AirLabs’ innovative technology is helping to keep public transport drivers safe during the pandemic

  • The City of Turlock (California) installs air cleaning devices in entire bus fleet to reduce driver exposure to COVID-19.
  • AirLabs’ innovative technology can play a major role in reducing risk of airborne transmission on public transit, as California surpasses 30,000 COVID-19 deaths.
  • AirLabs now developing technology to remove airborne virus particles from the passenger cabins of public transit.
  • AirBubbl device also protects against air pollution, a critical issue in the state which is experiencing increasingly severe wildfires.

The city of Turlock will become the first in California to install air cleaning devices across its entire operational bus fleet, as it looks to protect its drivers from the risk of airborne transmission of coronavirus.

Turlock Transit, the city’s transit agency, plans to install 20 AirLabs AirBubbl air cleaning devices in the driver cabins of its buses by the end of the month, including eight devices which are already installed. The AirBubbl removes more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter and floods the driver area with over 30,000 liters of clean air every hour, creating a clean air breathing zone for the driver to keep drivers safe.

California is one of the US regions hit hardest by coronavirus, with more than 30,000 registered deaths and more than 2.7M registered cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The high level of coronavirus in the region is putting hospitals in the state under immense pressure, with 88.2% of intensive care beds occupied in the seven-day period from the start of January.

The AirBubbl is equally effective at removing air pollution, including harmful ozone gases, nitrogen dioxide (NOx) and particle air pollutants PM2.5 and PM10, playing a vital role in protecting drivers long after the pandemic has passed.

California ranks as the state with the worst air quality in the US. Data suggests that more than 90% of Californians breathe unhealthy levels of air pollutants every year and over 38 million residents live in counties where ozone or particle pollution placed their health at risk. California’s air pollution problem is multifaceted with worsening wildfires, high traffic levels and climatic factors all contributing to the issue.

The link between air pollution and COVID-19 mortality rates is well established. In North America, 17% of COVID-19 deaths can be attributed to long term exposure to air pollution.

Marc Ottolini, CEO, AirLabs, said: “California is the epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis in the US, and keeping public transit safe and operational during this time is crucial for ensuring that the public can continue to travel safely.

“Professional drivers are one of the most at-risk groups from COVID-19 and forward thinking public transit operators across the world are deploying our innovative air cleaning technology to cut the risk of infection for drivers, protect them against air pollution and keep services running.”

AirLabs, the UK-based company behind the AirBubbl device, has also developed a new air cleaning device for the passenger cabins of public transportation, including bus and rail. AirLabs AiroSafe is designed to remove airborne virus particles from the passenger cabins of public transport, by creating a personal clean air zone for every seat. The company aims to install the first AiroSafe units early this year and is currently setting up strategic partnerships with public transport manufacturers and operators.

Both AirLabs devices can play a vital role in getting passengers back into work and school safely, by reducing the risk of airborne transmission of coronavirus on mass transit and increasing public confidence. With 45% of Americans saying that they are concerned about going back to the office when it re-opens due to health concerns, the technology could play a key role in reassuring the public that it is safer to travel.

AirBubbl devices have been installed by Turlock Transit as part of a range of measures implemented to protect drivers and passengers throughout the pandemic, including additional disinfecting measures for buses, fewer passengers to aid social distancing, provision of free hand sanitizer and face masks if needed and a requirement for everyone to wear face masks while travelling.

Wayne York, Transit Manager, Turlock Transit, said: “California faces a huge health challenge both from COVID-19 and from harmful air pollution. These issues are particularly prevalent in the Central Valley and can’t be ignored.

“Rider and driver safety is our number one priority and we have implemented a range of safety measures across our fleet to keep our services safe for all. By installing the AirBubbl in our fleet, we are continuing to enhance the safety of our services and protect our drivers and passengers.”

Aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Coronaviruses such as the one that causes COVID-19 are spread via respiratory droplets produced by infected persons when they cough, sneeze, talk or breathe. While larger droplets quickly fall out of the air, smaller droplets persist as aerosols. Smaller aerosol particles are of concern because they may stay in the air for longer, travel further and be able to penetrate further into the respiratory tract when inhaled, according to a recent study by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

AirLabs has published a white paper on reducing exposure to airborne viruses using air filtration systems. It sets out the evidence behind airborne virus transmission and how air filtration can effectively remove bioaerosol particles.

ENDS

For more information, images or to speak to a spokesperson from AirLabs please contact:

Max Boon, Greenhouse PR: max.boon@greenhousepr.co.uk / +44 (0) 7765 325141.

Toby Dye, Greenhouse PR: toby.dye@greenhousepr.co.uk / +44 (0) 7508 636325.

Notes to editors

About AirLabs

AirLabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. With more than 90% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, AirLabs’ mission is to deliver measuring, monitoring and cleaning solutions that provide valuable insight, enable action and clean polluted air to make it safe for people to breathe.

Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting edge and scientifically proven solutions for use by governments, businesses and individuals to tackle the growing problem of urban air pollution.

The AirBubbl in-car air cleaner contains patented filtration and air flow technology that effectively removes particulates such as dust, pollen, soot, fibers, PM2.5 and PM10, along with bacteria and viruses and gaseous pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Ozone and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

AirLabs is headquartered in London, has its R&D labs in Copenhagen and also operates from offices in Santa Monica, Boca Raton and Singapore.

www.airlabs.com

About Turlock Transit

For more information, please contact:

Wayne York, Transit Manager, City of Turlock: transit@turlock.ca.us / +1 (209) 669-2800

Turlock Transit provides fixed route and ADA paratransit (Dial-a-Ride) services to the city of Turlock, as well as Dial-a-Ride services to the community of Denair.  Transit services are available Monday-Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Passengers can transfer to local or regional transit providers at the Roger K. Fall Transit Center at 1418 N. Golden State Blvd. in Turlock.  For more information on fares, schedules, and services, please visit http://www.turlocktransit.com.