Future BART Project

Future BART is an effort to begin mapping out the future of BART. BART is now 40 years old, and requires significant system reinvestment to continue to provide high quality service. In addition, the region will change and grow significantly over the next 40 years. This effort will explore the tradeoffs involved in considering how BART can meet those dual challenges.

To learn more about the study, please see the Project Description below and Frequently Asked Questions.

To tell us what you envision for the future of BART, please go to the Comment page.

Coming soon:

  • Learn about upcoming events.
  • An interactive tool that will allow you to tell us what your priorities are for BART’s future, where BART should make investments, and how we should pay for them.


Project Description

BART train passing through stationBART began providing rapid transit service to the Bay Area in 1972.  BART has grown significantly since that time, both geographically, and in ridership. As a 40-year old system, BART needs to determine how best to reinvest in the current system, to upgrade parts of the BART system that are nearing the end of their useful lives. As we reinvest, BART also needs to lay the groundwork for the future to be able to carry the larger numbers of riders expected in the region over the next 40 years. Now is the time for BART to begin planning its next 40 years.

According to the latest projections from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the nine-county Bay Area must find a way to accommodate another 2 million residents by 2040. The region is also expected to add another million jobs over that period. If BART cannot evolve to meet this need, we will all fall further and further behind: congestion will grow worse, commutes will grow longer, open space will be lost and we will suffer from declining air quality, including increasing levels of greenhouse gases.  MTC and its regional and local partners have recently put forward a plan to deal with these changes: Plan Bay Area, which for the first time has provided the region with an integrated land use and transportation planning strategy for the long term.  Future BART is BART's response to that call for action.

Our effort to define Future BART raises a series of questions that must be answered:

  • What will the BART of the future look like? 
  • How can BART continue providing reliable service to its customers while evolving to meet the needs of future generations? 
  • What should the role of BART be in an economically competitive, sustainable, healthy future Bay Area?
  • And how does all of this happen?

Future BART is a groundbreaking effort to find answers to those questions -- with your help. At the center of our efforts to define the future of BART is the BART Metro concept. The BART Metro concept was first defined as part of the 2007 Regional Rail Plan developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, or MTC. Under the BART Metro concept, BART would offer two distinct categories of service: "Metro Core" service between dense urban centers, and "Metro Commute" service throughout the BART system. Metro Core service would operate on "show up and go" frequencies all day long, while Metro Commute service would provide faster trips during peak periods (while maintaining off-peak service).

To further define the BART Metro concept, BART is conducting two studies. The first study is an Operational Analysis, focused on strategic improvements to BART’s tracks, systems and stations that could be made in the next decade or two to provide more capacity and improved service. The second study is a Metro Vision Plan, focusing on BART”s longer-term future, including where BART might make significant new investments in new lines or new "infill" stations along existing lines.

All of this must be accomplished against the backdrop of an aging system. BART has identified $15 billion in "State of Good Repair" maintenance needs over the next 30 years. To date, the region has identified only about half of the funding needed to invest in BART’s "State of Good Repair" needs. Maintaining BART’s record of 96% passenger on-time reliability requires prioritizing these "State of Good Repair" needs before significant expansion opportunities can be undertaken. A recent UC Berkeley/Bay Area Council study noted that if BART is not properly maintained over time, reliability will decline, and, this could cost the region between $22 and $32 billion in lost productivity over the next 30 years.

But we at BART need your help. We need you to tell us which investments you think should be prioritized in considering the trade-offs involved, how they should be funded, and how we can best meet your needs, as well as the needs of this generation's children and grandchildren.

Fifty years ago, more than 60 percent of voters in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties committed to a bold vision. Ten years later, BART was born. The decisions we make will still be felt decades from now -- and there is no better time than today to start thinking about tomorrow.



Last Updated: May 16, 2014