by Frankie Berti
Who's getting a shiny, new, "Fleet of the Future"? Those lucky Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) riders out and around the Bay area, that's who! BART has tapped Designworks USA, the world-renowned design consultancy owned by the BMW Group, to help them create their "Fleet of the Future", a new, improved, and beautified generation of train cars that will replace the aging train population. Most of the train cars in use are the original models from 1972.
The new cars will be designed expressly for luring in new riders and keeping the faithful ones with the promise of improved ridership experience: more comfort, optimized use of space, and modern (hopefully sustainably-sourced) materials.
DesignworksUSA will be tasked with creating a distinctive look for the trains' exteriors, which will highlight both function and form. They are also designing the main interior design features (seats, hand rails, lights) and the controls in the train operator's cab.
If Dreamworks USA's design for the BART looks anything like their Metro Inspiro concept for Siemens for the city of Warsaw, public transit riders are in for a treat. They can expect an emphasis on beautiful design, of course, but more importantly, an emphasis on passenger input in the areas of materials, comfort, wider entry and exit areas, improved storage for bicycles, lightweight seats, and, hopefully, some variant on their updated hand rail system of "Light-Trees".
In an inspired, yet practical, move, BART's Board of Directors has decided that the design should be informed by the riding public. Those who use the BART train system can give their input on their needs by visiting Bart.gov. If all goes well, BART's $3 billion (a drop in the bucket compared to Amtrak's proposal) futurrific fleet should be operational by 2017.
Reprinted with permission from Gas 2.0