BART riders are not only helping to pay for new train cars, they are helping to design BART’s Fleet of the Future as well. BART staff on Jan. 9 presented the latest design elements to the board of directors. Many of the new features displayed in the summer 2013 train car model, including digital screens and more handholds to grab onto, were given thumbs up by the public.
In addition, feedback from seat labs held in October and November showed a majority of riders liked the new, easier to clean material, lumbar support and medium density silicone cushions planned for the seats. However, seat lab participants voted against one element tested — the middle armrest on train seats — so BART will not include them on the final design.
“Over 17,000 people have provided input to the new design so far,” BART Board President Joel Keller said. “In April we’ll have a final model for the public to experience. It will include all the features that scored well with those who took part in last year’s public outreach process.”
BART also worked closely with the ADA community to improve the rider experience for the hearing, vision or mobility impaired riders. The new cars will have interior and exterior digital displays, an automated announcement system, floor markings for wheelchair areas and intercoms located near doors.
“New door technology will result in a quieter ride because BART plans to use ‘microplug’ doors to help seal out noise,” BART Chief Marketing Officer Aaron Weinstein said. “The cars will also be cooler because the cooling system is designed to vent air from the ceiling on hot days, making riding more comfortable for standees.”
BART has set a goal to increase the fleet size from 669 to 1000 cars to relieve crowding.
The final model is coming to the Bay Area in spring 2014 - dates and locations are still to be decided. To be invited to see the model, sign up for project alerts here. See images of the trains here.