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University of Alberta Student Creates Escalator Update Site

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An escalator from the University of Alberta, courtesy of The Gateway.

An engineering student at the University of Alberta in Canada created a website that keeps track of escalator outages at the university, according to an article by the student media group The Gateway. Jordan Schulz had the idea one morning when he was bored in a lecture class in 2013. He came across a social media post of a student who was complaining about the university escalators, which have been known to break down. Schulz had just completed an eight-month summer co-op term for the City of Edmonton’s light rail transport (LRT) a few months before, so he was very familiar with LRT information. “There I was, sitting at an 8 a.m. lecture, bored out of my mind — and on my phone — and I thought, ‘you know what? I have this information, we could just put it on a website,’” said Schulz. “And I literally just bought the domain on my phone in class. It’s just a fun, kind of a spur-of-the-moment type thing.” The website is connected directly to publicly available information and updates every 10 min. If all escalators are working correctly, the site will display a “Yup” message. If not, it will display a “Nope” message and will list which escalator is out of order. Schulz eventually expanded the project to include a second site that gives a full update on each of the escalators’ and elevators’ statuses, which helps people with accessibility issues. The original website has been visited and shared by students at the University of Alberta, a fact which makes Schulz smile. “I don’t know how these random people on Reddit come across it, but when they do, I’ll see it and it gives me a little chuckle,” said Schulz. “When people stumble across it, it’s kind of like a little Easter egg at the U of A.”

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