TransLink testing technology that continually sanitizes air on buses

Mar 5 2021, 11:04 am

To date, TransLink’s heightened sanitization efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have mainly targeted surfaces.

But now, the public transit authority is also looking into technologies that target pathogens in the air. A new month-long pilot project starting this weekend on a 60-foot articulated bus and two double-decker buses will test photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology to sanitize both air and surfaces inside the vehicles.

PCO is used on the HVAC system so passengers will not be able to see the process, but “they may notice a subtle clean scent.” All three buses being used for the pilot project will also have clear signage indicating that PCO is in effect.

Hotel and restaurant businesses already commonly use PCO, which works by circulating low levels of hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and viruses.

translink bus photocatalytic oxidation pco

Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) on the HVAC of buses. (TransLink)

translink bus photocatalytic oxidation pco

Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) on buses. (TransLink)

“TransLink is continually looking at new and innovative technology to keep our customers on transit as safe as possible,” said Michael McDaniel, the president of TransLink subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Company, in a statement.

“Photocatalytic oxidation is a safe technology and has been used in buildings owned by organizations like Google, Marriott, and Kennedy Space Center and we are optimistic that it will have a positive impact on our system.”

The pilot project will determine the ability of PCO to effectively improve sanitization standards on public transit. After the testing period, the public transit authority will analyze the data and determine if the technology is worthy of wider use.

Just yesterday, TransLink announced the results for the first phase of its copper surface pilot project showed highly favourable results, with 99.9% of bacteria killed within one hour. A second phase of the copper project will expand the test to more buses and trains over a longer duration, and to test its effectiveness for viruses.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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