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Concept: Rail transport


As the number of freight trains on railway networks increases, so does the potential for vibration exposure in dwellings nearby to freight railway lines. Nocturnal trains in particular are of particular importance since night-time exposure may interfere with sleep. The present work investigates the impact of vibration and noise from night-time freight trains on human sleep. In an experimental polysomnographic laboratory study, 24 young healthy volunteers with normal hearing were exposed to simulated freight pass-bys with vibration amplitudes of 0.7 and 1.4 mm/s either 20 or 36 times during the night. Stronger vibrations were associated with higher probabilities of event-related arousals and awakenings (p < 0.001), and sleep stage changes (p < 0.05). Sleep macrostructure was most affected in high vibration nights with 36 events, with increased wakefulness (p < 0.05), reduced continual slow wave sleep (p < 0.05), earlier awakenings (p < 0.05) and an overall increase in sleep stage changes (p < 0.05). Subjects reported sleep disturbance due to vibration (F(4,92) = 25.9, p < 0.001) and noise (F(4,92) = 25.9, p < 0.001), with the number of trains having an effect only for the 0.7 mm/s condition (p < 0.05). The findings show that combined vibration and noise from railway freight affects the natural rhythm of sleep, but extrapolation of significance for health outcomes should be approached with caution.

Concepts: Sleep, Sleep disorder, Electroencephalography, Wave, Sleep apnea, Polysomnography, Rail transport, Rail tracks


The objective of our study was to measure the impact of transportation-related noise and total environmental noise on sleep disturbance for the residents of Montreal, Canada. A telephone-based survey on noise-related sleep disturbance among 4336 persons aged 18 years and over was conducted. LNight for each study participant was estimated using a land use regression (LUR) model. Distance of the respondent’s residence to the nearest transportation noise source was also used as an indicator of noise exposure. The proportion of the population whose sleep was disturbed by outdoor environmental noise in the past 4 weeks was 12.4%. The proportion of those affected by road traffic, airplane and railway noise was 4.2%, 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. We observed an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those exposed to both rail and road noise when compared for those exposed to road only. We did not observe an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those that were both exposed to road and planes when compared to those exposed to road or planes only. We developed regression models to assess the marginal proportion of sleep disturbance as a function of estimated LNight and distance to transportation noise sources. In our models, sleep disturbance increased with proximity to transportation noise sources (railway, airplane and road traffic) and with increasing LNight values. Our study provides a quantitative estimate of the association between total environmental noise levels estimated using an LUR model and sleep disturbance from transportation noise.

Concepts: Scientific method, Regression analysis, Linear regression, Statistics, Transport, Road, Noise pollution, Rail transport


Objectives. We assessed changes in transit-associated walking in the United States from 2001 to 2009 and documented their importance to public health. Methods. We examined transit walk times using the National Household Travel Survey, a telephone survey administered by the US Department of Transportation to examine travel behavior in the United States. Results. People are more likely to transit walk if they are from lower income households, are non-White, and live in large urban areas with access to rail systems. Transit walkers in large urban areas with a rail system were 72% more likely to transit walk 30 minutes or more per day than were those without a rail system. From 2001 to 2009, the estimated number of transit walkers rose from 7.5 million to 9.6 million (a 28% increase); those whose transit-associated walking time was 30 minutes or more increased from approximately 2.6 million to 3.4 million (a 31% increase). Conclusions. Transit walking contributes to meeting physical activity recommendations. Study results may contribute to transportation-related health impact assessment studies evaluating the impact of proposed transit systems on physical activity, potentially influencing transportation planning decisions. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 17, 2013: e1-e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300912).

Concepts: United States, Urban area, Transport, Pedestrian, Sustainable transport, Public transport, Rail transport, Transportation planning


Previous studies have shown accelerated gastric emptying after sleeve gastrectomy. This study aimed to determine whether a correlation exists between immediate postoperative gastroduodenal transit time and weight loss after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG). Specifically, correlation tests were conducted to determine whether more rapid transit after LSG correlated with increased weight loss.

Concepts: Obesity, Airport, Public transport, Rapid transit, Commuter rail, Mark Ovenden, Public transport timetable, Rail transport


Urbanization is an important factor contributing to the global spread of dengue in recent decades, especially in tropical regions. However, the impact of public transportation system on local spread of dengue in urban settings remains poorly understood, due to the difficulty in collecting relevant locality, transportation and disease incidence data with sufficient detail, and in suitably quantifying the combined effect of proximity and passenger flow. We quantify proximity and passenger traffic data relating to 2014-2015 dengue outbreaks in Kaohsiung, Taiwan by introducing a “Risk Associated with Metro Passengers Presence” (RAMPP), which considers the passenger traffic of stations located within a fixed radius, giving more weight to the busier and/or closer stations. In order to analyze the contagion risk associated with nearby presence of one or more Kaohsiung Rapid Transit (KRT) stations, we cluster the Li’s (the fourth level administrative subdivision in Taiwan) of Kaohsiung based on their RAMPP value using the K-means algorithm. We then perform analysis of variance on distinct clusterings and detect significant differences for both years. The subsequent post hoc tests (Dunn) show that yearly incidence rate observed in the areas with highest RAMPP values is always significantly greater than that recorded with smaller RAMPP values. RAMPP takes into account of population mobility in urban settings via the use of passenger traffic information of urban transportation system, that captures the simple but important idea that large amount of passenger flow in and out of a station can dramatically increase the contagion risk of dengue in the neighborhood. Our study provides a new perspective in identifying high-risk areas for transmissions and thus enhances our understanding of how public rapid transit system contributes to disease spread in densely populated urban areas, which could be useful in the design of more effective and timely intervention and control measures for future outbreaks.

