Tuesday, May 5, 2009

See You Later, Escalator

Gigantically long escalator in a tunnel, Dupon Circle, Washington, D.C.
From Yes! magazine, spring 2009:

Number of escalators in the United States: 30,000

Number of homes the energy from 30,000 escalators can power: 375,000

Calories burned by a 150-pound person walking up a flight of stairs: approximately 9
Yet I think of the places where elevators are common -- in subways, airports, department stores -- and they are often multi-story access systems in places that have too much traffic for elevators. Also, they are frequently found in places where people are carrying things or pulling luggage.

I'm sure there are many places where escalators may not be necessary (two-story shopping malls, for instance, and maybe some hotel lobbies), but it seems a bit simplistic to assume they are all just complete energy wasters.

In fact, I'd be willing to bet that taking escalators out of subway stations like the Dupont Circle station shown above would cause an increase in car traffic.

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