Are Elevator Up & Down Buttons Obsolete?

by Michael W. Lind on April 1, 2011

I recently had to travel in an elevator in a Chicago high rise. What would normally be a mundane event instead turned into an introduction to a new way to select your floor. Instead of the usual up and down buttons outside of the elevator bank, there was a keypad to enter your floor number:

Once you punched in your floor, the display told you which elevator to enter. Inside the elevator door, another display listed all of the stops to be made by that car. After you entered the elevator, there was nothing more to press, other than the close door button:

I was curious about this new way to ride an elevator and a little research turned up this presentation about Compass destination management by Otis Worldwide.

Otis claims that travel times are reduced by up to 50 percent using this floor selection method. Based upon a few trips up and down, that figure seems reasonable. Most rides only had a handful of stops and I never had to ride an elevator that stopped at every floor.

The one drawback I see to this system is the inevitable rider mistake: If you get on the wrong elevator or you select the wrong floor, you have to get out of the elevator to select a new floor!

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