Navy Veteran from Baltimore competes in Invictus Games

By Saturday, September 30, 2017, retired Navy Lieutenant Brad Snyder will know if he earned a medal from the Invictus Games in Toronto, which began on Saturday, September 23. However, with or without a medal, the veteran from Baltimore will count as a winner.

Snyder is among the 550 military competitors from 17 nations who compete across a dozen adaptive sports at the annual Invictus Games— the only international sporting event for wounded, ill and injured service members.

Created by Prince Harry and sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover, officials said the games use the power of sport to inspire recovery and support rehabilitation.

For Snyder, a multi-medal winner in swimming events at the Paralympic Games, he ’s looking forward to competing in Toronto.

“I have seen this initiative grow from the beginning, and it’s great to see what it’s become,” Snyder said. “I was able to spend a little time with Prince Harry in Colorado Springs at the Warrior Games in 2013 when the seeds for the Invictus Games were sown, and it will be a distinct honor to compete this year for the first time.”

The Olympic and Paralympic movements have been immense sources of inspiration for Snyder and being a part of them over the past five years have pushed him to expand his perception of what he is capable of.

“They have helped me to see how communities unified under common ideals that work together can be so powerful and have such a positive impact,” Snyder said.

Joe Eberhardt, the president and CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, North America, LLC, says his company proudly sponsors the games because of its ongoing commitment to supporting veterans.

“We feel strongly that it is important to support our service members from the athletic arena to the workplace,” Eberhardt said.

Snyder, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, went on to deploy to Iraq as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He then deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

After six months of assault operations, Snyder suffered a severe injury by an explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED), which led to complete vision loss.

A swimmer, Snyder returned to the pool as part of his rehabilitation and eventually earned a spot on the U.S. Paralympic National Team for swimming.

He has competed in two Paralympic Games earning five gold medals and two silver medals. At the 2013 Paralympics in Brazil, Snyder broke a world record in swimming, a mark that had stood for over 30 years.

The return to the water remains a high point for Snyder.

“It wasn’t necessarily the act of swimming that was cathartic; it was returning to a mode of self-improvement, a mode where my family and friends had seen me before, and a mode where I could compete, and eventually succeed,” he said.

Military personnel are imbued with a strong sense of purpose or mission during their indoctrination and sometimes the worst part of an injury is the perception that they can no longer fulfill their duty, Snyder said.

“Duty, purpose, and mission can be restored through competition and the power of sport,” he said. “And, this can be immensely cathartic for wounded, ill and injured service members. At least, that is what my experience has shown me.”

Further, Snyder says his injuries have healed and he has adapted to a point where the consequences are not a daily consideration.

“It’s just who I am,” he said. “The U.S. has come a long way since Vietnam, and I believe that our homecoming veterans are treated very well. It’s great to be able to share this sentiment with our allies, and celebrate our service. Most often, the only time we spend with our friends abroad are in war zones and battlefields, so it will be nice to share some fun in the wonderful city of Toronto.”

‘The Christians’ Comes to Baltimore Center Stage

The cost of challenging one’s beliefs, the responsibility of leadership, and the distance that exists when people of strong convictions and common faith discover that they might not believe the same thing takes “Center Stage” with the production, “The Christians.” The stage play opened Thursday, September 14, 2017, and runs through Sunday, October 8, 2017, and is the theater’s first production of the 2017/18 Season.

Does absolute tolerance require tolerance of the intolerant? Can a divided head find a way to lead? When the stakes are eternity, what happens if your pastor is wrong? These are some of the questions raised in The Christians, which features singing by the Greater Baltimore Church of Christ Choir (performing Sep 7–17); Community Choir of Baltimore Center Stage (performing Sep 19–Oct 1); and New Psalmist Baptist Church Choir (performing Oct 3–8).

Greater Baltimore Church of Christ Choir

Courtesy Photo: Richard Anderson

Greater Baltimore Church of Christ Choir

“The Christians specifically examines leadership and faith,” said Baltimore Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. “Faith is fundamentally what we have all been discussing since 9/11. The church in this play is a metaphor for our communities and our country.”

He added, “What happens when you no longer trust those you have entrusted to lead you? I’m thrilled to bring this production to Baltimore and for Center Stage to serve as a convener of many more conversations about leadership…in Baltimore, in Maryland and in our country.”

