If there are less barriers in public utility vehicles (PUVs), the risk of Covid19 transmission may lower. This is according to a recent study from an Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) team.
Fortunato de la Peña, Science and Technology Secretary, said that physical barriers like face shields or acetate and PUV’s interior layouts have a major effect on airflow.
The study was led by ADMU’s Joel Maquiling, titled “Modeling Embarkation-Disembarkation Behavior and Configuration Settings in Philippine Commuter Buses, Light Rail Transit, and Metro Rail Transit using Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics as Analytical Tools in the Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 Airborne Transmission.”
Analysis of significant disease transmission risk among passengers in light trains and buses was the study’s aim, De La Peña explained.
“Accordingly, current LRT (Light Rail Transit) and MRT (Metro Rail Transit) configurations where seats are arranged at the sides and passengers face each other are found to cause better airflow within the vehicle,” he said, quoting the study’s findings, “compared to the current commuter bus setup.”
Most Philippine passenger buses have seats lined up horizontally, in succession, with passengers facing front.
The project ran from May to October of this year, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. 3D simulations were performed by the team through configurations of the MRT 3, a passenger bus and the LRT Line 2.
According to the project team, passengers should wear masks that are perfectly fit to the face. For them, this is more important than barriers that could end up trapping viral COVID-19 loads.