Travelators and escalators are a standard part of large commercial premises. You often find them in pairs, moving in opposite directions and it’s highly likely that you have used them to help you move around large buildings – between levels or horizontally along distances which can be long when carrying luggage or pushing a trolley.
But what is the difference between an escalator and a travelator?
An escalator is a mechanically driven set of moving stairs, each step is linked and fixed in place. It can slowly and smoothly move people between the different floors of a commercial building. You can see them in use at shopping centres, department stores, cinemas, office buildings and at boarding points in transport systems. Escalators usually have a moving handrail on either side to support the pedestrian user. Another feature is an emergency button to stop the movement of the escalator when necessary. Even when completely stationary, an escalator is a fixed staircase and thus remains functional.
Escalators are useful when a high number of people need to be transported efficiently and smoothly. They can move more people at a time than a lift. They can be placed in higher visibility areas than a lift. People usually stand still on an escalator and let the machine do the work. There are some exceptions, for example, escalators taking passengers to and from London Underground platforms are wide enough for two users side by side. In this context, it’s escalator etiquette to stand on the left-hand side of the escalator so those wishing to continue walking up or down to quicken their journey may do so without obstruction.
Escalators are usually found inside buildings, but they can feature outside too. The Pompidou Centre in Paris is an iconic example of architecture that employs external escalators.
Travelators are a slow-moving surface or walkway, like a measured and steady conveyor belt. Similar to an escalator, they feature a handrail for passenger use and an emergency button to stop movement when necessary. People can stand still on travelators and let the movement take them where they need, whereas some people choose to walk on travelators.
Travelators are often used to move high numbers of people horizontally. They are also used to move people between different levels or floors of a building. Their design depends on their intended use. Travelators used to move people between different floors of a building tend to feature magnets, so that any trollies used on the travelator don’t move around dangerously. Travelators are also used for the movement of cargo.
Travelators are often used in airports. They can be used to transport passengers on the long distances between terminals and concourses. Often, passengers will be carrying heavy luggage so the travelator is extremely helpful in getting them to their destination without strenuous exertion. It’s also helpful for those with limited mobility, families with small children or just a weary, jet-lagged traveller!
Travelators are also used in other settings. They are used in museums, zoos and theme parks to control the steady flow and movement of visitors. A well-known example is the travelator at the Tower of London. The travelator is used to slowly move visitors past the main exhibit, the Crown Jewels. Visitors glide slowly past priceless artefacts which are still in use today. The travelator ensures each person gets a clear view and moves through the exhibition at a steady pace. It also helps as part of the high-level security in place to protect the jewels.
Which one should I choose?
Escalators and travelators are both intended to enhance people’s experience in high-density areas where mobility is crucial. Controlled and efficient movement of people helps with the smooth running of a premises’ operation. When well-planned, expertly fitted and maintained, they can increase sales and boost profitability.
Here at Euro Lifts, we pride ourselves on expertly and efficiently fitted escalators. If you are considering escalator installation, contact our team at Euro Lifts to discuss your options or get a free estimate.