General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Does the direction of an escalator mirror the direction of traffic?

Asked by AstroChuck (37566points) July 21st, 2008

This should be easy enough to answer.
Here in the US we drive on the right just as the majority of the world does. Escalators usually do the same. If you are the rider then you ride on the right and those traveling in the opposite direction are to your left. I am guessing it is the other way around in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan, and other countries where vehicles drive on the left.
If you are from one of these countries or just know the answer then please let me know. Just curious about things like this.

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6 Answers

cheebdragon's avatar

i think its more of an up down kinda thing

jonno's avatar


However, the side that people stand on the escalator itself (to allow people in a hurry to pass by) can sometimes deviate from traffic rules. In Australia, people stand on escalator on the left-side to allow people to pass them on the right, just like in traffic. But, for example, in the London Underground, people do the opposite, even though both Australia and England drive on the left and overtake on the right.

AstroChuck's avatar

@cheeb – I don’t understand what you mean by an up down kinda thing. In the US the direction you are going is always on the right, whether you are going up an escalator or whether you are going down.
@jonno- I don’t mean what side you stand on while riding an escalator. What I mean is when you walk up to elevators are you boarding the one on the left or the one on the right? Which one is heading in the direction that you are traveling?

jonno's avatar

That’s what I meant with the “yes” – the direction of an escalator does mirror the direction of traffic (where practical, of course), at least with all the ones I’ve seen.

The second paragraph was just something else I thought might be interesting as well, while we are on the topic of escalators + traffic direction.

Sorry if there was a bit of a misunderstanding.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

I never noticed that before but now picturing the places I shop that have them I realize that that is the case. Interesting.

EdMayhew's avatar

In the UK it’s abstract and does not relate to traffic, and not all escalators have the overtaking rule, just some.


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