Baltimore’s Center Stage’s Associate Artistic Director, Hana Sharif is directing the production, which boasts a majestic set converting the venue’s Pearlstone Theater into a modern-day megachurch.

“It has been incredible,” said Sharif. “Night after night, the audience has responded. I don’t think there is anyone who has walked away without affirmation of their experience or belief system or questioning it. The charge for us was to be a place where everyone felt they had access to this journey and experience. I wanted people to connect no matter what walk of life or religion they come from.”

She added, “That is the fabric of Lucas Hnath’s work. There are a lot of Bible verses in the play. He went as far as to choose translations from different versions of The Bible— some not being part of the mainstream. He wanted to create a patch of work that examined different aspects of Christianity. We used that as a filter for how we looked at the work and in creating the tapestry of the church. This piece really allowed us to have a beautiful sense of community connectivity.”

During its run, there will be activities aimed at engaging theatergoers in conversation. This includes “Table Talk” for impromptu, audience-driven conversations, as well as post-show panel discussions with leaders from different faiths and opportunities to meet the actors.

Howard W. Overshown The Christians examines leadership and faith.

Courtesy Photo

Howard W. Overshown The Christians examines leadership and faith.

“We also have a very diverse cast,” said Sharif. “The show and the audience has been a wonderful representation of the City of Baltimore. This show tackles such essential questions. Religion is used as a metaphor to address questions regarding leadership and sacrifice. We are dealing with such things right now in the arena of politics and economics.”

She added, “This play helps us to navigate our way through questions relating to humanity. This is a beautiful compelling story that I hope that everyone twill have an opportunity to enjoy.”

Baltimore Center Stage is a professional, nonprofit institution committed to entertaining, engaging and enriching audiences through bold, innovative and thought-provoking classical and contemporary theater.

To purchase tickets for The Christians or for more information, visit or call the box office at (410) 332- 0033.

Faith leaders across the country encourage congregations, communities to register to vote

— To mark National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, faith leaders with the nation’s largest faith-based grass roots organization are helping their congregations and community members learn about their voting rights and encouraging them to register to vote.

PICO National Network is also urging elected officials to make access to voting easier, noting that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has done more to encourage voter suppression than anything else.

“The right to vote is sacred and one of the first things we can do to protect it is to ensure everyone in our respective networks is registered to vote,” said Bishop Dwayne Royster, political director for PICO National Network.

National Voter Registration Day, first observed in 2012, offers a prime opportunity for faith leaders to encourage people to counter voter-suppression trends on display in communities across the country by engaging their communities in voter education and outreach efforts.

The American Civil Liberties Union noted that since 2008, various states have enacted laws “to make it harder for Americans— particularly black people, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities— to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot.”

“Like our ancestors before us, we continue to fight for our right to create a true democracy about and for the people, a right to declare our God-given voices to champion the cause of the widow, the stranger, the sick, the children and ALL the people who are the most vulnerable in our society,” said Phyllis M. Hill, Southeast regional

director of PICO National Network’s Live Free Campaign. “We must vote, talk about voting, build systems and structures that make it easier to vote, and create strong vehicles—organizations and institutions—to make the vote matter long term. Voter Registration Day isn’t about one day. It is, however, a reminder to engage and build with our various communities to make our Kingdom Come.”

Students need an escape from public school violence

America’s public schools are starting to resemble war zones. Recently, a fistfight between two female students at an Alabama high school erupted into a campus-wide fracas that ended in gunfire. A massive brawl at a North Carolina school resulted in multiple arrests. And in San Diego, several teenage boys were rushed to the emergency room with stab wounds after a fight broke out.

The Obama administration, state and local school officials are largely to blame. Their fealty to a politically correct agenda prevents them from restoring order in the classroom. School choice measures like education savings accounts, tax credits and voucher programs can offer students an escape from such dangerous environments— and give those students the opportunity to learn in peace.

School violence has reached epidemic proportions. Two in three public schools report at least one violent incident per year— and one in ten schools report at least one serious violent offense, such as rape, robbery, or assault with a weapon. More than 750,000 crimes are committed on school grounds annually.

Despite these ills, many school administrators refuse to crack down on violent students. Activists claim that traditional punitive measures, like suspension, discriminate against minority students. Tough punishments, they say, cause kids to fall behind in school, making them more likely to drop out and wind up incarcerated.

