The Benefit of More Flat Steps
at Escalator Landing

By TK NG

            Whenever you step onto the landing of an escalator, what you need to do is to grasp the moving handrail and make sure your feet do not straddle two adjoining flat steps.  This is to prevent yourself from being tripped over when the leading flat step start to rise or fall.  The flat steps are where you can adjust your feet positions safely upon stepping onto the escalator landing.

2.         The travelling speed of an escalator and the number of flat steps provided at landing determines the time available for passengers to adjust their feet positions to avoid being tripped over.  For an escalator moving at 0.5 m/s and with two flat steps each of 380mm tread (step depth), the available time is 380/500=0.76 to 2×380/500=1.52 seconds, depending on where the passenger has straddled two adjoining steps.  The situations are elucidated in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1

3.         The number of flat steps at escalator landings should be increased to cater for situations where elderly/children passengers and/or higher travelling speeds are involved.  Up to 5 nos. flat step at each landing are not uncommon for escalators at public places.  Some specifiers may require one more flat step at the upper landing than the lower one to give more time for feet position adjustment when the escalator is moving in a downward direction.

4.         You may notice that an escalator with 5 nos. flat step moving at 0.75 m/s would make available a duration of 2.03 (4×380/750) to 2.53 (5×380/750) sec for feet position adjustment, but is less than that of an escalator with 4 nos. flat step moving at 0.5 m/s (3×380/500=2.28 to 4×380/500=3.04 sec).  Increasing the number of flat steps would mean better passenger safety, especially for elderly and children.

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