Virtual Study Group: Reducing the Risk of Covid-19 Transmission on Trains

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the rail industry is looking to develop methods that can quantify the risk of transmission on trains, for both passengers and staff. Interested researchers are invited to join the three day study group to explore how can mathematical sciences help solve the challenge.

Event Details

11/01/2021 - 13/01/2021

09.30 - 17.30



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The use of the UK National Rail fell as low as 4% in late April 2020 (as compared with equivalent week in 2019), and it is currently operating at around 30%. The rail industry has been working hard to attract passengers back to rail; in order to instill confidence in the public travelling methods, it is vital to develop methods that can quantify the risk of transmission on a train in numerous operating circumstances.

A project known as TRACK (Transport Risk Assessment for COVID Knowledge) is looking to create models that will quantify the level of risk faced by passengers and transport staff. This work will involve detailed simulations of the way the virus could potentially spread through airflow, from touching contaminated surfaces and being close, to someone infected with the virus.

There are currently many different operating scenarios which trains are used under, and it is not feasible nor sensible to simulate them all. Mathematical science can provide tools for how to explore such a large possibility space, and help focus the use for detailed simulations.

About this event

This Study Group aims to convene researchers, and industry and policy stakeholders to provide further insight into the challenge through a wide variety of mathematical approaches.

The proposed structure of the Study Group will consider three scales:

  • Scale 1: Modelling of a carriage: controls e.g. airflow, seating design, passenger allocation to seats
  • Scale 2: Modelling of a journey: static, dynamic, passenger movement, passengers getting on and off
  • Scale 3: Scheduling across the country, passenger allocation to trains; High times of rail usage (e.g. start of university term); Resilience of schedule based on outbreak

Researchers are invited to complete the expression of interest registration form below. Please note, we are only accepting researchers from UK universities for this Study Group.


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