Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Resource Center

BART Bicycle Plan: Modeling Access To Transit

Executive Summary

Plan Goal

Like similar transit systems in Japan and Western Europe, BART can retool its stations and approach to access planning to attract more bicycles and fewer cars to the system each day. Bicycling to BART, particularly when those trips replace automobile access, helps avoid construction of costly auto parking spaces,  can increase  ridership, reinforce  the  agency’s image as a green transportation provider, promote fitness and public health, and contribute to achieving regional goals to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Providing plentiful and convenient bike parking is also the most effective tool BART has to encourage as many passengers as possible to leave their bicycles at the station, rather than bringing them onboard, thus leaving space for the system to carry more passengers.

When this plan was published in 2012, approximately 4% of home-based trips, or about 14,000, were made to and from BART stations each weekday by bicycle. Building on the success of past BART bicycle access improvements, the growth in popularity of bicycle travel throughout the BART service area, and the significant improvements to bike travel recommended in this  plan, this  BART  Bicycle  Plan’s goal is  to double this rate, to 8%, by 2022. Because systemwide ridership is expected to increase by about 28% by then, including to new extension stations, achieving this goal will bring 35,000 bicycle trips to BART stations each weekday, thus transforming BART from a system that allows bikes to one that depends on them.

Plan Purpose

The purpose of this plan is two-fold:

  • To outline the specific strategies needed to encourage ever greater numbers of passengers to bike to and park at BART stations.
  • To create a Bicycle Investment Tool that BART staff and other transit agencies can use to select the improvements that will result in the largest increases in bicycle access trips.

Following completion of this plan, BART staff will prioritize and carry out the recommended strategies by identifying annual implementation objectives developed in concert with staff from BART Police, Transportation, Planning, External Affairs and Operations departments. This bicycle-specific work plan will be based on needs identified through community input, by opportunities presented by upcoming capital projects, and via available grant funding. Staff will use the Bicycle Investment Tool to identify investments that will encourage the most passengers to bike to BART.

Recommended Strategies

Cyclist Circulation

1.1 BART Bicycle Plan: Modeling Bicycle Access to Transit | v
1.2 Optimize routes between surrounding network and fare gates
1.3 Evaluate and install stairway channels
1.4 Revisit bicycles on escalators policy
1.5 Clean elevators regularly

Plentiful Parking

2.1 Provide adequate bicycle parking of each type
2.2 Fight bicycle theft
2.3 Maintain bicycle facilities more frequently
2.4 Expand bicycle parking payment options

Beyond BART Boundaries

3.1 Evaluate and implement bicycle sharing at BART stations
3.2 Support local efforts to improve bicycle access to stations
3.3 Create station area maps with recommended bike routes

Bikes on BART

4.1 Provide space for bicycles in new BART cars
4.2 Evaluate blackout periods

Persuasive Programs

5.1 Educate passengers and staff on use and benefits of bicycles
5.2 Improve communications with customers on BART bicycle policies and facilities
5.3 Create bicycle program in BART Capital Improvement Plan
5.4 Collect access mode data before/after bicycle improvements
5.5 Increase automobile parking fees
5.6 Participate in more Bike-to-Work day events

Recommended Strategies

The BART Bicycle Plan has but a single goal—to double the share of BART passengers systemwide who access stations by bicycle by 2022. This plan presents a number of strategies to accomplish this, organized into the following five objectives:

  • Cyclist Circulation
    Improve station circulation for passengers with bicycles
  • Plentiful Parking
    Create world-class bicycle parking facilities
  • Beyond BART Boundaries
    Help assure great bicycle  access beyond  BART’s boundaries
  • Bikes on BART
    Optimize bicycle accommodations aboard trains
  • Persuasive Programs
    Complement bicycle-supportive policies and facilities with support programs

These categories include strategies that range from ideas that pertain to individual stations to those that would be applied systemwide, from approaches to expand bicycle parking options to those that improve onboard access.

While the Goal & Strategies chapter suggests many ways BART could encourage more passengers to bike to its stations,  the  plan’s last  chapter  focuses  on the  20 expected to be the most effective, and on which BART is recommended to concentrate its resources during the ten-year plan period. The plan concludes with a list of next steps for BART staff to follow in order to implement the recommended strategies and achieve the plan goal of doubling bicycle access to BART.

Bicycle Investment Tool

To help BART and other commuter rail operators predict the effect of an assortment of bicycle-related investments on bicycle access, and to compare these investments to the cost of providing automobile parking, this plan also includes a new Bicycle Investment Tool. The tool, which employs a simple spreadsheet interface, will help BART achieve the plan goal and implement its strategies by helping identify the investments that will encourage the most passengers to bicycle to each station, including new passengers and existing riders who shift from other modes.

Plan Development Process

The BART Bicycle Plan was developed by a team of consultants guided by BART staff in 2011 and 2012. A large External Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)— comprising bicycle planning staff from countywide agencies, local governments, representatives of countywide bicycle advocacy groups and Caltrans staff—and an Internal TAC, made up of representatives of BART Customer Access, Planning, External Affairs, Transportation and Operations, helped inform the process and reviewed early drafts of each plan chapter and investment tool iteration (see Acknowledgements). The BART Board of Directors reviewed the plan in June 2012.