This view was effectively inscribed into law by a 2014 letter from the Obama administration’s Office of Civil Rights. The letter warned public school administrators that traditional disciplinary measures could violate federal nondiscrimination law.

As a result, half the states and several large municipal districts installed severe restrictions on school discipline. The Los Angeles Unified School District has effectively banned suspensions entirely. This shift has resulted, predictably, in more violence.

Take a decision by the past superintendent of the St. Paul, Minnesota district to significantly limit the ability of school staff to interact with the police or impose harsh punishments on bad students.

Violent student behavior quickly spiked to an all-time high. One brawl got so bad, school staff had to close the doors on all the classrooms to prevent any more students from joining in. As one veteran teacher put it: “We have a segment of kids who consider themselves untouchable.”

Other anti-suspension districts have suffered similar results. In both Oklahoma City and Baton Rouge, two in three teachers have reported an uptick in bad behavior. Nearly 70 percent of teachers in Jackson, Mississippi say their classrooms spin out of control on a regular basis.

It’s impossible for teachers to restore order if they can’t remove chronically disruptive students from class. Ironically, the victims are often poor students of color the politically correct advocates claim to care about.

Students need an escape. They shouldn’t be forced to attend violent public schools. Expanding school choice programs can give these kids a shot at a better future.

Consider Zaya Lumumba, a teenager subjected to bullying at her public school in Indiana. Her parents applied for a state-run scholarship program for low- and middle-income students and then used the money to move Zaya to a private school nearby. Her mood immediately improved, as did her academics; she registered a top grade point average her first semester at her new school.

Politically correct administrators are trapping young people in violent schools. School choice can liberate them.

Lance T. Izumi is the Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. He is also the author of the newly released book, “The Corrupt Classroom.”

Sweet Honey in the Rock to perform at BlackRock

— BlackRock Center for the Arts will host the Grammy Award-winning, African-American, all-woman acapella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock on Sunday, October 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. as part of their 15th Anniversary Season opening weekend.

The troupe’s powerful and moving sound holds roots of gospel music, spoken word, blues and jazz. Starting out in the D.C. vocal workshop Black Repertory Theater in 1973, the women have since made it their mission to present African-American history and culture through the powerful expression of sign language, song, and dance. This performance will feature sign-language interpretation (stage right).

Tickets to see Sweet Honey in the Rock are between $29-55. Tickets may be purchased by phone: 301-528-2260 or online: Patrons who benefit from sign-language interpretation are recommended to purchase stage right seats or may send an inquiry to for more information.

BlackRock Center for the Arts is a cultural cornerstone and the leading venue for the performing and visual arts in Upper Montgomery County, Maryland. Since 2002, the nonprofit arts center has been providing the community with diverse performing arts programs, free gallery exhibitions and arts education experiences. BlackRock Center for the Arts is located at 12901 Town Commons Drive in Germantown, Maryland.

Wanda Draper brings new life to Reginald F. Lewis Museum

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture has seen its share of both lean times and healthy times.

The Baltimore landmark ended the 2016 fiscal year with about $400,000, a paltry sum for a museum. However, after Wanda Draper was named the new executive director replacing the retired A. “Skipp” Sanders, the museum has rebounded— generating $1.5 million in its most recent fiscal year.

“Like most nonprofits, we’re struggling financially— but we’re showing progress including retail sales; and my goal is to keep us firing on all fronts and moving us forward,” said Draper, a longtime communications professional who worked 25 years at WBAL-TV.

A Baltimore native, Draper graduated from the journalism program at the University of Maryland and later attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Contemporary Studies and the University of Maryland School of Law.

Draper served on the original board of directors at the museum in 1999, after initially turning down the invitation.

“I was so busy that I didn’t think I had time and, every time that I had been asked to serve on a board, it’s one of those things where you show up, you write a check and go to a gala,” Draper said.

Of course, a letter from the governor inviting her to serve just a couple of days after she initially turned the offer down, convinced her to join the board, she said. The rest is history.

Quickly however, she learned the Reginald F. Lewis Museum board was different. It involved hands-on work, like brainstorming ideas about where to locate the museum and how to raise money.

“The first time I came to a board meeting for the museum, the whole concept of having an African-American museum in downtown Baltimore kind of hooked me,” Draper said.

