Wireless For Trains and Trackside Pole Installation

In order to offer seamless Wi-Fi and cellphone connectivity while travelling on a train throughout our 131 miles of track, BART will need to install wireless transmitters along our track that will broadcast a secure signal into our Fleet of the Future train cars. While Fleet of the Future train cars are Wi-Fi enabled, legacy BART cars are not.

This project is expected to be complete systemwide by 2025.  

wayside poleThe trackside wireless transmitters will come in the form of short, low-profile poles to be installed approximately every .5 mile along our tracks.  Some poles will be mounted to our aerial tracks and some will be installed to BART owned at-grade (ground level) property.  

Some poles will have Wi-Fi only and some will be for Wi-Fi and cellular carriers. 

The poles may also extend improved cellular service to those living in the surrounding area. BART can also incorporate lighting to the poles in the areas where improved lighting will benefit communities. 

Pole installation will begin fall 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in fall 2025.  

Extensive community outreach will be held prior to installation in all areas

What neighbors can expect

Poles have a much cleaner, sleeker, more modern look than typical cellular poles. 

(Below: Joint use pole on the left, non-commercial pole on the right)

Joint use poleNon-commercial pole

The poles come in a variety of neutral colors including shades gray, blue, green, and brown. The color will be selected to match the surrounding area. 

Various colors of the pole including shades gray, blue, green, and brown.

The poles have a stealth design with concealed antennas and equipment. They also offer customization options such as lighting elements for poles that are located near spaces where lighting would improve safety. 

(Below: Joint use pole on the left, non-commercial pole on the right)

Wayside joint use pole shrouded and mounted on BART trackWayside non-commercial pole shrouded and mounted on BART track

The poles meet all BART design standards as well as local, state and federal health & safety and exposure standards. The amount of Radiofrequency (RF) energy for anyone on the ground near the poles is less than one percent of the limits for safe exposure set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The poles from this project are safe to be placed near homes, schools, hospitals, or any other sensitive areas. The American Cancer Society notes there’s no strong evidence that exposure to RF waves from wireless communication facilities such as these poles causes any noticeable health effects

Height dimensions of the poles: 

  • Height for poles at grade: Up to 39 feet above the BART tracks  
  • Height for poles adjacent to aerial tracks: approximately 22 to 25 feet above the track infrastructure 

Construction 

Installation of each pole will take approximately one week, plus time to install supporting infrastructure such as power and fiber to each pole. For at-grade poles, a drill rig will be used for foundation holes and a small crane or an aerial lift will be used for installation. A truck and back-hoe will also be used. If the work location can be accessed from outside the BART fence, work would be performed during normal business hours; otherwise, work would occur on weekdays and possibly weekends between midnight and 4 a.m. outside BART’s normal operating hours when trains are not running for safety reasons.

Depending on the location of the pole, there may be minor traffic impacts on local roads. Residents may also see bright lights at night.

Outreach and More Information for Neighbors

Neighbors and community stakeholders looking for more information about each specific construction site should visit our Neighborhood Outreach