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Economics/Escalator Limitations.


Dear Prof Raza

Are there Escalator Limitations regarding it is not recommended above a certain height for Security reasons?.


Hi Prashant,

Thank you for posing this question. I am not an expert in these lines, and an engineer expert may better explain of the "limitations." However, with my little knowledge, I would like to place the following.

First, escalators have some advantages and disadvantages, supposing these are working smoothly without any electricity outage.

ADVANTAGE: Escalators are continuous. Nobody has to wait for the elevator to come and pick him or her up. There is no rush, and there is nobody trying to go ahead of the other for urgency.

DISADVANTAGES: Escalators are usually slower. This is fine for going up one  or two levels. But for going up many levels elevators are far better, quicker and easier.

Secondly, escalators have the disadvantage of carrying materials, pushing a grocery cart (unless otherwise specially designed ones such as in Wall-Mart), and the like.

Thirdly, running escalators is very expensive relative to maintaining elevators. For a rich country like Canada or the U.S., where continuous electricity supply is also ensured, this may not be a problem. However, in a country like India, other than in limited cases, it could be a costly luxury.

As far as height restrictions, I don't think this is any problem. The only problem in costly setup as well as costly use of space. For example, in Sheraton Hotel in Canada you may have escalators running a couple of floors, the height of each floor would be about three times that of the ceiling-to-floor height of an ordinary building. General Motors Head Office in Detroit has floors after floors connected with escalators. However, usually there are elevators to go along with the escalators.

Besides, even if escalators were allowed for several levels, especially when too much traffic is not envisaged, use of elevators can obviate the round-about use of escalators. It would be both tiring and time-consuming if one had to go to the 80th floor of Empire State Building in New York, even if sometimes people have to stand in queue.

Further, big and continuous business requiring heavy traffic is usually done on the first few floors, and there escalators are fine. Say for up to 5 floors in a Sear's complex, you may use escalators, even though very few people would like to take elevators.

So, while there does not seem to be any restrictions on the construction of elevators as to height or levels, the very inconvenience that comes up naturally beyond certain limit may not make it a better proposition to construct elevators.

I hope, Prashant, this gives you some idea about how you may further proceed with your excellent area of study. My best wishes for your success!  


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Eklimur Raza


It appears some students in this website are confused about elasticity of demand and the slope of the demand curve when they are trying to figure out why rectangular hyperbola comes up in case of unitary demand curve. First, they don't know that RH can be depicted in a positive quadrant of price,quantity plane. Secondly, they make the mistake that the slope of RH is constant at -1. Two points could help them: first, e=1 at each and every point of the RH, because the tangent at any point shows lower segment=upper segment (another geometric definition of e); yet slopes at different points,dQ/dP, are different; second, e is not slope but [(Slope)(P/Q)]in absolute terms. Caveat: only if we measure (log P) along the horizontal axis and (log Q) up the vertical axis, can we then say slope equals elasticity --in which case RH on P,Q plane is transformed into a straight-line demand curve [with slope= -tan 45 deg] on (log Q),(logP) plane, and e= -d(log Q)/d(log P). [By the way, logs are not used in college textbooks --although that is helpful in econometric estimation of elasticity viewed as an exponent of P, when demand equation is transformed into log-linear form.] I have not found the geometrical explanation I have given in any textbook followed in undergraduate and college classes in Canada (including the book followed in a university where I taught for a short time and in the book followed in George Brown College, Toronto, where I teach.


About 11 years' teaching economics and business studies, and also English, history and elementary French.Practical experience in a development bank, working with international donor agencies like the World Bank and the ADB. Experience in free-lance journalism, including Canada's "National Post."

I teach micro- and macroeconomics at George Brown College (continuing education), Toronto, ON, Canada.

Many articles and editorials, on different subjects, in English newspapers. Recently an applied Major Research Paper, based on a synthesis of the Solow growth model and the Lewis two-sector model, has be accepted by Ryerson University, Toronto. Professors Thomas Barbiero and Eric Cam, Ryerson University, accepted the paper.

Master degree in Interantional Economics and Finance and diploma with honours in Business Administration from Canada.

Awards and Honors
Received First Prize in an inter-university Literary Contest.

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