A group of students at Cardiff University have developed an app to optimize social distancing measures on public transport. Created by three Ph.D. students of mathematics, public transport companies can use the app to bring a seating plan into place, or can be used by passengers to select a safe seat to sit.
Based on a so-called ‘greedy algorithm’, the app can be used to calculate the optimum number of people that a train carriage can seat, and the optimal seating arrangement adhering to current social distancing measures.
Besides Passenger Occupancy, app calculates CO2 Emissions
In addition, the app can also calculate the CO2 emissions for any specific occupancy. This allows the user to find the most environment friendly seating plan quickly and easily.
However, to keep with social distancing norms, if any unfilled seat corresponds to a commuter driving to work, diesel-powered public transport releases more CO2 per passenger than a small passenger car.
For example, using the app a class 150 diesel engine train popular in South Wales would need to seat 17 passengers per carriage to be environment friendly than a small car.
But under social distancing measures, which requires people to sit more than 2 meters apart, the carriage would be able to accommodate only 16 passengers.
In order to optimize in the above scenario, including plastic screening, the carriage would be able to accommodate 38 passengers, to make it a more environment friendly option.
Meanwhile, three Ph.D. students are behind the idea of the app and is part of a national ‘Hackathon’ competition organized by the Natural Environment Research Council. The objective of the app is to find solutions to societal problems in the wake of COVID-19.