An escalator is a moving staircase – a conveyor transport device for carrying people between floors of a building. The device consists of a motor-driven chain of individually linked steps that move up or down on tracks, allowing the step treads to remain horizontal.
Escalators are used around the world to move pedestrian traffic in places where elevators would be impractical. Principal areas of usage include department stores, shopping malls, airports, transit systems, convention centers, hotels, arenas, stadiums, train stations (subways) and public buildings.
Escalators have the capacity to move large numbers of people, and they can be placed in the same physical space as a staircase. They have no waiting interval (except during very heavy traffic), they can be used to guide people toward main exits or special exhibits, and they may be weatherproofed for outdoor use. A non-functioning escalator can function as a normal staircase, whereas many other conveyances become useless when they break down.