The targeted maximum wait time in office building elevators is 20 seconds—it just feels like 2 minutes when you’re in a rush. But how quickly are the elevators actually moving?
The fastest installed elevator reaches speeds of 67 feet per second (20.5 meters per second), or 46 miles per hour (73.8 kilometers per hour) in the Shanghai Tower. Not only does the Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower boast the fastest elevator, but also the longest continuous run of 1,898 feet of the 2,073-foot tower (578.5 of 632 meters), as revealed in a recent study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). At these speeds, you can reach the 119th floor in 55 seconds.
Runners-up in the fastest elevator race are the CTF Finance Center, at a speed of 65 feet per second (20 meters per second) and Taipei 101, reaching a peak speed of at 55 feet per second (16.8 meters per second). Rounding out the top 5 are the Landmark Tower in Yokohama, accelerating to 41 feet per second (12.5 meters per second) and Two International Finance Center designed by Cesar Pelli at 35 feet per second (10.6 meters per second).
Surprisingly, only two of the fastest elevators top the charts for the tallest continuous elevator runs. As mentioned, the Shanghai Tower has the longest run, while the CTF Finance center has the third-longest run, covering 1,695 feet of the 1,739-foot tower (516.7 of 530 meters). The Ping An Finance Center by KPF boasts the second-longest elevator run at 1,881 feet of the 1,965-foot tall tower (573.5 of 599 meters). The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building designed by SOM, has a continuous elevator run of 1,653 feet (504 meters), reaching only sixty percent of the building’s 2,723-foot (830-meter) height. Last on CTBUH's “World’s Five Tallest Continuous Elevator Runs” report is the 1,821-foot (555-meter)-tall Lotte World Tower in Seoul, with a 1,627-foot (496-meter) continuous elevator run taking one minute to ride from bottom to top.
And because what goes up, must come down, the world’s deepest elevator also receives a mention in the CTBUH report, descending 1,148 feet (350 meters) at the KONE elevator testing facility in Tytyri, Finland. To see all the numbers behind the world's fastest and tallest elevators, check out the report at CTBUH.