For eight years beginning in 1999, Draper served as one of the founding board members.

During the first five years on the board, she says members were not only tasked with raising capital and finding a location, but they also had to decide who would design and build the museum.

“We raised $38 million to pay for the museum so that we could open debt free and we raised [an additional] $2.5 million to design and install a permanent collection so the museum could also be debt free,” Draper said.

Today, Draper says many challenges remain, including getting Baltimore residents to visit the historic museum. While many visit from outside of Maryland and even from other countries, Draper says it’s been difficult convincing the locals to come.

“I think people don’t appreciate what we have here while those from other countries and states are blown away,” she said. “I think local people have not come inside to see what we have and when they have, they’re amazed that we have 82,000-square-feet of space and 13,000-square-feet of just exhibits.”

For those who might consider the new and wildly popular Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington a challenge for the Lewis Museum to attract guests, Draper says it’s quite the opposite.

“It helps us tremendously,” she said, noting that museum’s executive director, Lonnie Bunch, used to attend Lewis Museum board meetings while he adopted his vision and plan for the D.C. location.

“We have a connection, we are a Smithsonian-affiliate and we work very well,” Draper said. “The biggest advantage is that people go there and it’s crowded so they often stop here.”

The Lewis Museum has undergone a major reorganization since Draper took over as executive director.

“As a result, we do business a little differently. One of the things we’ve been able to do over the last nine months is connect our community to the museum,” Draper said.

A new highlight is the “Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence” exhibit, which runs through January 7, 2018. It features more than 50 prints by Lawrence from personal collections in and around the state.

“He’s one of the best-known artists of the 20th century,” Draper said of the famed painter, storyteller and educator renowned for his portrayals of African-American life.

“The difference is that you will not see this anywhere else in the world in 50 pieces,” Draper said. “Every single one of the pieces are owned by someone in Maryland who loaned it to us. When you walk in, it literally takes your breath away.”

Ravens look to rebound from worst loss in franchise history

The Ravens traveled to London, England in week three with a 2-0 record, including two wins over their AFC East rivals. Things were looking up for Baltimore as they left American soil.

However, things have changed since the Ravens suffered a 44-7 loss to the Jaguars. It was the most lopsided loss in franchise history.

The team was without two of their most important players— offensive guard Marshal Yanda and defensive tackle Brandon Williams. The physical presence that both players bring on game day was sorely missed.

Head coach John Harbaugh is eager to put the loss behind him, but also wants to use it as a learning lesson.

“The things that we did in that game are things that we can improve on— in all three phases. Players have already seen the tape,” Harbaugh said during his press conference on Monday, September 25, 2017. “I saw them watching it and talking about it. We’ll work on correcting the things we need to correct, but you always have to do it with a forward mindset. We’ve got to apply the correction and improvement for the next game.”

The loss was the worst game of quarterback, Joe Flacco’s career. Flacco only completed six passes for 36 yards. It was a truly embarrassing performance.

For Flacco, the main task at hand is to not let the game snowball into the next one. He is working to keep the confidence level high as they go into their next game.

“You’ve got to keep guys’ heads up,” Flacco said. “So much of this game is confidence and going out there and getting it done.”

Rebounding from the loss is not the only issue the Ravens have on their hands.

Before the game started, the players joined together to show unity after the NFL was challenged by President Donald Trump, who called out the league for allowing players to protest during the National Anthem. He said those that chose to take a knee while the National Anthem was played should be fired.

President Trump also made a plea to fans to not watch football and leave the stadium if a player protested. He even went to the extent of calling players who protest, “sons of b&%^$@!”

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti made the following statement in regards to players.

“We recognize our players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form.”

Fans were outraged because of the Ravens taking their stance. Many went to the extent of burning their jerseys or any other team apparel.

Now the Ravens return home to face their arch rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams are coming off of losses so this normally hard fought game will be even more brutal.

The Steelers are dealing with their own controversy regarding the National Anthem. Head coach Mike Tomlin and the team stayed in the locker room while the Anthem was played. They did so in hopes of avoiding the attention and focusing on the game.

The only problem was one of their players, Alejandro Villanueva is a former serviceman and chose to stand outside of the tunnel by himself. The event ended up drawing more attention to the pregame festivities.

Sunday’s game against the Steelers will be an interesting one to watch. The Ravens are 2-1, and the Steelers are 2-1 as well.

