Moving Walkway or Moving Sidewalk
A Moving Walkway, also called Moving Sidewalk, is a walkalator or revelator used to transport people over short to medium distances across a horizontal or slightly inclined plane, unlike an escalator that moves vertically inclined. Several other terms like autowalk, flatalator, horizontalator, movator or movealator are also used to refer to the Moving Sidewalk.
First put in use in 1983 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, it was in the shape of a loop that ran down the length of walkway from the lakefront pier to the casino ahead. The walkway had two different sections, one where people could just stand or keep walking slightly ahead and the other where they could be seated. In 1900, a similar moving walkway was presented at the Paris Exposition Universelle.
The first commercial use of a walkway was hypothesizedv by a New York City firm, The Beeler Organization in 1924 for a Continuous Transit System for Atlanta, approximately on the lines of the Paris system using a linear induction motor, but the project did not materialize.
The credit for the first commercial moving sidewalk or walkway went to Goodyear, Inc., the company that built the “Speedwalk” inside the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Erie stop in Jersey City in 1954. It covered a distance of 277ft and moved up a 10 percent gradient at the speed of 2.4 kms/hr.
In 1958, Love Field airport in Dallas, Texas got the distinction of being the first airport to have the moving walkway installed.
There are two basic styles of moving walkways.
1. Pallet kind – in this kind, a series of flat metal surfaces conjoin together to form a moving walkway, similar to that of escalators. While most walkways are fitted with metal surfaces, some have rubber to provide additional traction.
2. Moving belt – this kind features rubber walking surfaces or metal belts fitted over metal rollers that move along; the speed determines whether the surface feels substantial or bouncy.
Both types of walkways are fitted with moving handrails for passenger safety.
Between the 1970s and early 2000s, several designs and patents were tested for high-speed walkways at various locations around the world. However, while some provided the advantage of transporting passengers over distances in quick time, the reliability, safety and comfort factors were always in question, suggesting that a lot more had to be done before they could become commercially viable and a safe mode of transport.
Inclined moving walkways
Several high-end super markets, malls and multiplexes have installed incline moving walkways to transport people from one floor to another. Especially in supermarkets and stores that have multiple floors and where people use trolleys to manager purchases, these are very useful as they can transport the shopping carts and trolleys in addition. They are similar in operation to an escalator except that there are no steps going up or down only a sloped incline with grooves on the ramp that prevents wheeled items like carts and trolleys from rolling away.
Applications of moving walkways
Airports, Museums, Public Transport, Theatres, Theme Parks, Zoos and some heavily populated urban cities are some areas where the application of moving walkways will serve the public well.