TRACK: Transport Risk Assessment for COVID Knowledge

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Civil Engineering

Abstract

Public Transport (PT) patronage is currently well below the norm, but as restart progresses the number of people using transport systems will increase. This could increase COVID-19 infection due to increased proximity and interaction with infected persons and contaminated surfaces. TRACK will develop a novel risk model that can simulate infection risk through three transmission mechanisms (droplet, aerosol, surface contact) within different transport vehicles and operating scenarios.

Our interdisciplinary team will collect new data concerning buses, metro and trains (Leeds, Newcastle, London). We will collect air and surface samples to measure SARS-Cov-2 prevalence together with other human biomarkers as a proxy measure for pathogens. We will characterise user and staff travel behaviour and demographics through surveys and passive data collection to relate PT use to geographic and population sub-group disease prevalence. Quantifying proximity of people and their surface contacts through analysis of transport operator CCTV data will enable simulation of micro-behaviour in the transport system. Physical and computational models will be used to evaluate dispersion of infectious droplets and aerosols with different environmental infection control strategies. Data sources will be combined to develop probability distributions for SARS-CoV-2 exposure and simulate transmission risk through a Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) framework.

Working closely with Department for Transport (DfT) and transport stakeholders, TRACK will provide microbial and user data, targeted guidance and risk planning tools that will directly enable better assessment of infection risks for passengers and staff using surface PT networks, and help policy teams design effective interventions to mitigate transmission

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Findings have been shared with Department for Transport and transport stakeholders who are using the knowledge to directly inform policy and strategy. The work has substantially raised understanding of the role that public transport may play in transmission, informing guidance and practice. It has also raised new questions around long term resilience, standards, operating practice and guidance which has implications for design of transport vehicles through to how they are managed. Findings have also been shared with SAGE and relevant sub-groups and informed aspects of COVID-19 policy such as the social distancing review (Spring 2021) and Plan B (Autumn 2021) and have been shared with Cabinet Office and others in government departments.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Advisory group - cabinet office ventilation
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Covid-19 PT advice
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact Policy reports from TRACK have provided summary information from the research on factors which are likely to affect risks of COVID-19 transmission in public transport and the effectiveness of mitigation measures. This has supported policy decisions around ventilation and face coverings and advice to transport operators on priorities for mitigation.
 
Description RAEng Infection Resilient Environments Pt 1
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to new or Improved professional practice
Impact Report had a rapid impact on COVID-19 response including improved guidance from HSE and BEIS for organisations, establishment of ventilation advisory groups and the commissioning of a follow on piece of work to assess research capability, social benefit, best practice.
URL https://www.raeng.org.uk/policy/policy-projects-and-issues/infection-resilient-environments
 
Description SAGE advice
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Input has informed government policies on public transport risks and mitigation which have directly influenced decisions on public transport and also enabled wider insights into the variability in factors that affect risks.
 
Title Short running title: Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on the subway 
Description This is the underlying dataset which has created the graphs for the journal article entitled: Modelling the factors that influence exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on a subway train carriage. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/Short_running_title_Exposure_to_SARS-CoV-2_on_the_subway/16912...
 
Title Short running title: Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on the subway 
Description This is the underlying dataset which has created the graphs for the journal article entitled: Modelling the factors that influence exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on a subway train carriage. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None to date 
URL https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/Short_running_title_Exposure_to_SARS-CoV-2_on_the_subway/16912...
 
Description PROTECT NCS 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Modelling methods and knowledge developed during TRACK have been used as the basis for modelling of transmission of COVID within workplace environments as part of the PROTECT National Core Study on Transmission. The PROTECT study is a very large national study led by HSE with multiple academic and PSRE partners. The collaboration has been predominantly with DSTL.
Collaborator Contribution Partners have provided modelling expertise and data on transmission as well as provided a general sounding board to support modelling work across both projects. Knowledge gained from modelling within the PROTECT project has influenced the second generation of TRACK models.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description PROTECT NCS 
Organisation Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Department HSE Science Division (HSE-SD)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Modelling methods and knowledge developed during TRACK have been used as the basis for modelling of transmission of COVID within workplace environments as part of the PROTECT National Core Study on Transmission. The PROTECT study is a very large national study led by HSE with multiple academic and PSRE partners. The collaboration has been predominantly with DSTL.
Collaborator Contribution Partners have provided modelling expertise and data on transmission as well as provided a general sounding board to support modelling work across both projects. Knowledge gained from modelling within the PROTECT project has influenced the second generation of TRACK models.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description Act Travelwise event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact An on-line event with the not-for-profit group Act Travelwise introduced the user behaviour and demographics data collection approaches and was used to support recruitment and stakeholder engagement with 27 organisations including leads on organisational travel plans and the NHS.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description CDRC Conference 2022: Inside Consumer Data 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The conference was an opportunity to showcase the work of the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) and set it in its broadest context. Keynote speakers were Lauren Sager Weinstein (Chief Data Officer, Transport for London) and Judith Batchelar OBE (Director of Food Matters International, formerly Director of Sainsbury's Brand). Prof. Susan Grant-Muller presented work from TRACK on the use of new data and technologies within one of the three parallel sessions, focusing on Urban Analytics. The final session was an in-conversation with four early-career researchers about their experiences on the CDRC's training programmes and working on collaborative industry/academic projects. The presentation by Prof. Grant-Muller was aimed at increasing knowledge of the potential of new data forms to improve understanding of close proximity events, thereby exposure of the public to COVID-19 or other virus, during every day travel. The event as a whole increased people's knowledge about the CDRC and will lead to new connections and collaborations (with both academia and industry). 116 attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Modelling workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop on risk modelling in transport bringing together academic and government scientists to share expertise and knowledge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description PROTECT-TRACK seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Public and industry/business facing seminar co-organised with the PROTECT national core study on transmission, 1st Oct 2021. Presentation gave an overview of TRACK research and findings to date, and prompted questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://sites.manchester.ac.uk/covid19-national-project/2021/09/17/understanding-and-controlling-cov...