MODELLING COVID RISK

RSSB has developed a range of forecasting scenarios to inform industry planning

How safe is it to travel by train? Just over a year ago, few would have argued that rail is the safest transport mode in the UK. But like with many things, Covid has turned this upside down – with enclosed, crowded spaces presenting the highest risk of infection, concern about travelling by train heightened.

Early on in the pandemic, RSSB determined that a model of infection risk from Covid-19 would provide a useful tool for the rail industry. The organisation teamed up with Crowd Dynamics to develop a risk model for Covid infection, taking into account the movement of passengers on platforms, when boarding and alighting and whilst on board trains; movement within stations was excluded due to the huge variance in station layouts. Initially, RSSB and Crowd Dynamics worked with LNER to simulate crowd movement within a Class 800 vehicle, work which was used by LNER to inform which seats in each carriage it made available for reservation (the operator introduced compulsory reservations on its services last year).

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