ASME-Landmark:Bay Area Rapid Transit System


Mass transit was in its heyday at the turn of the 20th century, marked by the opening of systems in Paris (1900), New York (1904), and Philadelphia (1907). But the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system didn't open until 1972—a gap in time that allowed for an innovative spirit and a "clean slate" approach to building the transit system of the future.

BART used aluminum extrusions—some the full 70-foot length of each car—to produce a fast, lightweight, and energy-efficient vehicle and the first "monocoque" shell design in America for railroad cars. Innovative ventilation and fire-control systems made the 3.6-mile trans-bay tube—the longest underwater tube of its kind—practical. Other firsts include hydraulic brakes, air springs, ball joints between cars, and the breakthrough Automatic Train Control system, all created to address environment concerns such as energy efficiency, protection of air quality, reduction of noise, and repair/maintenance ease.

Former BART president Adrien Falk led the BART team during design and construction, and Bill Stokes was the general manager from 1962 to 1974. The engineering firms involved in BART's development were Parsons-Brinckerhoff-Douglas McQuade, Tudor Engineering, and the Bechtel Corporation.

The BART project sparked a transportation renaissance in the 1970s, saved the Bay Area from strangulation and congestion, and made economic vitality and growth possible by facilitating speedy travel to/from the core of San Francisco. See ASME website for more information