Our interconnected world, linked by transportation networks, plays a major role in the spread of a pandemic such as COVID-19. The virus originated in a single community, but due to the global nature of transportation, it spread to other parts of the world, where it impacted local communities. And the cycle repeated, many times over. In the context of disease spread, transportation can be viewed as a disease vector because it can spread diseases through at least the following three mechanisms:
- Infected people and goods travel to other locations and can spread the disease when they reach their destinations and along the way.
- People congregate in groups and at higher densities when using public transportation, making it more likely that infected people can infect their fellow passengers.
- The surfaces in public transportation and shared vehicles can become infected through contact by infected people, potentially infecting others who touch the same surfaces.
It is therefore vitally important to clearly understand transportation’s role in the spread of disease so that informed decisions can be made to stop or at least significantly reduce the spread of disease through transportation. In this project, we developed a demonstration model to show how transportation can function as a disease vector and to show how certain policies can be effective in reducing the spread of a disease such as COVID-19. The model addresses the spreading of disease through the third mechanism outlined above.
Access the full project brief at this link: Transportation as a Disease Vector – A Modeling Approach: Project Brief