The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in the US state of New York has started piloting an air filtration and purification system to reduce the spread of Covid-19 on its commuter rail systems.

The system, developed by Knorr Brake Company and its subsidiary Merak North America, is designed to filter the air inside rail cars by using an electrical field to generate a wave of ionised particles that can kill bacteria and viruses, including Covid-19.

It is installed into the railroads’ existing ventilation systems to enhance in-car air filtration.

The pilot is currently being conducted on the Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road systems.

This comes after a proof-of-concept was conducted by Metro-North earlier this year.

In the pilot, MTA and researchers with the US Environmental Protection Agency will determine the effectiveness of the technology in public transit.

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By GlobalData

Metro-North Railroad president Catherine Rinaldi said: “As more and more customers return to Metro-North trains, they want to be confident that we are doing everything that we can to keep them safe and healthy.

“If the pilot proves successful, not only does this new air purification technology kill Covid-19, it kills any virus, including the standard flu or bacteria that cause the common cold, and even particulate matter like diesel fumes.

“The benefits provided by this new system would last well after the pandemic has ended.”

The trials of the air filtration system are part of MTA’s efforts to make public transit safer in light of the global pandemic.

In July, the public transport agency announced ‘COVID Response Technology’ to collaborate with private companies and expedite the assessment and implementation of new technologies that will reduce Covid-19 contagion risks.