Synthesis of Information Related to Airport Practices. Topic S04-25. Escalator Falls

Airports terminals are space constrained so use escalators and elevators to convey travelers vertically between levels. Escalator equipment design and layout considers people, travel speed, and redundancy, but not typically luggage and mobility devices that airport travelers bring with them. Escalator placement in airport terminals was not historically co-located with elevators, so many travelers choose to take themselves, their belongings, and their travel companions on easily found escalators instead of elevators that many times are tucked away and not immediately seen. There are very few airports that have completely removed escalators and replaced them with elevators only or ramps to allow vertical movement. Airport operations staff and risk managers use professionals to site and maintain escalators. They also use signage lighting and sound to notify and educate travelers, and video coverage to manage risk. Despite extensive attention and resources invested in traveler safety, escalator falls injure people. With more travelers, more escalator falls and injuries are expected. Airports would like to better understand what they can do to safely accommodate traveler needs for vertical conveyance and to provide devices, design strategies, signage, education, and data to manage and reduce escalator fall risks. The objective of this research is to compile information on airport escalator falls in order to improve vertical conveyance at airports and reduce injury. The target audience for this synthesis of airport practice are airport terminal staff and escalator companies. The following information will be collected, analyzed, and reported in a concise synthesis document: (1) Existing literature and research results on the nature and reasons for escalator falls at airports and in other subsectors (stadiums, shopping centers) and strategies for reducing escalator falls; (2) Aggregated data from airport risk managers on the general rate of escalator falls and the instigating factors; (3) Information on design/layout and pathways to and from escalators to maximize safety; (4) Information from escalator manufacturers or architects on right sizing, determining speed settings, emergency actions, redundancy issues; (5) Survey or interview of airport risk managers to understand effective practices for improving safety on escalators and reducing falls: Devices to safeguard escalator users-notification, signage, lighting, announcements, keeping clothing from catching, emergency shut down education to avoid bunching at entries and exists; Maintenance practices, responsiveness, redundancy and contracted v. in-house; and Video coverage to support liability claims; (6) Case examples from large, medium, small and non-hubs; and (7) Appendices-checklists, maintenance contracts, risk management tools, signage that could be included as a toolkit.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 11-03, Topic S04-25

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Staba, Gail

  • Start Date: 20181023
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01687064
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 11-03, Topic S04-25
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 26 2018 3:04PM