The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency responsible for the New York City subway system, has announced that they're launching a pilot program to use ultraviolet lights on their subway cars in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID 19 virus.
In a press release on Tuesday, the MTA says they're going to use "150 dual-headed mobile devices" from Denver-based start-up PURO Lighting to test the effectiveness of using lights to help combat the disease.
"This is a first of its kind pilot when it comes to transportation agencies around the world and we are proud to be a part of it," said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye. "For nearly three months, the MTA has worked relentlessly to disinfect our entire fleet of subways and buses but we've always promised that we would explore any and all new approaches available to us as well. The launch of this UVC pilot represents a promising next step in our ongoing efforts to identify technologies that can keep our customers and employees as safe as possible."
UVC, one of three types of light on the UV spectrum,has been proven effective in eliminating Covid-19 and has been used to help combat viruses and bacteria. This might be an effective tool for the MTA, which has shut down the cars at night for the first time in 115 years for cleaning. The early results have been described as "very promising," and they expect "some positive news in the short term."
The MTA had Dr. David Brenner, the director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, to examine the efficiency of the lamps. This week, Dr. Brenner reported his test showed UVC light eliminated Covid-19, and is working to conduct additional testing for peer-review publication.