A moving walkway, also called Passenger Lift, is a passenger lift 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 Passenger Lift.
Generally, there are two basic styles of Passenger Lifts.
The first is the pallet type. In this type, a series of flat metal surfaces conjoin together to form a Passenger Lift, similar to that of escalators. While most walkways are fitted with metal surfaces, some have rubber to provide extra traction.
Then, the other style is the moving belt. This type features rubber walking surfaces or metal belts fitted over metal rollers that move along. The speed determines whether the surface feels solid or bouncy.
As a rule of thumb, both types of Passenger Lifts are fitted with moving handrails for passenger safety.
Between the 1970s and early 2000s, several designs and patents were tested for high-speed sidewalks at various locations around the world. However, though some provided the advantage of transporting passengers over distances in quick time, the reliability, safety and comfort factors were always in question, indicating that a lot more had to be done before they could become commercially viable and a safe mode of transport.
You know, several high-end super markets, malls, and multiplexes have installed incline Passenger Lifts to transport people from one floor to another. Especially in supermarkets and stores that have multiple floors and where people use trolleys to handle purchases, these are very useful as they can transport the shopping carts and trolleys as well. 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.
Currently, airports, museums, public transport, theaters, theme parks, zoos, and some heavily populated urban cities are the main areas where the application of Passenger Lifts will serve the public well.