The art and science of ‘Elevatoring’

April 16, 2008

Typical Elevator PanelElevators go up and they go down. Not very interesting are they?

Actually, there are some changes afoot in the elevator industry that are quite fascinating such as the proliferation of gigantic skyscrapers being built across the globe. But, aside from this video of a man trapped in an elevator for 41 hours, what caught my eye in this article in The New Yorker was the discussion of analytics being applied by elevator consultants, a practice known as ‘Elevatoring.’

Elevatoring practitioners are employed by architects to determine the correct number, size, speed, and layout of elevators in a new building. Get it wrong and the building is doomed. Elevatorists (is that a word?) must apply predictive analytic techniques to get the design just right. How a building will be used is important, but so is cultural nuance. All kinds of variables must be considered. For example, people get very upset if they have to wait more than 20 seconds for an elevator in an office building, while they will tolerate 30 or 40 seconds in a hotel or apartment building.

Here are a few more interesting facts:

  • Probable stop rule of thumb: 10 people in an elevator serving 10 floors will make 6.5 stops. 10 people in an elevator serving 30 floors; 9.5 stops.
  • There should be enough elevators operating efficiently enough to move 13% of the occupants of a building within 5 minutes.
  • Standard elevator measure is about 2 square feet per person.
  • People in Asia will tolerate less personal space than people in the U.S. and willingly cram onto elevators at much greater density rates.

Anyway, if you can find a few minutes to read this quite lengthy article I guarantee you will never look at elevators in the same way again.

(Found via Kottke)

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