Puerto Rico children’s hospital receives much-needed fuel supply

The US Army has delivered a three-day supply of fuel to a San Juan, Puerto Rico, children’s hospital where patients were in danger due a diesel shortage.

The lives of 12 pediatric patients at San Jorge Children’s Hospital were at risk after extensive damage to the US island territory’s fuel supply infrastructure, a hospital administrator said Tuesday.

The children depend on ventilators to survive, according to Domingo Cruz Vivaldi, executive director of the San Jorge Children’s Hospital. But a shortage of diesel, which powers generators, meant that the ventilators had to run on batteries for eight hours Monday and supply was still limited.

Cruz Vivaldi said Wednesday the medical emergency has been averted for now.

San Jorge Children’s Hospital is the largest private children’s medical center in the Caribbean.

Before Hurricane Maria hit the island, the children’s hospital had about 90 patients, according to Cruz Vivaldi. They discharged 30 who were in stable condition and are currently treating 60 who need to remain hospitalized.

“Right now, we only have diesel for today and tomorrow. We’re already working on refueling our tanks so we can extend our power generating capability, which is at 50% right now,” Cruz Vivaldi said Tuesday.

Lack of power and water has severely weakened the ability to treat patients at dozens of hospitals around the island. CNN visited a local clinic in Yabucoa, a coastal community on the island’s southeast, that was hit by the eye of the hurricane. A local official said the clinic is not currently operational. Medical personnel are sending patients to the nearest medical facility, located in the nearby city of Caguas.

An unfolding medical crisis

The death toll from Hurricane Maria currently stands at 16. Authorities have not released information about the number of people who were injured during and after the hurricane.

A medical crisis is unfolding around the island. Many people hurt during the hurricane have yet to be treated. The lack of power puts dialysis patients at risk, and diabetes patients may lose their insulin supply for lack of refrigeration.

Dr. Israel Ayala Oliveras, medical director at the Puerto Rico Medical Center, said people are showing up there with all kinds of injuries related to the hurricane.

“We’re treating lacerations, concussions, deep cut wounds and others caused by flying objects. People have also gotten hurt by falling around their homes or when using or operating chainsaws and machetes as they try to clear access to their homes,” Ayala said.

Carmen Gutiérrez Molero, an 86-year-old woman who lives in the Caparra district in Guaynabo, said a gas line that broke during the hurricane caused an explosion in her kitchen.

“I got up at eight and went to the kitchen for some coffee. When I lighted a match, the stove exploded and burned my feet. Thank God it was only my feet and nothing more. I jumped the best I could and was able to get outside,” she said.

Lefty Rodríguez suffered two ripped tendons in his arm after the hurricane blew open the front door of his house.

“It all happened suddenly. I was near the door and it suddenly opened. When I saw it was coming toward me I tried to hold it, but … boom! That’s when it got my arm,” Rodríguez said.

The Puerto Rico Medical Center implemented a contingency plan to treat hurricane victims before Maria hit the island. Ayala said the flow of patients has increased by dozens. Still many roads are impassable, preventing many people from reaching medical facilities.

The local department of health also installed two mobile hospitals with tents where basic surgeries and first aid can be offered to patients.

Celebs are all over #TakeAKnee

Hollywood is dropping to one knee.

It was a full weekend of the NFL responding to President Trump’s comments regarding firing players like Colin Kapernick who have chosen to kneel during the National Anthem to draw attention to racial injustice.

TakeAKnee trended and now a few celebs are also visibly showing their support.

On Tuesday, “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes joined some stars of that show and Debbie Allen, who has both acted on and directed episodes of the ABC drama, to kneel “in solidarity of racial justice” while also celebrating their 300th episode.

“Grey’s” star Ellen Pompeo is in the photo and, like Rhimes, shared it on Instagram.

“We kneel because we are supposed to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all #ilovethesepeople #300thepisode,” Pompeo wrote.

And they aren’t the only ones.

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny took a knee on the set of the new season of their rebooted Fox series “The X-Files.”

Singer John Legend also shared an image of him taking a knee while on stage performing.

Over the weekend, singers Pharrell Williams and Eddie Vedder did the same while participating in the Concert for Charlottesville and The Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival respectively.

Stevie Wonder took to both knees while appearing at the Global Citizens Festival.

