Moving walkways can transport people safely and smoothly over short distances on the ground level or inclined between two floors of a building. They are similar to escalators in their function but operate at a slower pace. When people step onto the conveyor, it begins to roll. Walkways always come in pairs with opposite rolling directions and have moving safety handrails beside them. These handrails roll into an end comb-plate as the walkway ends, providing a safe and secure experience for users. According to Inkwood Research, the global airport moving walkway systems market was valued at $2536.90 million in 2023 and is expected to reach $3956.77 million by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 4.84% during the forecast period 2024-2032.
The incorporation of state-of-the-art technologies into airport moving walkway systems is one significant factor contributing to the creation of smart connectivity, which is altering travel experiences as airports continue to embrace the digital era.
In this blog, we look at how smart connectivity is starting to appear in these systems and what advantages it has for travelers and airport operations.
Presently, where are we?
Many have experienced travelers in airports, during trips, and at shopping centers, museums, zoos, or theme parks. However, these are basic, slow, and short-distance versions. Are there advanced systems for longer-distance people transport?
ThyssenKrupp’s system at Pearson International Airport in Toronto (watch video) operates at 2km/h initially, accelerating to 7km/h and decelerating at the end. While 7km/h is not high speed, it addresses the challenge of boarding and alighting from a travellator. ThyssenKrupp’s recent announcement introduces the successor, a maglev system enabling walking at 12km/h—a notable step forward, though still distant from the 100km/h+ envisioned in science fiction.
The following section elaborates on the fundamental shift brought about by smart connectivity in these systems, supported by insights from sources in the aviation industry.
- Infrastructure by the Internet of Things (IoT)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognizes the transformative power of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the aviation sector. IoT sensors and gadgets are being included in moving walkway systems, enabling real-time data collecting and analysis. Airports can now monitor and optimize these systems’ performance with unprecedented precision because of this connectivity, which improves overall operational efficiency.
- Elements to Improve Passenger Experience
On moving walkway systems, smart connectivity has brought in a new era of passenger engagement. Airport technology places a strong emphasis on integrating interactive elements, including entertainment choices, wayfinding support, and educational displays. This not only makes the routine task of moving between terminals more enjoyable, but it also makes the passenger experience unforgettable.
- Customized with RFID Technology and Mobile Apps
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) acknowledges the value of customization in the aviation sector. Moving walkway systems with intelligent connections can use RFID technology to deliver customized services and interface with mobile apps. Travelers’ travel through the airport can be made more convenient by receiving personalized experiences, targeted information, and even instructions.
- Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
Sustainability has grown into a key consideration in airport design, not just a trendy term. The Airport Carbon Accreditation program emphasizes how moving walkway systems support energy-saving efforts. These systems’ smart connectivity enables them to optimize energy use, which lowers their environmental effect and is in line with airports’ larger sustainability objectives.
- Real-Time Monitoring
Real-time monitoring is critical for airports that aim for flawless operations. ACI emphasizes the importance of operational efficiency in airport management. The implementation of smart connectivity guarantees round-the-clock monitoring of moving walkway systems, facilitating prompt resolution of any potential problems and eventually enhancing passenger flow and operating efficiency.
As smart connectivity becomes increasingly ingrained in the fabric of airport operations, moving walkway systems emerge not just as conveyors of passengers but as integral components of a connected and responsive travel experience. The marriage of technology and transportation is propelling airports into a new era, where every step on a moving walkway is a testament to the power of innovation in the world of air travel. Smart connectivity is thus a lucrative aspect to leverage in the global airport moving walkway systems market.
Pallet type and moving belt are the two primary types of moving walkways. Moving walkways of the pallet type are constructed from a number of joined metal plates that are paired to form a walkway.
A flat conveyor belt that is powered by an electric motor and runs continually in a loop is what makes up a travellator, frequently referred to as a moving walkway. The travellator allows users to stand or walk while the belt moves at a steady pace, usually 0.5 to 1 meter per second.