It has recently been announced that the powers that be at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) have tapped BMW subsidiary, DesignworksUSA, to create a new fleet of train cars to replace those that have been diligently serving the Bay Area since 1972. A $3 billion long-term project, the “Fleet of the Future” will be introduced by 2017 and will be taking over for what are the oldest train cars currently operating in the USA. The new trains “are expected to be the lightest and most energy-efficient for their performance in the world.”
BART has been soliciting input from riders in an attempt to address issues that current users have with the system. So far, feedback has indicated a preference for wider aisles, but more seats (a true feat of engineering, if they can make it happen). People also seem to have a great distaste for the carpeted floors and seats, preferring hard surfaces that are easier to clean and maintain without looking shabby. Bicyclists, 4% of BART riders, are also keen to make sure that there is enough room for plenty of bikes, and BART is trying to make that happen without disturbing the comfort of other passengers. It is considering adding on-board bicycle stands as one way to serve riders.
According to the BART website, the public will truly play a significant role in the design process. ”Once a contract is awarded, the supplier will provide a full-size train car interior mock-up, so the public can walk inside, sit on the seats, look at the new information screens – in essence ‘kick the tires’ and get a sense of what the final car interiors will look and feel like. Then, feedback from the mock-up will be incorporated into the final designs.” No date has yet been given for when the public can expect to see a mock-up from DesignworksUSA now that they have been awarded the contract.
For further information about the project and how you can contribute your input, check out the BART website here.
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Photo via Andrionni Ribo