If you've ever taken the Tube in London (or indeed the subway in any big city) during rush hour, you'll probably have found yourself in a swarm of people at the base of a long escalator. And Heaven forfend you break the cardinal rule: if you're not walking up the escalator on the left side, you'd better be standing on the right (or expect some severe tutting behind you).
But as it turns out, letting commuters in a hurry pass on the left isn't the most efficient way to get the rush-hour crowd out of the station. Especially on long escalators, leaving the left side mostly open for the stair-striders significantly reduces the throughput of the escalator. Simply having all commuters stand intwo lines, on the left and right sides, increases throughput by a whopping 28% 38% and reduces crowding in the station.
Read the full story of how Transport for London changed behaviours on escalators at Holdborn station in the Guardian article, The tube at a standstill: why TfL stopped people walking up the escalators (via Paul Kedrosky).
That's all for this week. See you back here on the blog on Monday!