Walkers vs. Standers on Escalators

Common etiquette says that we should stand on the right side of an escalator, so people who are in a hurry can walk past on the left. However, studies show that this method is neither efficient nor safe. So how did we come up with this system, and why is it so hard to get people to change? -via Laughing Squid

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There have been numerous road traffic studies that show methods that improve travel times for everyone involved... but are completely unusable because they will make people feel like they are spending more time waiting. For a lot of systems it isn't about how efficient it actually is, but how people feel.
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In Australia, we stand on the left and walk on the right! While I can see how having everyone stand might be better for everyone, on the odd occasion when I'm in a hurry, it would be torture just standing there the whole way! I'd probably choose to take the stairs
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