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Empty Moving Sidewalks

Written by: Bill Sherman on Tuesday, 22 July 2008, 9:00 PM

Monday, on my trip back to Saint Louis, I passed through Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport. Sky Harbor is a very large airport, and the concourses are separated by some very long moving walkways.

Phoenix Sky Harbor

Typically, I do not use moving walkways or escalators. Even though I’m carrying luggage, I’d rather walk; it’s good excercise. However, I recognize that for many people these moving sidewalks are useful.

However, as I was walking between terminals, I walked the entire distance of the moving walkways without anyone passing me. Yet, the moving walkways kept running. Even if these sidewalks are very energy efficient, I’m sure they burn unnecessary energy each day.

What if Sky Harbor installed motion sensors at the approach and exit to these moving sidewalks. That way, the sidewalks would only run when people were present–saving a whole lot of energy. Over a year, the energy savings could be significant.

3 Responses to “Empty Moving Sidewalks”

  1. Dan Hawthorne Says:

    I’ve seen at least one place with the motion sensors that you talked about and I would think that it would make it a lot more energy efficient. But, I do wonder if it would be harder on the machinery, with all of the stopping and starting…

    July 23rd, 2008 9:47 am

  2. Joe Franklin Says:

    I think that’s a great idea, though I, too, would wonder how hard that would be on the machinery.

    July 23rd, 2008 6:09 pm

  3. Tito Nunez Says:

    I work at sky harbor, and after walking 8 miles up and down those concourses all day, those “moving sidewalks” are awesome. Your correct on the energy consumption of these never stopping monsters, but, at the airport theres times when everything is quiet. This time is know as the rest period, the runways clear up to switch landing and takeoff locations, this only takes about 10 minutes. So not much can be done about the problem.

    March 4th, 2009 11:51 am

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