Skip to main content

Routes of infection, routes to safety

Routes of infection, routes to safety

Charlotte Veal - APL

Creative mapping of human-viral behaviours on the bus to understand infection prevention practices

Routes of Infection / Routes to Safety began in January 2021 as a response to a reduction in public transport usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to government and public concerns about the safety of bus travel. A strong, safe, and accessible public transport network is vital to a green post-pandemic recovery. The research team also identified a need to address broader inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic, including the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities. 


  1. To understand how corporate cleaning practices, bus user behaviours, bus architecture, and knowledges about COVID-19 and infection prevention methods (such as mask-wearing) generate feelings of risk or confidence. 
  2. To integrate findings about bus use with microbiological data, to speculate on how SARS-COV-2 and other microbes might exist and travel on the bus. 
  3. To creatively visualise and represent interactions between humans, microbes and buses, and demonstrate the impact of infection prevention to improve compliance and uptake, in spaces and places more widely. 

Research Team

The project is a collaboration between researchers in Geography and Environmental Science and in Health Sciences at the University of Southampton, and in Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University. It is funded by UK Research and Innovation’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund via the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project has been developed in dialogue with two regional bus operators, and with local and national bus user and community groups.  


PI: Dr Emma Roe (Uni of Southampton)

Co-I: Dr Charlotte Veal (NU)

Co-I: Dr Sandra Wilks (Uni of Southampton)

Senior Research Fellow: Dr Paul Hurley (Uni of Southampton)




Twitter: @Routestosafety

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences