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Concept: Rapid transit


Suicides incur in all public transit systems which do not completely impede access to tracks. We conducted two studies to determine if we can reliably identify in stations people at risk of suicide in order to intervene in a timely manner. The first study analysed all CCTV recordings of suicide attempters in Montreal underground stations over 2 years to identify behaviours indicating suicide risk. The second study verified the potential of using those behaviours to discriminate attempters from other passengers in real time.

Concepts: Montreal, American films, Underground city, Suicide, Underground City, Montreal, Rapid transit, Train station, Cultural studies


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


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


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


Rock-inhabiting fungi harbour species-rich, poorly differentiated, extremophilic taxa of polyphyletic origin. Their closest relatives are often well-known species from various biotopes with significant pathogenic potential. Speleothems represent a unique rock-dwelling habitat, whose mycobiota are largely unexplored. Isolation of fungi from speleothem biofilm covering bare granite walls in the Kungsträdgården metro station in Stockholm yielded axenic cultures of two distinct black yeast morphotypes. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequences from six nuclear loci, ITS, nuc18S and nuc28S rDNA, rpb1, rpb2 and β-tubulin, support their placement in the Chaetothyriales (Ascomycota). They are described as a new genus Bacillicladium with the type species B. lobatum, and a new species Bradymyces graniticola. Bacillicladium is distantly related to the known five chaetothyrialean families and is unique in the Chaetothyriales by variable morphology showing hyphal, meristematic and yeast-like growth in vitro. The nearest relatives of Bacillicladium are recruited among fungi isolated from cardboard-like construction material produced by arboricolous non-attine ants. Their sister relationship is weakly supported by the Maximum likelihood analysis, but strongly supported by Bayesian inference. The genus Bradymyces is placed amidst members of the Trichomeriaceae and is ecologically undefined; it includes an opportunistic animal pathogen while two other species inhabit rock surfaces. ITS rDNA sequences of three species accepted in Bradymyces and other undescribed species and environmental samples were subjected to phylogenetic analysis and in-depth comparative analysis of ITS1 and ITS2 secondary structures in order to study their intraspecific variability. Compensatory base change criterion in the ITS2 secondary structure supported delimitation of species in Bradymyces, which manifest a limited number of phenotypic features useful for species recognition. The role of fungi in the speleothem biofilm and relationships of Bacillicladium and Bradymyces with other members of the Chaetothyriales are discussed.

Concepts: Rapid transit, Likelihood function, Evolution, Phylogenetics, Biology, Fungus, Bacteria, Yeast


Increasing the accessibility and affordability of fresh produce is an important strategy for municipalities combatting obesity and related health conditions. Farmers markets offer a promising venue for intervention in urban settings, and in recent years, an increasing number of programs have provided financial incentives to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. However, few studies have explored the impact of these programs on use of SNAP benefits at farmers markets.

Concepts: Rapid transit, City of London, New York, County, Philadelphia, City, Nutrition, New York City


Sampling campaigns using the same equipment and methodology were conducted to assess and compare the air quality at three South European subway systems (Barcelona, Athens and Oporto), focusing on concentrations and chemical composition of PM2.5 on subway platforms, as well as PM2.5 concentrations inside trains. Experimental results showed that the mean PM2.5 concentrations widely varied among the European subway systems, and even among different platforms within the same underground system, which might be associated to distinct station and tunnel designs and ventilation systems. In all cases PM2.5 concentrations on the platforms were higher than those in the urban ambient air, evidencing that there is generation of PM2.5 associated with the subway systems operation. Subway PM2.5 consisted of elemental iron, total carbon, crustal matter, secondary inorganic compounds, insoluble sulphate, halite and trace elements. Of all metals, Fe was the most abundant, accounting for 29-43% of the total PM2.5 mass (41-61% if Fe2O3 is considered), indicating the existence of an Fe source in the subway system, which could have its origin in mechanical friction and wear processes between rails, wheels and brakes. The trace elements with the highest enrichment in the subway PM2.5 were Ba, Cu, Mn, Zn, Cr, Sb, Sr, Ni, Sn, Co, Zr and Mo. Similar PM2.5 diurnal trends were observed on platforms from different subway systems, with higher concentrations during subway operating hours than during the transport service interruption, and lower levels on weekends than on weekdays. PM2.5 concentrations depended largely on the operation and frequency of the trains and the ventilation system, and were lower inside the trains, when air conditioning system was operating properly, than on the platforms. However, the PM2.5 concentrations increased considerably when the train windows were open. The PM2.5 levels inside the trains decreased with the trains passage in aboveground sections.

Concepts: London Underground, Tram, Chemistry, Rapid transit, Oxygen, Chemical element, Iron, HVAC


As part of the European-funded IMPROVE LIFE project work programme experiments were performed in the Barcelona Metro system with the objective of better understanding the relationship between ventilation and air quality. The results demonstrate that tunnel ventilation plays an extremely important role in maintaining cleaner air and is capable of reducing both inhalable particulate matter (PM) mass and particle number concentration (>0.3μm) on platforms by over 50%, even in the presence of full-length platform screen doors. Another key influence on platform air quality is the chosen combination of fan power and forced air flow direction (impulsion of outdoor ambient air or extraction of subway indoor air): cleaner platform air was achieved using platform impulsion at higher power settings designed to ameliorate high summer temperatures underground. Reversing platform air flow from impulsion to extraction produced an immediate deterioration in PM air quality, most notably if the higher power setting was maintained, when an especially marked increase in numbers of very fine (submicron) particles was observed and attributed to tunnel air being drawn into the platform. At night, in the absence of trains and platform ventilation, platform air quality improves when tunnel fans are working at reduced power, whatever the flow direction (impulsion/extraction). Inside the air conditioned Barcelona Metro trains (where underground commuters spend most of their time) air quality is markedly better than on the platform, and unchanged A/C filters were observed capable of maintaining a similar reduction in inside train PM for at least three months.

Concepts: Rapid transit


Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and particle-number concentrations (PNC) were monitored in train carriages on seven routes of the mass transit railway in Hong Kong between March and May 2014, using real-time monitoring instruments. The 8-h average PM2.5 levels in carriages on the seven routes ranged from 24.1 to 49.8 µg/m(3), higher than levels in Finland and similar to those in New York, and in most cases exceeding the standard set by the World Health Organisation (25 µg/m(3)). The CO2 concentration ranged from 714 to 1801 ppm on four of the routes, generally exceeding indoor air quality guidelines (1000 ppm over 8 h) and reaching levels as high as those in Beijing. PNC ranged from 1506 to 11,570 particles/cm(3), lower than readings in Sydney and higher than readings in Taipei. Correlation analysis indicated that the number of passengers in a given carriage did not affect the PM2.5 concentration or PNC in the carriage. However, a significant positive correlation (p < 0.001, R (2) = 0.834) was observed between passenger numbers and CO2 levels, with each passenger contributing approximately 7.7-9.8 ppm of CO2. The real-time measurements of PM2.5 and PNC varied considerably, rising when carriage doors opened on arrival at a station and when passengers inside the carriage were more active. This suggests that air pollutants outside the train and passenger movements may contribute to PM2.5 levels and PNC. Assessment of the risk associated with PM2.5 exposure revealed that children are most severely affected by PM2.5 pollution, followed in order by juveniles, adults and the elderly. In addition, females were found to be more vulnerable to PM2.5 pollution than males (p < 0.001), and different subway lines were associated with different levels of risk.

Concepts: Sulfuric acid, Public transport, Rapid transit, Volcano, Smog, Carbon dioxide, Particulate, Air pollution


Subway systems are indispensable for urban societies, but microbiological characteristics of subway aerosols are relatively unknown. Previous studies investigating microbial compositions in subways employed methodologies that underestimated the diversity of microbial exposure for commuters, with little focus on factors governing subway air microbiology, which may have public health implications. Here, a culture-independent approach unravelling the bacterial diversity within the urban subway network in Hong Kong is presented. Aerosol samples from multiple subway lines and outdoor locations were collected. Targeting the 16S rDNA V4 region, extensive taxonomic diversity was found, with the most common bacterial genera in the subway environment among those seen associated on skin. Overall, subway lines harboured different phylogenetic communities based on alpha- and beta-diversity comparisons, and closer inspection suggests that each community within a line is dependent on architectural characteristics, nearby outdoor microbiomes, and connectedness with other lines. Microbial diversities and assemblages also varied depending on the day sampled, as well as the time within a day, and changes in microbial communities between peak and non-peak commute hours were largely attributed to increases in skin-associated genera in peak samples. Microbial diversities within the subway were influenced by temperature and relative humidity, while carbon dioxide levels showed positive correlation with abundances of commuter-associated genera. This Hong Kong dataset and communities from previous studies conducted in the United States formed distinct community clusters, indicating that additional work is required to unravel the mechanisms that shape subway microbiomes around the globe.

Concepts: Bacteria, Rapid transit, Organism, Relative humidity, Humidity, Hong Kong, Carbon dioxide, Microbiology