Commuting by subway? What you need to know about air quality

Four more major Indian cities will soon have their own metro lines, the country’s government has announced.

On the other side of the Himalayas, Shanghai is building its 15th subway line, set to open in 2020, adding 38.5 km and 32 stations to the world’s largest subway network.

And New Yorkers can finally enjoy their Second Avenue Subway line after waiting for almost 100 years for it to arrive.

In Europe alone, commuters in more than 60 cities use rail subways. Internationally, more than 120 million people commute by them every day. We count around 4.8 million riders per day in London, 5.3 million in Paris, 6.8 million in Tokyo, 9.7 million in Moscow and 10 million in Beijing.

Subways are vital for commuting in crowded cities, something that will become more and more important over time — according to a United Nations 2014 report, half of the world’s population is now urban.

They can also play a part in reducing outdoor air pollution in large metropolises by helping to reduce motor-vehicle use.

Large amounts of breathable particles (particulate matter, or PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), produced in part by industrial emissions and road traffic, are responsible for shortening the lifespans of city dwellers. Public transportation systems such as subways have thus seemed like a solution to reduce air pollution in the urban environment.

But what is the air like that we breathe underground, on the rail platforms and inside trains?

Mixed air quality

Over the past decade, several pioneering studies have monitored subway air quality across a range of cities in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The database is incomplete, but is growing and is already valuable.

For example, comparing air quality on subway, bus, tram and walking journeys from the same origin to the same destination in Barcelona, revealed that subway air had higher levels of air pollution than in trams or walking in the street, but slightly lower than those in buses.

Similar lower values for subway environments compared to other public transport modes have been demonstrated by studies in Hong Kong, Mexico City, Istanbul and Santiago de Chile.

Of wheels and brakes

Such differences have been attributed to different wheel materials and braking mechanisms, as well as to variations in ventilation and air conditioning systems, but may also relate to differences in measurement campaign protocols and choice of sampling sites.

Key factors influencing subway air pollution will include station depth, date of construction, type of ventilation (natural/air conditioning), types of brakes (electromagnetic or conventional brake pads) and wheels (rubber or steel) used on the trains, train frequency and more recently the presence or absence of platform screen-door systems.

In particular, much subway particulate matter is sourced from moving train parts such as wheels and brake pads, as well as from the steel rails and power-supply materials, making the particles dominantly iron-containing.

To date, there is no clear epidemiological indication of abnormal health effects on underground workers and commuters. New York subway workers have been exposed to such air without significant observed impacts on their health, and no increased risk of lung cancer was found among subway train drivers in the Stockholm subway system.

But a note of caution is struck by the observations of scholars who found that employees working on the platforms of Stockholm underground, where PM concentrations were greatest, tended to have higher levels of risk markers for cardiovascular disease than ticket sellers and train drivers.

The dominantly ferrous particles are mixed with particles from a range of other sources, including rock ballast from the track, biological aerosols (such as bacteria and viruses), and air from the outdoors, and driven through the tunnel system on turbulent air currents generated by the trains themselves and ventilation systems.

Comparing platforms

The most extensive measurement programme on subway platforms to date has been carried out in the Barcelona subway system, where 30 stations with differing designs were studied under the frame of IMPROVE LIFE project with additional support from the AXA Research Fund.

It reveals substantial variations in particle-matter concentrations.

The stations with just a single tunnel with one rail track separated from the platform by glass barrier systems showed on average half the concentration of such particles in comparison with conventional stations, which have no barrier between the platform and tracks. The use of air-conditioning has been shown to produce lower particle-matter concentrations inside carriages.

In trains where it is possible to open the windows, such as in Athens, concentrations can be shown generally to increase inside the train when passing through tunnels and more specifically when the train enters the tunnel at high speed.

According to their construction material, you may breath different kind of particles on various platforms worldwide.

Monitoring stations

Although there are no existing legal controls on air quality in the subway environment, research should be moving towards realistic methods of mitigating particle pollution. Our experience in the Barcelona subway system, with its considerable range of different station designs and operating ventilation systems, is that each platform has its own specific atmospheric micro environment.

To design solutions, one will need to take into account local conditions of each station. Only then can researchers assess the influences of pollution generated from moving train parts.

Such research is still growing and will increase as subway operating companies are now more aware about how cleaner air leads directly to better health for city commuters.