Concepts: Airport, Public transport, Rapid transit, Commuter rail, Mark Ovenden, Public transport timetable, Rail transport, Park and ride


Hydrogel microfish featuring biomimetic structures, locomotive capabilities, and functionalized nanoparticles are engineered using a rapid 3D printing platform: microscale continuous -optical printing (μCOP). The 3D-printed -microfish exhibit chemically powered and magnetically guided propulsion, as well as highly efficient detoxification capabilities that highlight the technical versatility of this platform for engineering advanced functional microswimmers for diverse biomedical applications.

Concepts: Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Inkjet printer, Biomedical engineering, Application software, Bionics, Rail transport


The Barcelona subway system comprises eight subway lines, at different depths, with different tunnel dimensions, station designs and train frequencies. An extensive measurement campaign was performed in this subway system in order to characterise the airborne particulate matter (PM) measuring its concentration and investigating its variability, both inside trains and on platforms, in two different seasonal periods (warmer and colder), to better understand the main factors controlling it, and therefore the way to improve air quality. The majority of PM in the underground stations is generated within the subway system, due to abrasion and wear of rail tracks, wheels and braking pads caused during the motion of the trains. Substantial variation in average PM concentrations between underground stations was observed, which might be associated to different ventilation and air conditioning systems, characteristics/design of each station and variations in the train frequency. Average PM2.5 concentrations on the platforms in the subway operating hours ranged from 20 to 51 and from 41 to 91μgm(-3) in the warmer and colder period, respectively, mainly related to the seasonal changes in the subway ventilation systems. The new subway lines with platform screen doors showed PM2.5 concentrations lower than those in the conventional system, which is probably attributable not only to the more advanced ventilation setup, but also to the lower train frequency and the design of the stations. PM concentrations inside the trains were generally lower than those on the platforms, which is attributable to the air conditioning systems operating inside the trains, which are equipped with air filters. This study allows the analysis and quantification of the impact of different ventilation settings on air quality, which provides an improvement on the knowledge for the general understanding and good management of air quality in the subway system.

Concepts: Particulate, Smog, Air pollution, Public transport, Train station, Rapid transit, Rail transport, Railway platform


Railway and metro suicides constitute a major problem in many parts of the world. Japan has experienced an increase in the number of suicides by persons diving in front of an oncoming train in the last several years. Some major railway operators in Japan have begun installing blue light-emitting-diode (LED) lamps on railway platforms and at railway crossings as a method of deterring suicides, which is less costly than installing platform screen doors. However, the effectiveness of the blue lights in this regard has not yet been proven.

Concepts: Scientific method, Java, Suicide, Rapid transit, Rail transport, Third rail, Railway platform, Platform screen doors


Railway track irregularity surveying is important for the construction and the maintenance of railway lines. With the development of inertial devices, systems based on Inertial Navigation System (INS) have become feasible and popular approaches in track surveying applications. In order to overcome the requirement of high precision control points, this paper proposes a railway track irregularity measurement approach using the INS combined with the Zero Velocity Updates (ZUPT) technique and sub-decimeter scale landmarks. The equations for calculating track irregularity parameters from absolute position errors are deduced. Based on covariance analysis, the analytical relationships among the track irregularity measurements with the drifts of inertial sensors, the initial attitude errors and the observations of velocity and position are established. Simulations and experimental results show that the relative accuracy for 30 m chord of the proposed approach for track irregularity surveying can reach approximately 1 mm (1σ) with gyro bias instability of 0.01°/h, random walk noise of 0.005 ° / h , and accelerometer bias instability of 50 μ g , random noise of 10 μ g / Hz , while velocity observations are provided by the ZUPT technique at about every 60 m intervals. This accuracy can meet the most stringent requirements of millimeter scale medium wavelength track irregularity surveying for railway lines. Furthermore, this approach reduces the requirement of high precision landmarks which can lighten the maintenance burden of control points and improve the work efficiency of railway track irregularity measurements.

Concepts: Inertial navigation system, Accelerometer, Noise, Dead reckoning, Rail transport, Rail tracks, Gyroscope, Derailment


Railway tunnel clearance is directly related to the safe operation of trains and upgrading of freight capacity. As more and more railway are put into operation and the operation is continuously becoming faster, the railway tunnel clearance inspection should be more precise and efficient. In view of the problems existing in traditional tunnel clearance inspection methods, such as low density, slow speed and a lot of manual operations, this paper proposes a tunnel clearance inspection approach based on 3D point clouds obtained by a mobile laser scanning system (MLS). First, a dynamic coordinate system for railway tunnel clearance inspection has been proposed. A rail line extraction algorithm based on 3D linear fitting is implemented from the segmented point cloud to establish a dynamic clearance coordinate system. Second, a method to seamlessly connect all rail segments based on the railway clearance restrictions, and a seamless rail alignment is formed sequentially from the middle tunnel section to both ends. Finally, based on the rail alignment and the track clearance coordinate system, different types of clearance frames are introduced for intrusion operation with the tunnel section to realize the tunnel clearance inspection. By taking the Shuanghekou Tunnel of the Chengdu-Kunming Railway as an example, when the clearance inspection is carried out by the method mentioned herein, its precision can reach 0.03 m, and difference types of clearances can be effectively calculated. This method has a wide application prospects.

Concepts: Point cloud, Locomotive, Rapid transit, Rail transport, Rail tracks, Railroad car, Railway platform, Richard Trevithick