Barcelona uses AI to stop COVID-19 in the metro

Since its recognition as a pandemic, stopping COVID-19 has become the common action plan of all governments, who have made every effort to prevent the spread of this disease by applying measures focused on this objective, some of them in the public transportation system.

In this sense, the TMB (Transport Metropolitans de Barcelona), the underground transport system of the city of Barcelona, ​​has been selected to implement a system called RESPIRA, devised by SENER Ingeniera.

This system refers to an artificial intelligence (AI) platform designed to record indicators such as humidity, temperature, electricity consumption and the quality of the air generated in metro stations in real time.

Then an algorithm compares this data with information associated with the weather forecast and occupancy levels, in order to predict the thermal sensation present in the seasons and, based on this, program the operation of each fan to adjust the temperature and control the temperature. power consumption.

TMB believes that keeping ventilation subject to intelligent control will contribute to bringing the maximum amount of fresh air indoors and raising hygiene standards, thereby helping to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other microorganisms by following established protocols. by the different health authorities.

Lines 1 and 5 will be chosen to implement the RESPIRA system as of this month, these being the ones in charge of transporting 94% of the passengers.

It should be noted that the project will be submitted to review by the Ministry of Science and Innovation in which, if successful, it could be later implemented in the underground transport systems of other cities in the Spanish region.

Towards digital transformation

As the main public transport operator in Catalonia and one of the most important in Spain, TMB is in charge of managing a network of urban and metro buses made up of 8 lines and 156 stations, of which 25% are automated.

In reference to the RESPIRA system, the director of the metro network Ramn Bacard expressed This is a good example of the application of technologies for the benefit of improving the quality of service and with a direct effect on the customer’s travel experience. [] We need, for sustainability and social equity, that public transport once again be seen as the best option for metropolitan mobility in the Barcelona area

This pilot represents the continuation of a previous study also carried out jointly between TMB and SENER on line 1 in which favorable results were generated that allowed a reduction in temperature by 1.2 degrees Celsius compared to that reached in previous years.

And it is that mitigating the heat was one of the objectives that were intended with the implementation of this system.

However, the study also served to demonstrate the importance of keeping ventilation equipment working in optimal condition, also highlighting the need for an intelligent and dynamic control that records the external and internal environmental conditions of the stations. All this would serve to then establish a ventilation strategy of the highest level through the sending of instructions to the fans, programmed to be executed according to a specific time and day.

TMB remains optimistic that this system represents a gateway to the digital transformation of one of the basic systems of the Barcelona metro infrastructure.

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