In a recent article on the challenges of commuting in major metropolitan areas, New York Times reporter Christopher Mele turned to transportation expert and Roosevelt House Kheel Fellow Sam Schwartz for his input.
The article, entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Walk on Escalators,” questions the value of walking, rather than standing, on escalators. After considering expert testimony and the results of recent studies, Mele concludes that walking on escalators is both less safe and less efficient than standing. However, the desire on the part of commuters to keep moving presents a challenge, and motivated by a sense of urgency, some experts are not optimistic that behavior will change. Sam Schwartz explains,
“In the U.S., self-interest dominates our behavior on the road, on escalators, and anywhere there is a capacity problem. I don’t believe Americans, any longer (if they ever did), have a rational button.”
Sam Schwartz is the former Traffic Commissioner of New York City and is the inaugural Theodore Kheel Transportation Fellow at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.