By: Daniel Burt

San Francisco has always been a city of innovation. When BART was opened in 1972, it was considered the finest in the world, a space age automated transportation system that revolutionized public transit. Today, over 40 years after the first train began operating, much of the same infrastructure is still utilized by commuters, including the oldest fleet of train cars of its kind.

Starting next year, BART will begin to test the state of the art cars, which promise to be quieter, cooler, more comfortable and easier to use. The goal is to increase capacity and decrease travel time. The new cars will increase the number of seats by 38% by adding 1,000 new train cars to replace the old BART cars. The new cars will also have more doors, making the flow of passengers quicker.

Improvements to the cars will include micro-plug doors to seal out noise, cooling systems that will distribute air to the ceilings, padded seats with lumbar support that are easy to clean and color coded routes on digital screens will be available to riders. They will also take into account the height of riders when installing handles and seats, as well as improved accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Crowdsourcing Citizen Input

All improvements are based on customer feedback of over 35,000 BART riders. That’s pretty cool. The new train cars will be going into service in 2017 after a series of rigorous tests and intend to enhance the image of San Francisco and the Bay Area as the innovation capital of the world.