Many people wonder how safe public transport is during the corona pandemic. A team of researchers from TU Berlin and Charité has now investigated how high the aerosol concentration is there.
The journey with the public transport in Berlin remains also during the Corona-Pandemie safe – for passengers and drivers. This is confirmed by a current study by the Experimental Fluid Mechanics Department at the Technical University of Berlin and the Laboratory for Biofluid Mechanics at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
A team of scientists commissioned the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) experimentally investigated the spread of aerosols in various Berlin subways, trams and buses.
Researchers studied aerosol spread in public transport vehicles
For the experiment, the researchers used artificial theater fog and aerosol measurements, in which breathing air contaminated with viruses was simulated and inhaled by human-like dolls.
The result: the vehicle ventilation as well as the targeted opening of windows and doors ensured an effective reduction of the aerosol concentration by up to 80 percent. The partition panes in the buses effectively prevented the aerosols from spreading from the passenger compartment to the driver’s workstation. The risk of infection with the Coronavirus is therefore rather low, according to the researchers.
“We were very pleased that our newly developed measurement technology was able to help assess the spread of aerosols in local public transport and thus the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2. We were able to show that the ventilation systems and the opening of the windows and Doors reduce the aerosol concentration in the considered means of transport very significantly “, explained Prof. Christian Oliver Paschereit from the TU Berlin.
The investigation did not take into account the additional positive influence of medical masks as they are currently worn by passengers.
Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe were pleased with the results
“The use of buses and trains does not represent an increased risk of infection. With a mask, distance and good ventilation, we can continue to travel safely together,” said BVG CEO Eva Kreienkamp.
The findings are now to be used to use the ventilation and the window opening in an even more targeted manner in order to further reduce the aerosol concentration.