Response of pedestrians to the sudden stopping and restarting of an escalator is tested for the safe operation of escalators for evacuation in emergency in view of the recent significant popularization of escalators in underground facilities and traffic buildings. Two series of experiments are conducted, one with solo pedestrian on an escalator and another with a group of 12 pedestrians. The principal experimental parameters are upward and downward operations, time to and from steady-state velocity (current standard and slower), loading conditions(bags, baby). The pedestrians' responses are indicated by the visual observation of the pedestrians and by the questionnaires just after each test. The result of the experiments suggests general acceptability of the stopping of escalator by the current standard operation only for still pedestrians with hand on the handrail. For pedestrians with bags on both hands or with a baby, the stopping and the restarting of escalator should be slowed down to achieve safety equivalent with the stopping by the current standard operation for pedestrians with hand on the handrail. The tests also indicate fear of a pedestrian notably larger in a crowd than in a solo waling condition.
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