NJ Transit is testing the use of ultra-violet-C light to sanitize equipment from COVID-19. It is working with Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) to study the effectiveness of the UVC wavelength in killing viruses – as well as digitally mapping the interiors of different bus models to determine the best placements of the disinfecting devices. UV disinfecting devices are currently used in hospitals and urgent care centers.
“NJ Transit is always looking to be on the cutting edge of technology,” said Kevin Corbett, NJ Transit president and CEO in a prepared statement. “As we prepare for our customers’ return to the system, it is incumbent upon us to explore every cleaning and disinfecting option available.”
The bi-state PATH rail system is also investigating use of UV light to sanitize its fleet of rail cars. Currently, both PATH and NJ Transit manually apply disinfectants and sanitizers. The UVC disinfection would not be used when customers are on board, but only while shut down at night.
In May, NYC Transit became the first agency to use UV technology to disinfect subway car and bus interiors. They installed 150 mobile devices from Denver-based PURO Lighting to test the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the UVC light technology. Its pilot program is being reviewed by Columbia University.
“The results have been very encouraging,” Dr. David Brenner, director of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research, said. “It’s certainly looking absolutely that the UV light is very efficient in killing this virus.”
Both studies will be conducted over the next few months. The NJ Transit study will cost $125,000, which could be eligible for federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).