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Accelerating Moving Walkway For Efficient Urban Transportation

Raised of $4,000 Goal
Ended on 1/12/17
Campaign Ended
  • $0
  • 0%
  • Finished
    on 1/12/17

About This Project

This accelerating moving walkway improves over existing designs as it offers greater speed, acceleration control, safety, and operating efficiency. The higher top speed, compact size, continuous operation, and ability bend in three axes gives this the walkway advantages over buses, trams, and subways.

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What is the context of this research?

Various designs for accelerating moving walkways have been proposed, and a limited number have been installed. Most use complex mechanical solutions that are expensive to produce and maintain, lack fine-tuned acceleration control, and are unable to attain higher speeds. Existing designs also have stationary side walls that may cause riders to lose balance upon contact, and have discontinuous handrails. This research presents a solution that reduces mechanical complexity, increases top speed, offers more fine-tuned acceleration control, and envelopes riders in a standing, sidewall, and handrail surface that moves at the same speed, therefore producing higher levels of safety.

What is the significance of this project?

Urban congestion wastes time, energy, and productivity. Many cities are not suited to, or are unable to afford subway systems, and need alternative mass transportation solutions that can move on, above, or below street level. A moving walkway provides high throughout and a pedestrian experience of the urban environment, leading to vital and social cities.

What are the goals of the project?

The accelerating moving walkway has been designed, and a provisional patent application has been submitted. Prototyping is now needed to test the feasibility of the design, and to prove it's viability. This will enable it to be presented to potential licensees/manufacturers. The design uses linear induction indiction motors (similar to an electric motor, but laid out flat) with closed-loop feedback for precise speed and acceleration control. This system provides energy efficiency, safety, and few moving parts to lower maintenance


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The budget is for prototyping used to test the operation of the accelerating moving walkway. The costs listed (frame, belt, motors, sensors, control system) are for purchase of the materials needed to construct the accelerating moving walkway prototype. No costs are listed for labor, space, or overhead.

Endorsed by

This is a very exciting project on improved energy efficiency in pedestrian-oriented cities to achieve more social engagement amongst us. The proposed walkway concept is a new mode of transportation, which is more compact and configurable to interweave through the urban space while offering shorter door-to-door commute times. The technology uses linear induction motors with closed-loop control and an enveloping belt that combines safety with reliable, low-maintenance operation.

Meet the Team

David Rockwood
David Rockwood


University of Hawaii at Manoa
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David Rockwood

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and enjoyed working on various projects with my father who was an electrical engineer (educated at Cal Tech, MIT, and Bell Labs) and Executive VP of manufacturing with an electronics company). I completed my graduate degree at Princeton University and am a full professor and director of the Construction Process Innovation Lab at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture. I have been actively seeking solutions for more efficient and sustainable urban transportation. Recent inventions include an accelerating moving walkway and a continuously variable bicycle transmission. I believe transportation is one of the key challenges that cities face now. This challenge will only increase given the worldwide trend of rapid urbanization. With effective public transportation, cities offer a higher quality of life, reduce energy consumption, noise, pollution, and enjoy greater economic prosperity.

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