An Indoor escalator
is an elevator-like stairway that rises and descends inside of a building. These escalators can be used in a wide range of applications, including shopping malls, subway stations and airports.
Modern escalators feature single-piece aluminum or stainless steel steps that travel on a system of tracks. They move at 0.3-0.6 metres per second (1-2 ft/s) and may traverse vertical distances in excess of 18 metres (60 ft).
Escalators are designed to rise 30 degrees and descend 35 degrees from the ground. This inclination is based on the height of the escalator and the maximum speed that can be achieved.
Several safety devices help protect people on an escalator. These include handrail speed sensors, step demarcation lights and comb bearer impact switches.
Handrail speed sensors, which are located in the escalator mechanism under the boarding steps, can sense how fast the handrail is moving. In the event that the handrail is travelling too fast for the steps, it will sound an alarm and stop the escalator, preventing passengers from falling.
Step demarcation lights, which are fluorescent or LED bulbs, typically colored green, provide illumination between the steps that improves passenger awareness of their divisions. Many escalators also have yellow plastic inserts on the front and sides of the steps.
Antislide devices, which are raised circular objects that stud the escalator balustrade, are designed to prevent passengers from sliding off the escalator surface.
Escalators and their cousins, moving walkways, are an important means of transporting pedestrians. Unlike elevators, which are used to carry heavy loads, escalators move at a relatively low speed - 0.3-0.6 m per second. They are often seen in shopping malls, airports and other commercial buildings that see heavy foot traffic.