The periodic reversing of escalators will reduce the wear of chains, gears and sprockets in escalators or moving walks over a long period of time, because the wear amount is dispersed and balanced between various friction and wear points. Therefore, changing the direction of the escalator will help to extend the service life of these components and may reduce the replacement cost of the life cycle. However, this may not always apply to all situations.
The owners of escalators and moving walks may sometimes decide to change the travel direction of their equipment, such as changing the passenger flow of shopping malls so that businesses can receive customers to the maximum extent, or when the escalators are overhauled, modernized or replaced, and the adjacent escalators must adapt to changes in traffic load.
Although escalators and moving walks can change direction, and this seems to be a good measure, it is not a common practice. The design of the area or building where the escalator or moving sidewalk is located and the flow of people also determine whether the direction reversal is appropriate. For example, it is not appropriate to reverse the direction of travel when the escalator or moving sidewalk serves the airport arriving at or leaving the terminal, or when the equipment passes through the safety area.
In some cases, when the passenger guidance and safety space around the escalator or travelator are unfavorable, the direction reversal will cause unnecessary safety risks. This is especially true when escalators suddenly transport many passengers from open areas to narrow areas, as it will promote overcrowding at exit landings and lead to unsafe conditions. Appropriate traffic flow analysis should always be incorporated into the design of escalator or travelator systems to avoid such situations. In addition, aspects such as signage and wayfinding are important to consider and modify as needed to accommodate the opposite - especially in the case of adjacent crisscross layouts.
However, in some cases, reversal of direction is beneficial to traffic flow. For example, the escalator in the stadium will run in one direction before the start of the game to facilitate the audience to enter the building, and then run in reverse after the game to speed up the flow of people out of the building. Other examples include cinemas, theaters, or Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).