Handrails in the Tokyo Metro

I spent one week this month traveling in Tokyo, and while my experience was comparable in many ways to other big cities like New York or London, there were notable differences worth mentioning. Tokyo is clean, orderly, and extremely safe. The Japanese people who live there maintain high standards for everything that shapes the human experience, from fast and reliable transit to fresh and delicious food. It’s truly a sight worth seeing — one that made me scratch my head and think “Why aren’t things this way at home in New York City?”. Here’s one easy example:

In the photos above there is an unusual situation for an American: everyday people obediently holding a handrail on a busy escalator in a public metro station. Why is that? The handrail is germ-free. But where’s the soap? As it turns out, the handrail is constantly churning through a UV light at the bottom of the escalator. This light kills 99.9% of germs through a process known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).

Here’s a photo of the product from LG Innotek and ClearWin, which is one of the first to market:

 

Example installation in Seoul.

 

Full product specs from LG: http://www.lginnotek.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Escalator_Handrail_Sterilizer_eng.pdf

As you can tell, LG and ClearWin stick true to their respective names: their product improves health and safety at the same time. Now that’s a public infrastructure improvement I can really get behind.

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John Marbach

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05 2018

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