BART and USGS extend ShakeAlert agreement


BART and USGS extend ShakeAlert agreement

BART’s pioneering Earthquake Early Warning System powered by ShakeAlert will continue to monitor seismic activity thanks to a newly signed agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey.

The agreement allows BART to continue to use ShakeAlert data, which includes real-time information on ground motion records and estimates. Data also include the earthquake's origin, time, location, and magnitude.

“BART uses earthquake information from ShakeAlert to protect our riders, workers and infrastructure by triggering automated actions, like slowing trains to prevent potential derailment,” said BART Director John McPartland, who has been instrumental in BART’s participation as the first transit agency in the nation to adopt an early warning system.

"BART has provided valuable insight on the transit industry and potential use cases to the ShakeAlert team since 2012," Steve Hickman, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Science Center in Moffett Field, California, said. "We look forward to continuing to work together under this new agreement, which will provide BART with real-time earthquake early warning alerts powered by ShakeAlert." 

The pilot program for BART’s use of ShakeAlert data was set to expire December 31. The License to Operate agreement, signed November 24, includes education and training materials. 

The USGS issues ShakeAlert Messages that are used by partners like BART to trigger automatic responses. Other partners are powered by ShakeAlert to deliver alerts via television, radio, and cell phone; these alerts warn people to take a protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On. 

ShakeAlert does not predict earthquakes. Instead, an alert indicates that an earthquake has begun, shaking is expected at your location, and you should take protective actions immediately.

BART has an Earthquake Emergency Response Plan and holds several drills a year to ensure staff is trained and ready to respond. In the event of an earthquake, riders should listen for instructions from BART personnel. Employees are trained to evacuate the public from dangerous areas.  Following an earthquake, BART trains are held in place (except for trains in the Transbay Tube and BART Caldecott Tunnel) until it is determined it is safe to move the train to the nearest station where riders will be off-boarded.