Feasibility of upward evacuation by escalator - An experimental study

Naoko Okada, Yuji Hasemi*, Shuji Moriyama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes group upward evacuation experiments using escalators that were designed to investigate the feasibility of evacuation by escalators for large underground buildings. The experiments were conducted using 22-m-high (50-m-long) and 5.7-m-high (12.2-m-long) escalators in a convention facility in Tokyo. In order to consider the potential benefits of using escalators moving towards an exit for evacuation, the experiments included both stationary and upward moving modes of the escalators. Walking behavior such as walking velocity and the effective flow coefficient was measured for solo walking pedestrians and groups in various arrangements. The influence of slow pedestrians (elderly, etc.) on the group evacuation was examined by using subjects wearing an elderly simulator (Instant Senior). The following conclusions were drawn with respect to the walking behavior on an escalator: (1) the walking velocity was nearly constant throughout the 22-m-high escalator lane, (2) the walking velocity of a solo pedestrian was 0.03-0.10 m/s slower on a moving escalator than on a stationary escalator, (3) group evacuation on an escalator was strongly affected by the existence of slow pedestrians, (4) the walking velocity of a solo pedestrian on a stationary escalator was nearly identical to that on a stairway, and (5) the effective flow coefficient at the escalator entrance was dictated by the moving velocity of pedestrians on the escalator lane. Numerical evacuation simulations on a real and very deep subway station using the experimental results demonstrate a 46% reduction in the evacuation time by the use of escalators moving toward exits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-440
Number of pages12
JournalFire and Materials
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug


  • effective flow coefficient
  • elderly
  • escalator
  • group evacuation
  • underground
  • walking velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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