Public input has been an important part of the design process for the Fleet of the Future. Since the project began in 2009, BART has been collecting feedback on current and proposed designs to help inform the design process.
To date, over 17,000 people have offered input that has helped BART and Bombardier make design decisions, including 5,000 people who visited a full scale model of the train interior at the MacArthur station in July 2013.
Here is a video from the train car model event:
Among randomly selected people invited to try out the train car model, 80% rated the train interior layout as excellent or good.
The most popular features of the new train model were:
- the overall roominess of the interior layout
- bicycle racks at center doors that provide a place for bikes to park that is out of the way
- digital screens that show the location of the train and the next stop
- 50% more doors to make getting off the train faster and easier
- new multi-branch poles that give riders another handhold to use when the trains start and stop
- the use of non-fabric, wipeable seat covers that are easier to keep clean
Of course, not all the feedback was positive. Customers pointed out these changes that they would like to see:
- where we had two seat benches in an L-shape pattern in the middle of the car, customers told us that the seat closest to the window needed more legroom. As a result, we are currently adding legroom to these seats.
- feedback on the armrests between seats continues to be mixed. Some customers like the middle armrests because they give people something to push up against to stand up from a seated position, and they provide a greater feeling of separation between strangers sitting in adjacent seats. Other customers prefer not to have armrests to make it easier to slide over into a window seat, to provide extra space for larger riders, and to more easily accommodate more than two children on a two-person seat bench. In the most recent survey, more customers opposed the armrests, therefore the new train car seats will not have armrests.
- some customers expressed concern about having flip down seats and a bicycle rack share the same space. As a result, we will remove the flip down seats to avoid conflicts with the bicycle space. The goal is to allow bike racks to do their job of keeping bikes out of the way and not block seats, aisles, and doorways.
We also received valuable comments from people with disabilities who visited the MacArthur train car model. See our new train car Accessibility page for details. Click here for detailed customer survey results from the train car model, prototype seat events, and sample video loop.
Beyond the recent MacArthur train car model, over the last two years thousands of customers have sent us emails, filled out surveys, or attended one of the dozens of design review events we have held throughout the Bay Area. Here are the top categories of feedback we have received, along with a BART response:
Adequate number of seats
Having thinner seat backs will help with seat count, but new buffer zones for crash safety at the ends of the car, and an extra door in the middle, are limiting factors. As a result, seat count will drop by 4.6 seats per car on average. To increase the number of seats in the fleet, BART has set a goal to obtain funding to increase the fleet to 1,000 train cars. This would increase the number of seats in the fleet by 37.6%
Seat and aisle width
80% of randomly surveyed customers at the MacArthur train car model rated a 20” seat width as excellent or good. The new seats are 2” narrower than the seats on the old BART train cars, but still among the widest in the industry and allow for wider aisles and fitting as many seats as possible in the available space.
About 18 inches high, 1.5 inches higher than the current cars by popular demand. 88% of randomly surveyed customers at the MacArthur train car model rated the seat height as excellent or good.
Better passenger information
Lots of improvements. There will be: LCD screens on the train to display dynamic BART maps that show customers where they are and where the train is going; interior LED displays showing the next stop; exterior LED displays showing the destination of the train and the route color; automated PA announcements, and more.
Noise dampening, microplug doors will provide a quieter ride.
Cooling systems will distribute air directly to the ceilings, making it more comfortable for standees on hot days.
We value continued feedback on all of these issues. Please send us your thoughts. It really helps us with the design process.
Part of the design process includes prototyping, or creating a partly functional model of elements that will be included in the train cars. Prototypes allow us to try things out and see how they work in real life.
For example, in April 2013 BART created a rough wooden prototype of bike racks for the new train cars. We then asked the BART Bicycle Task Force to bring their bikes and try out the bike rack. The process of trying out the bike rack with various types of bikes helped BART gather useful feedback about what works and what could be changed to make the bike rack work better.
In Fall 2013, BART invited the public to test out prototype seats across 10 different BART stations. More than 2,500 customers participated in all. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and took time to give us their feedback.
Provide Your Feedback On The Future On-Board Digital Screen
We need your help on another prototype we've developed!
The new train cars will include 6 interior digital screens (located next to side doors) that will display a dynamic system map, the next stop, courtesy reminders and saftey information. BART is excited about using these screens to improve customers' BART experience! View a sample loop below of the proposed style and content on the screens. The station map on the left tells you where you are, while the right hand side of the screen shows the next stop and other information.
Does the info on the screen provide you with what you need? Please Email BART with your feedback.
Sign up for updates on the new train car project to get the latest Fleet of the Future news and to be invited to walk through the final model of a new train car.
Read the Fleet of the Future FAQ
Questions, comments, feedback? Email the Fleet of the Future Design Team