MTA launches ultraviolet light pilot program to combat COVID-19

The MTA pilot will deploy UV technology in a number of settings across New York City Transit

May 20, 2020
Demonstration of UV disinfecting technology at the Corona Maintenance Facility
Demonstration of UV disinfecting technology at the Corona Maintenance Facility. Image: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit via Flickr

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) this week announced an ultraviolet (UV) light pilot program said to kill coronavirus (COVID-19), with the first phase set to launch on subways, buses, and other New York City Transit facilities throughout the system early next week.

The MTA pilot will deploy approximately 150 dual-headed mobile devices from Denver-based startup PURO Lighting to test and evaluate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of UV technology in a number of settings across New York City Transit including trains, buses, stations, and occupational facilities, using strict protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of the employees and customers. After evaluation, the pilot's second phase will expand to Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

"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," MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye said in a statement.

MTA says UV light is an efficient, proven, and effective technology for eliminating viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, from surfaces in MTA’s system. Ultraviolet-C (UVC) is demonstrated to kill viruses in many other applications, including hospital operating rooms, urgent care clinics, universities, and fire stations. The first phase of the pilot will focus on the feasibility of using UVC to eradicate COVID-19 in rolling stock. Occupational facilities, including maintenance areas, crew rooms, operations and technology centers, and offices, will also be included in the pilot.

In March, MTA said it began its work with PURO to successfully demonstrate the efficacy of UVC technology in its subways and buses. The proof-of-concept used miniaturized UVC technology to allow transit personnel to move the lamps easily and efficiently in and out of rolling stock and fixed locations.

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SOURCE: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

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