Virus Transport Aboard a Public Bus

The outbreak and spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) and previous outbreaks of H1N1 influenza virus and similar event as related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have increased the urgency of further understanding and modeling of how viruses are transported aboard the public transportation system and any mitigation process that needs to be implemented to minimize their spread and impacts. Our previous investigation focused on virus transport aboard a regional jet from an infected host has shown that the ventilation system has a strong effect on virus/aerosol transport. For a commuter jet having cabin air supply through two axial ceiling exhaust slots across the aisle, while air recirculation disperses the viruses released to the front and rear rows quickly, however, it prevents dispersion of the particles to the other side of the aisle. The goal of the proposed project is to model a public bus with a corresponding ventilation system and simulate the transient release of viruses from an infected host at different locations, and assess the virus’s concentration at different times to understand the level of exposure to the passenger aboard the bus. Further simulations will include air exchange during the bus stop when the doors are opened. We anticipate these results will be the baseline data for future field tests in partnership with the Long Beach Transit (LBT) for verification of the numerical results, development of a dispersion model, and possible recommendation(s) for adjustment of the ventilation system to minimize passenger exposure.

Principal Investigator: 

Hamid Rahai

PI Contact Information:
California State University, Long Beach

Project Number: