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Rider's Almanac Blog

COVID-19 Light Rail

Stronger filters will provide cleaner air on light rail vehicles

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, February 16, 2021 9:23:00 AM

Light rail technicians install new air filters inside a light rail vehicle.Technicians Jeff Stanley, left, and Rich Cipala, right, designed custom frames for the enhanced air filters they are installing in light rail vehicles. ​

Air filters that can more efficiently capture virus-causing particles are being installed in all light rail vehicles.

HVAC units on the vehicles continually bring in fresh air and clean the air that is circulating inside by cycling it through filters in the ceiling. The new filters can more effectively trap particles than the ones that are being replaced. To extend the life of the filters, pre-filters are also being installed. 

"This is going to be the standard going forward," said Ed Meyer, Senior Manager of Rail Operations Analysis/QA/Training. "It's a definite improvement to the air quality inside the vehicle compared to our current filters." 

Nearly half of the air inside trains is also exchanged when doors open at stations.  

To help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control suggests ventilating indoor spaces as much as possible and keeping HVAC systems well-maintained, along with the use of facial coverings and distancing. 

Stronger filters were installed on all Northstar passenger cars in 2020. Bus Maintenance is exploring the use of stronger filters and air purification technology that could help destroy airborne viruses. 

Learn more about Metro Transit's COVID-19 response