An independent study has found the in-built ventilation system on Metrolink trams helps limit the risk of aerosol transmission of viruses such as COVID-19
Consultancy firm Arup was commissioned by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to carry out the study on its M5000 trams.
The study looked at the circulation of the airflow in the vehicle and how this is affected with factors such as masks, and opening windows.
The trams have fresh air circulating with fans on the roof and air diffusers in the ceiling, with air exhausted from under-seat vent holes.
Around 20 air changes per hour take place when the system is operating at half its capacity which is better than the recommendation in a recent paper from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE)
The study also found a two thirds reduction in the risk of infection by passengers wearing face coverings.
TfGM has an enhanced cleaning programme on its trams, using antivirual products on touch points, hand sanitiser dispensers at busy stops and signage to promote social distancing.
TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan, said: “The safety of all those using Metrolink has, and will continue to be, our number one priority and the more we understand about how the virus is transmitted, the more effective our efforts in combating it can be.”
“Studies like this and the recent study by Imperial College London on the effectiveness of cleaning regimes – like we have on Metrolink – demonstrate how we and our partners across the transport industry are taking an evidence-based approach to ensuring safer travel.”
“With Step 2 of government’s road map now in place I hope these studies, coupled with robust cleaning and other additional measures we’ve introduced, help make people feel safe and confident as they return to our network.”
The Arup project lead, Paul Lynch, said: “Both as an engineer and a user of the Metrolink network, it has been reassuring to discover how well ventilated Metrolink vehicles can be, and also how engaged TfGM are in understanding the different modes of transmission and how to reduce the risks for passengers.”
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