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

Frank F. Eves*, Amanda L. Lewis, Carl Griffin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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)270-272
Number of pages3
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008


  • Built environment
  • Lifestyle physical activity
  • Stair climbing
  • Stair width


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