The city of San Francisco on the West Coast of the United States is constructing a revolutionary new mass transit system.
The city of San Francisco on the West Coast of the United States is constructing a revolutionary new mass transit system. The system, begun from scratch, will cost about one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000). Its wholly automatic trains will run at high speeds over an elaborate network of elevated, underground, underwater and surface lines with nobody at all at the controls. The system has been described as "a horizontal elevator."
The new system got its start eight years ago when the California State legislature authorized the Bay Area Rapid Transit district known as BART. (The "Bay Area" refers to the city of San Francisco and the suburbs lying around it on the other side of San Francisco Bay). In San Francisco, Bay Area commuters must get to work from their suburban homes by car or bus, and the area's bridges, tunnels and highways are heavily overloaded. Projections indicate that to handle the increasing load would require the construction of seventy lanes of highway before 1975, and the assignment of six million square feet of space in the central city to provide parking places. Within 25 years the area's population is expected to double, and automobiles will increase at the rate of 240 per day.
There appeared no alternative but to devise some other means of moving commuters in and out of the central city from the suburbs. In November of 1962, Bay Area citizens voted the largest local bond issue ever approved by any community anywhere: 792 million dollars to construct a 75 mile, two-track network of fast electric trains. The system will be the first all-new mass transit system to be built in the United States in more than half a century.
In June of 1965, construction of elevated lines in one section was nearing completion. These lines, of a unique design, will carry the two tracks at T-shaped pylons which are expected to be more graceful and less disruptive than previous elevated structures. The tracks are wider than the American standard to increase the stability of the lightweight trains that will use them.
There are to be 31 miles of elevated line. Another 20 miles will be underground including tunnels under the slipping, sliding, earthquake-prone Berkeley Hills, a tunnel tube under San Francisco Bay, and a highly complex subway structure under San Francisco's Market Street. Other lines will run at grade level.
The trains on these tracks will have a cruising speed of eighty miles an hour. Allowing for stops at stations, they will average about 50 miles an hour, an average speed roughly twice that of any other urban system. There will be no operator aboard.
Each train will be operated by a centrally located computer which will close the doors, start the train, control it until it reaches its next station, stop it and open the doors again.
During peak traffic ??? every 90 seconds. An average station step ???