Escalators: Walk or Stand?

JR East, the East Japan Railway Company, wants Tokyo commuters to stand on both sides of station escalators instead of reserving one side for impatient people who want to walk. A study found that most escalator accidents happen when walkers stumble over luggage or run and slip, so the all-standing policy is safer and more efficient.

Good luck with that. The policy was tried in Hong KongLondon’s underground and DC’s Metro, but it didn’t go over well. Standing to one side on escalators and walking on the other is too firmly embedded in urban behavior. In Washington, there’s even a song about it:

“Stand Right,” sung by Aaron Myers, accompanied on piano by the composer, Oren Levine, with Percy White on bass.



“Tokyo Wants People to Stand on Both Sides of the Escalator,” Linda Poon, CityLab


“Why You Should Always Walk on Escalators,” Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

“People who walk on the escalator actually slow everyone down,” Lesley Strawderman, Quartz

“Metro’s ‘Stand right, walk left’ is all wrong, professor says,” Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post

“Vancouver, you’re using escalators wrong, but that’s (mostly) OK,” Uytae Lee, CBC News


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