NYC MTA Installs Energy-Efficient Escalators

NYC Escalator Photo

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The NYC Metro Transit Authority (MTA) upgraded 35 escalators around NYC this week in a test-run to see if energy-efficient escalators save money and cut down on maintenance. The new escalators run with infrared motion sensors on each end and when a rider trips them they speed up to normal speeds, but when no one is on them, they slow down to 15 feet per minute. Normal operating speed is 100 feet per minute.

MTA estimates that this new technology will save at least $1,800 per year, per escalator and extend the life of each escalator by 11 to 33%. Treehugger Forums recently chatted about whether escalators should just be turned off to save energy and money.The technology, referred to as "intermittent mode" or "sleep mode" is nothing new, as it’s widely used in Europe and Asia. But, as the MTA can’t change all the escalators out at once, and since the average lifespan of an escalator is 35 years, it’ll be awhile before all the escalators are upgraded. The NYC stations undergoing upgrade include Roosevelt Island, 34th Street-Herald Square, Jamaica Van-Wyck, and Jamaica Center – Parsons/Archer.

Granted, taking the stairs uses no electricity and is better for overall health, but for those carrying luggage to the airport or with bad knees, sometimes an escalator can come in handy. MTA hopes that this will also help with wear and tear in the machines, hopefully making these escalators less maintenance-needy. Currently each escalator averages 68 breakdowns a year, according to the New York Times. These new escalators cant be any worse, right? Or at least they’ll save electricity when they’re out of operation?

Thanks to tipster Second Ave Sagas
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