When an escalator and a staircase are at close proximity, people chose escalators that are much faster and convenient. This discourages people from making the healthier decision of using staircase.
To make sure that people take the stairs while shopping in a mall or in the metro station, you just have to make sure that the stairs are far, far away from the escalator, said the study published in the journal Environment and Behavior
The study by researchers from Concordia University in Canada and Peking University in China looked at how location, height and traffic volume dictate pedestrian choices.
"Environmental factors have been explicitly identified as having an impact on stair-climbing, including the visibility of the stairway and its width," said study senior author John Zacharias from the University of Peking. "This study shows that staircase location is just as important, and should be factored in when planning new buildings."
The researchers monitored 13 stairways and 12 pairs of escalators in seven connected shopping centers in Montreal Canada.
A total of 33,793 pedestrians were counted ascending or descending over 35 days.
When the researchers examined the data, they found that increasing the distance between a stairway and an escalator by 100 percent accounted for 71 percent of variance when shoppers were going up, and 21 percent of variance when they were going down.
Overall, there is a 95 percent increase in stair use, the study said.