Moving Walkways is a perspective viewing change and resource management. Future articles will build on the foundational terms in this article.

The Jetson’s did a fine job of subliminally implanting the idea of “slidewalks”—high-speed interconnected transportation platforms that took all the pain and worry out of life.

Moving Walkways are only rarely used in the real world—they are problematic, expensive, and take a lot of space. When useful, however, they become a fantastic way to move long distances without much effort.

Airports are perhaps the most commonly seen application for Moving Walkways—long hikes while hauling luggage can be exhausting—especially when travelling with children. Rather than walking a half a mile between distant gates, entering a Moving Walkway can allow you to set down your belongings and rest while the walkway moves for you. For the hurried traveler, they can run along the Moving Walkway and multiply their normal possible speed.

The first time I encountered a series of parallel walkways in an airport, I was immediately intrigued. With three separate, parallel walkways moving at increasing speeds, a person could start on a slower walkway (experiencing only a slight jolt with the speed change), walk faster and step sideways to a faster-moving walkway (with a slight jolt with the speed change), and step up the speed on the transition to the third walkway. Had a person tried to step onto the final (3rd) walkway directly from a normal walking pace, it would have been too much difference in speed—a fall or crash would be likely. (Of course, when exiting the walkway, a person must also STEP DOWN their speed for a comfortable exit.)

Moving from a surface to one that is a different speed is uncomfortable, but there is a “safe” differential for nearly every situation. If a human is walking, that differential is significantly different than if the individual is running. (And different people have different individual capacities for speed while walking!)

Moving Walkways Key Terms:

  • Comfort Zone
  • Momentum
  • Goal
  • Delta
  • Effort
  • Potential Drama

Three main factors are used to calculate the “Potential Drama” of any speed change. In a real-world, physical Moving Walkway scenario, the variables play out this way:

  1. The current speed of an object – Comfort Zone
  2. The mass of the object combined with physical abilities – Momentum
  3. The target speed of the object – Goal

The Delta is the amount of change required to achieve our Goal. The formula looks like this:

Delta = (Goal – Comfort Zone)

The Momentum is a variable designed to affect the DIFFICULTY of our Delta. The formula looks like this:

Effort = (Delta / Momentum)

For purposes of our metaphor, we want to ensure that the Effort required to meet our Goal is within human capabilities. Because we care about resources, we also want to minimize Effort.

If the Effort required to meet our Goal is too much for the available resources, then decisions must be made. Possible decisions might be:

  • Increase capacity by upgrading our Comfort Zone (learn, upgrade, train, increase resources)
  • Adjust our Goal to reduce Delta
  • Add interim Moving Walkways—this makes our Delta more gradual between each Walkway
  • Don’t use the Walkway (the ROI is too low to overcome the challenges)—find a train, bus, or truck to get the job done instead

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