We’re all used to how elevators work, right? In the elevator bank you push the up or down button, an elevator car shows up with an indicator for which direction it is going, you step in, you select your floor, eventually you get out. Obviously small variances if the desired buttons are already pushed, that is, you get in, you get out.
But have you used the system where you select the desired floor before you get in the elevator? There are two main goals of elevator systems that work this way, 1) coordinate where the cars are better and the movement between floors, and 2) learn traffic patterns for the building and get a few cars to certain floors / areas during peak times.
Here’s the process to use the new system: select your floor from the console in the elevator bank, watch for assigned elevator car (each are labeled in this new system), elevator car shows up with an indicator of which floors it’s going to, get in, eventually get out.
It’s simple in theory. However, in practice there are some glaring glitches. And as I’ve seen the installation in two separate buildings I feel I have some insight:
- After selecting your floor from the console you have to wait a couple of seconds to know which elevator you are assigned. Unfortunately, most people do not move out of the way after they’ve been assigned or didn’t look to see which car they’ve been assigned.
- People not moving out of the way so others can then select their floor. Do I really need to explain the problem here?
- If someone doesn’t look or forgets (they could have a lot on their mind), they then have to go look at every car which shows up to know if it’s their elevator. This causes a little bit of congestion similar to people not looking at which train showed up and starting to get on then looking and realizing it’s not for them.
- When you first go to the elevator bank and there are others there, you still have to push your floor as you don’t know if they pushed a button, if they are going the same direction as you, or if they are going to the same floor as you (in some cases you don’t, but it’s best you do). Not a big problem, but we’re back at pushing the button and people not moving from the console.
- When an elevator car does show up, you only know it’s there, you are not aware of the direction or exact floors it is going to. So everyone rushes towards it. Then, when the doors open the destination floors are displayed and people either stop or try to move out of each others’ way without actually looking to see where they should go (the old someone turns right in front of you while walking because they didn’t look).
There is a simple two-fold solution for these annoyances:
- Have a board similar to bus stations / airports which has the elevator car label and the floors it will be stopping on
- Have smaller boards on the side or above each elevator indicating where it’s going.
On both boards you only indicate which floors an elevator is going to if it is stopping on the current floor. It does not help anyone on floor 4 to know elevator A is going to the Lobby if it’s not also stopping on floor 4 to pick them up. Exactly what does this solve?
- People know if an elevator car is coming to their current floor.
- People know if an elevator car is going to their destination floor.
- People can congragate in appropriate areas and lessen the chance of hindering each other.
Take away: displays are useful, use them.