers not only new models of escalators, but also modernizations of existing escalators.

Toshiba escalator

Toshiba escalator features advanced features such as The skirt guard and step delimitations are lit by lights. The Toshiba escalator switches to standby mode automatically when it isn’t in use. This allows for a lot more electricity savings.

Sigma escalator

The Sigma escalator is a masterpiece of design and functionality. High-quality Korean materials are also used. This escalator is superior in efficiency and performance to Sigma.

Hyundai escalator

Hyundai escalator connects all levels of a building. It adds a new dimension in efficiency, safety and durability.


There are many types of escalators that make it easy to travel between floors. They are very popular.

Elevators and elevators have seen many technological advances over the years. These advancements will make it even easier and more convenient.

Understanding the appropriate dimensions and types of escalators remains important for the professionals like contractors, consultants, architects, and builders as the wrong selection can challenge the building’s resourcefulness and efficiency. The professional must also ensure that the building has sufficient space and meets any other requirements for installing an escalator.

Also, any type of poorly installed escalator  with incorrect dimensions will not only make it a major challenge to move between two floors but also compromise the overall efficiency of the building and result in escalator accidents.

Design factors such as location, traffic patterns and safety considerations are still major factors in determining the design of escalators.

The escalator market is constantly developing and manufacturing new products. Some of the most recent developments to meet the market’s changing needs include an escalator capable of transporting wheelchairs and a spiral elevator that increases its usability.

Once you have finalized the type and dimensions of the escalator, it is time to find the best brands that offer the most efficient escalator designs as well as installation services.

Now that you are familiar with the basics of escalators, you can plan and install the right type of escalator to complement your space and meet the needs of your users.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *