Menu Close

What is a Passenger Lift?

Moving people from place to place is one of the biggest features of all human infrastructure. If you look out of the window right now, you’ll see a road or pavement or railway, all designed to make sure that people get to where they need to be. However, none of these solutions gets people off the ground and into higher places. Find out more about what the passenger lift is, different types of passenger lifts, and why a passenger lift is so important in modern society.

What is a passenger lift?

Defining a passenger lift is a fairly simple process. This consists of a lift car that travels vertically within a lift shaft, moving people from floor to floor relatively quickly. Types of lift vary, with some very specifically moving slowly for stability and others moving people at speeds of over 60 kilometres per hour. The basic concept behind both of these lifts is the same, with the main goal being to move people up and down the vertical plane to different levels of a building.

Types of passenger lift

It might surprise you to hear that there are several different types of passenger lifts. The types of passenger lifts, with some of the more novel options, include:


A standard lift is an enclosed space which uses a system of propulsion to travel vertically in a controlled manner. There are several different types of standard lifts, with unique ways of powering the movement. These include:

· Traction Elevators:

Using ropes that pass over a wheel, powered by a motor that is housed in a machine room. This uses a counterweight to make the process more efficient.

· Machine Room-less Elevators (MRL):

These use the same system as a traction elevator, and simply host the motors in override space at the top and bottom of the shaft.

· Hydraulic Elevators:

Hydraulic elevators use a piston to push the cabin up and down. These are typically used in low-rise buildings due to their short range, and operate at a low speed.

· Pneumatic Elevators:

Pneumatic elevators use the power of air pressure, with negative air pressure above a cabin pulling the cabin up or lowering it down. This elevator has strict weight limits.


A Paternoster elevator is a unique kind of elevator that goes in a cycle, with an open front and cabins that have relatively small sizes. Running in a wheel shape, one side always goes up and the other always goes down. These are relatively rare due to the low energy efficiency of the system.


In some instances, lifts are required to go both vertically and horizontally. This includes the Schmidt Peoplemover and the Ascensore Castello d’Albertis-Montegalletto, both of which work both horizontally and vertically. These are complex systems and are only necessary for relatively few circumstances.

Why a passenger lift is so important

Passenger lifts play an essential role in modern society, perhaps a greater one than you would think. Find out more about why a passenger lift is important and how passenger lifts are supporting the growth of the modern city:

Supporting the disabled

One of the first major benefits of using a passenger lift is the way that it. Without lifts, people would be stuck using the stairs, and people that have mobility issues would be unable to reach any level of a building that isn’t the ground floor. Some areas of natural beauty are also making use of elevators, meaning that people that are stuck in wheelchairs or suffer from other mobility issues can take in everything that the world around them has to offer rather than simply looking at photographs.

Enabling even greater expansion

It is in humanity’s nature to grow and continue to do so until we can grow no further. The introduction of the passenger lift has introduced a completely new domain for us to grow into, that being into the sky. The planned Jeddah Tower will reach a kilometre into the sky and make space that simply wouldn’t exist on the ground, with cities such as London expanding upwards rather than outwards to make the most of the space that we have available to us. Without passenger lifts, we would be stuck developing lots of shorter buildings thanks to the need to use stairs.


Lots of people use lifts for a very simple reason, convenience. Using a lift means that you don’t have to climb the stairs and expend energy that you might not have if you’re having a difficult morning, improving your day just a little bit. In these cases, passenger lifts don’t have a revolutionary impact on how your day goes but can make the difference between a good day and a bad one.