Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Escalator Handrail Arrows

Cut confusion.
  [vote for,

Have you ever found yourself in an unfamiliar building, looking for an escalator? Ever headed for the wrong one because you couldn't tell which way it moved from a distance? If there are people riding then sure, no problem. But if it's empty it can be a confusing situation, especially if the incoming elevator is not co-located with the outgoing one. All this confusion can be easily avoided if handrails were clearly marked with arrows or simple white lines every few feet. Then it would be easy to tell from a distance which way the escalator is moving.
VentElation, Jan 20 2004

(?) Escalator Red/Green Light System http://www.nynewsda...l=nyc-wtc-headlines
As seen in the WTC. Check photo 12 for a red light, and photo 15 for a green. [Overpanic, Oct 04 2004]


kropotkin, Jan 20 2004

       In one of my local department stores, the food hall is in the basement with one escalator going dooown into the bowels of the building and another going up to take you back out. When it gets to 5 minutes before closing time, the down escalator reverses so that no new customers can come in. I was once on it when this happened. I managed to run down to the bottom and was pathetically excited by the whole experience.   

       Oh yes. (*twing*) croissant.
squeak, Jan 20 2004

       If you can't see the steps to see which way they're moving, you couldn't see the arrows, surely. People actually have this problem?
waugsqueke, Jan 20 2004

       "From a distance", it should be fairly easy to see handrails while one's vantage point does not yet make the steps visible. Not sure about the arrows, but a stripe across, wrapping around the moving handrail should be helpful. I don't experience this problem enough to have thought about a solution but this seems like one.   

       (The aesthetics, however, would be a different issue.)
half, Jan 20 2004

       I like [half]'s solution, because it allows for the escalator to be run either direction. This is done in some places to allow for varying traffic flow, or to compensate for a broken escalator. (WTAGIPBAN)
krelnik, Jan 20 2004

       I would also suggest stripes rather than arrows, but I agree with waugs, you're solving a problem that surely doesn't exist. Except for VentElation, of course.
DrCurry, Jan 20 2004

       This does so exist as a problem. You're standing in a store. You see an escalator across the other side of the store. You don't know whether it's going up or down. You look for a sign saying "Escalator To Third Floor", but it's obscured by a banner proclaiming "cheap bras". You wander over, find the escalator is going the wrong way, and end up buying a cheap bra instead. You go home miserable.
kropotkin, Jan 20 2004

       Ah, the answer lies within the idea itself. The trick is to have inflatable dummy riders on the escalator that only appear when no-one else is riding them.   

       Therefore someone (inflatable or otherwise) is always riding them so you always know which direction the escalator is travelling in. Simple.
Aristotle, Jan 20 2004

       In the newly reconstructed World Trade Center Path train station, there is a row of escalators with red and green lights on them. If the light is green, the escalator is going in your direction, and if it's red, then it's moving in the opposite direction. Check out the link above. There's in actuality about a dozen elevators in a row, although it's not apparent from the pictures (see pictures 12 and 15).
Overpanic, Jan 20 2004

       <obligatory>But, how does the escalator know where I'm going?</obligatory>   

       That's slick. If you're looking at the exit end, the light's red. If you're looking at the entrance end, the light's green. Simple, elegant.   

       Of course, [Aristotle]'s inflating and deflating "passengers" that appear from and disappear into the steps would be equally effective.   

       This reminds that I still have an escalator idea running up and down the back of my mind that I need to sketch out and post.
half, Jan 20 2004

       <hops on escalator to see what lurks in the depths of [half]'s mind>
po, Jan 20 2004

       <tosses [po] a flashlight>
k_sra, Jan 20 2004

       don't look, k_sra, don't look.   

       its not pleasant.
po, Jan 20 2004

       It's mighty dark, twisted and confusing in here. That'd better be some special flashlight.
half, Jan 20 2004

       Wow! This was my first post ever and I'm amazed at the response. Glad to see that I'm not the only person who will admit to becoming momentarily confused by an easily correctable solution. I agree that striping on the handrail makes the most sense. The electric lights are cool, but require more maintenance than necessary and don't instantly deliver the message. They also are not as visible as the entire handrail. Well, thanks for reading!
VentElation, Jan 22 2004

       // You're standing in a store. You see an escalator across the other side of the store. You don't know whether it's going up or down. //   

       Why don't I know that? That's where you lose me. If I can see there's an escalator, I can see which way it's moving (unless it's not moving, which happens occasionally). Why is the direction difficult to ascertain?
waugsqueke, Jan 22 2004

       If you can only see the upper or lower end of an escalator due to surrounding walls, merchandise, etc. there is a wide range of angles from which one cannot see the steps. The handrails, typically being very monochromatic and consistently smooth in texture don't necessarily provide enough visual cues to determine which direction they are moving.   

       Look me up if you're ever in Phoenix. We'll do lunch at the mall where I can show you what I'm referring to. Having said that, I'll also say that it's a minor inconvenience at best and in the real world could generally be remedied by decent signage.
half, Jan 22 2004

       Was in my local market yesterday and noticed that they have big arrows painted on the floor to indicate which escalator is up and down.
oneoffdave, Jan 22 2004

       Excellent idea. How about cartoon pictures of a squashed rat instead of stripes or arrows?
stupop, Jan 22 2004

       This would help me run against the flow. Can't take me anywhere.
RayfordSteele, Jan 22 2004

       Ok, you can see the front side of the steps (facing you) when it's extended. Why not just print "UP" or "DOWN" in big letters on that side?
spacecadet, Jan 22 2004

       Previously baked. Some old handrails had 1 1/2 inch +/- white spots every 6 feet or so. Not the best design for visibility, I'll admit, and not that widely known, evidently. The ones I've seen were pretty dirty, so didn't stand out in a crowd too well. I never knew what they were for until now. Thanks for the education.
oxen crossing, Jan 23 2004

       Great idea. Red and green lights are no good for people who are colour blind, can suffer from electrical problems and consume energy. No such problems for a moving marker on the handrail.
acemcbuller, Jul 25 2008

       most escalators change direction at different times of day or depending on which direction will get the most traffic. The arrows would have to switch OR you could use a arrow light as found in some building and be done with it. a red x at the entrance means don't enter, green arrow means go for it.   

       Similar to the systems used on bridges where lanes are different directions depending on traffic.
metarinka, Nov 07 2010

       Most of the escalators in Bank/Monument station complex are running in a new energy-efficient mode, where they board it up in a big blue wooden housing for about a year, pretending to slowly fix each one as a hobby.
Ian Tindale, Nov 07 2010


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