The World’s Fastest Elevators

In 1857, in New York City, the Otis Elevator Company installed the first commercial passenger elevator. It was high-tech stuff, climbing the heights at a staggering rate of 40 feet per minute. It was a modern-day marvel, for its day.

Fast forward to 2015, and you’ll find countries around the world racing to build ever taller skyscrapers. This has given birth to an unofficial competition among elevator manufacturers to develop a new generation of elevators to keep pace with the size of these new buildings. To keep up, elevator makers such as Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Toshiba have looked to improved technology. Manufacturers are putting new motors and advanced air pressure systems to use, allowing them to move people higher and faster.

If you’re looking to take a ride on one of the fastest elevators in the world, you’ll have to do a bit of traveling. Here are the top elevators that will satisfy your need for speed:

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

A set of twin elevators in this tower top the list with a speed of 3,313 feet per minute, or 37.7 mph. At this speed, it takes a full 30 seconds to travel from the ground floor up to the roof, located 1,670 feet above. Toshiba supplied these two high-speed elevators to the Taipei 101 Tower, at a cost of more than $2 million.

Yokohama Landmark Tower, Yokohama, Japan

This impressive tower has an elevator bank of 79 elevators total and includes the fastest elevator in Japan. Its impressive speed also places it in the list of the fastest elevators in the world. Mitsubishi supplied the elevators for the Yokohama Landmark Tower, which reaches a height of 971 feet. The elevator moves people up and down inside the building at an impressive rate of 2,460 feet per minute, or 28 mph. That translates into 24 seconds of your life to get you from the ground floor, up the 971 feet to the top of this imposing tower.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The double-decker elevators in this amazing tower have a capacity of 12 to 14 people per cabin. Racing at a speed of 1,968.5 feet per minute, or 22 mph, these Otis-built elevators will whisk you up the 2,717 feet, from ground floor to roof, in a short 1 minute, 22 seconds.

Sunshine 60 Building, Tokyo, Japan

There is a popular observation deck at the top of the Sunshine 60 Building in Tokyo. On a clear day, visitors can see as far as 62 miles. Supplied by Mitsubishi, this elevator will lift you from the ground floor, upward 787 feet to the roof, in 24 seconds. That means you’re traveling at a speed of 1,968.5 feet per minute, or 22 mph.

John Hancock Center, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Those who are adventurous can take the stairs at the John Hancock Center, walking up the 1,632 steps to the Observatory above. Those not interested in a workout can take the Otis elevator, traveling at a speed of 1,801 feet per minute, or 20.5 mph, to travel the 1,129 feet to the Observatory in 38 seconds.