Accessing Bart

Transportation & Land Use Connection

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) regional rail system plays a vital role in commute and leisure travel within the Bay Area. In 2013, nearly 400,000 station exits per average weekday were recorded to date. However, while BART connects the region, only a small proportion of Bay Area residents live within walking distance of a BART station. While encouraging transit ridership on BART is one way to get individuals to choose more sustainable travel modes, it is important to understand travel mode choices for the complete trip, which includes how people access BART.

Feeder bus lines, secure bicycle facilities, and commuter parking lots are a few methods to help users access BART stations. How does access to BART affect regional sustainability goals? For example, while there are environmental benefits of riding BART compared to driving to a destination (including decreased congestion on roads and pollutants emitted from tailpipe emissions), accessing BART by driving to a parking lot may negative those benefits. The highest fuel burn and levels of pollutants emitted from vehicle are from warming up the engine, or “cold starts.” Similarly, good infrastructure and walkability of an area might encourage more people to access BART more sustainably (e.g. walk, bike, or take transit).

We explore a few station area characteristics and their relationship to what mode BART riders choose to arrive at stations. This information can place a rider’s complete trip in context, guiding policy decisions and informing planners how station area characteristics can affect region-wide sustainability.

Photo above by Dan Rosenstrauch during the July 2013 BART Strike