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Metro train passengers are at a low risk of being exposed to the coronavirus, but mitigation measures can further lower the risk, according to simulations undertaken by the universities of Leeds and Manchester and the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory.
The Transmission of Virus in Carriages computer model has been developed to determine the risk of exposure to the virus from being within 2 m of an infectious person, from aerosol inhalation and from touching contaminated surfaces.
Simulations were based on typical metro parameters, using London Underground journey data from weekdays in 2015. A low exposure was found in most scenarios, with the highest risks coming from aerosol inhalation and direct droplets in close proximity to an infected person.
The study suggests:
The computer model was developed as part of the £1·7m TRACK investigation into Covid-19 risks on trains, trams and buses which is funded by the Department for Transport and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council.
‘Measuring transmission on public transport systems is challenging’, explained Dr Martin Lopez-Garcia, a mathematical modeller at the University of Leeds, when the report was published on February 8. ‘Our model provides an insight into the different factors that are likely to influence risk and should be used to effectively plan strategies that reduce the transmission of the virus.’
Principal Investigator Professor Cath Noakes of University of Leeds said ‘where journeys are short and not overcrowded, and the carriage is well ventilated, then the risks are likely to be quite low. Wearing a face covering can significantly reduce the risk of the virus spreading, particularly as it can be harder to socially distance in a tube or subway carriage at certain times of the day.’
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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