In a frenzy to safeguard passengers, public transport operators have rolled out a host of innovative, tech-driven hygiene, health and safety solutions. Spawned by the coronavirus crisis, many of these best practices are likely to be retained in the future.
To avoid exposing cleaning staff to the virus, ‘vaporised hydrogen peroxide’ robots have been deployed to disinfect trains. It now takes just seven minutes to clean each carriage!
In June, Transport for Greater Manchester and Humanising Autonomy, a predictive AI startup, began analysing passenger behaviour on public transport to measure the effectiveness of physical distancing and improve passenger safety.
10 minutes is the time slot passengers had to book in advance online to be able to use the Beijing metro (system trialled at two stations in March).
STIVO: this is the text message passengers can send to the 93100 hotline to purchase a bus ticket in the Greater Paris region, helping reduce contact between drivers and passengers.
New York City
To fight Covid-19, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority piloted new cleaning techniques based on antimicrobial biostats, innovative air filters, ultraviolet light and electrostatic sprays to disinfect its subway carriages.
Is a basic thermal camera the key to detecting people with Covid-19 symptoms? A full-scale trial was conducted at the Alexanderplatz station in the Berlin metro in March.
4. Frugal innovation
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. The transport sector has also been inspired by “common sense” innovation to improve passenger safety.
To avoid passengers having to touch door handles or buttons, all tram, train and bus doors in the TMB network open automatically at every stop.
Many taxis and ride-hailing operators have installed protective screens in their vehicles. CaoCao, a newcomer to the Paris ride-hailing market, has kept the original plexiglass dividers in its vehicles, which are all former London black cabs.