Modelling the exposure risk tradeoff between public transit and private paratransit for transport decision making in the era of Covid19

Uganda taxi

This project aims to provide a science-based answer for transport policymakers in developing countries to the question “which is the safest publicly available transport mode (including paratransit modes such as motorcycle taxis and autorickshaws) to move people during an epidemic and how to make travelling in paratransit modes safer?”

By developing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)-based models of droplet dispersion in different types of public transport (buses), microtransit (microbuses-matatus, human haulers) and paratransit (motorcycle taxis-bodabodas/okadas, autorickshaws) vehicles with different geometry, seating configuration, ventilation properties, occupancy and protection (e.g. helmet in motorcycles), the project will provide a world-first insight into passenger risks of exposure in these very different types of modes.

The CFD models will also be used to design barriers or shields for motorcycle and autorickshaw rides to make these modes safer than they currently are. The objective risk measures will be complemented by a stated preference questionnaire survey of transport users in the project countries to understand passengers' travel behaviour and reveal their current and future preferences regarding different transport modes.

Special focus of the survey will be to reveal user attitude towards and acceptance of the newly designed (from CFD modelling) barriers/shields.