Modelling effects of stair width on rates of stair climbing in a train station

Francis Eves, Amanda Lewis, C Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Commuters leaving a station often choose the stair as a quicker exit than the escalator. This paper models the effects of speed leaving the station and stair width on choice of the stairs or escalator. METHODS: Aggregated data from previous studies (n=82,347) revealed a plateau at about 45% stair use as the number leaving each train rose. Subsequently, the time taken by passengers on the stairs and escalator was measured in a station in Birmingham, UK in 2007 (n=5848). The resulting transport rates (passengers s(-1)) for stairs and escalators at the average commuting traffic were used to estimate the effects of increases in stair width on choice of the stairs. RESULTS: Average transport rates were higher for the escalator (0.93+/-0.33 passengers s(-1)) than the stairs (0.58+/-0.24 passengers s(-1)). Modelling of the effects of transport rate with multiple regression suggested 40.1% of passengers would use the stairs, a figure close to the observed rate. Using similar calculations, a doubling of width of the stairs could result maximally in a 17.2% increase in stair use. CONCLUSIONS: Changes to the width of stairs could produce a permanent increase in lifestyle physical activity immune to the effects of time on healthy intentions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-2
Number of pages3
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008


  • lifestyle physical activity
  • stair width
  • stair climbing
  • built environment


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