The Control of Metabolic CO2 in Public Transport as a Strategy to Reduce the Transmission of Respiratory Infectious Diseases
The global acceptance of the SARS-CoV-2 airborne transmission led to prevention measures based on quality control and air renewal. Among them, carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement has positioned itself as a cost-efficiency, reliable, and straightforward method to assess indoor air renewal indirectly. Through the control of CO2, it is possible to implement and validate the effectiveness of prevention measures to reduce the risk of contagion of respiratory diseases by aerosols. Thanks to the method scalability, CO2 measurement has become the gold standard for diagnosing air quality in shared spaces. Even though collective transport is considered one of the environments with the highest rate of COVID-19 propagation, little research has been done where the air inside vehicles is analyzed. This work explores the generation and accumulation of metabolic CO2 in a tramway (Zaragoza, Spain) operation. Importantly, we propose to use the indicator ppm/person as a basis for comparing environments under different conditions. Our study concludes with an experimental evaluation of the benefit of modifying some parameters of the Heating–Ventilation–Air conditioning (HVAC) system. The study of the particle retention efficiency of the implemented filters shows a poor air cleaning performance that, at present, can be counteracted by opening windows. Seeking a post-pandemic scenario, it will be crucial to seek strategies to improve air quality in public transport to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.