Everyone’s got an opinion, and BART wants to hear yours…but instead of writing a letter or attending a meeting, they want you to play a game. Who said transit planning couldn’t be fun?
BART’s new interactive game, Future BART, is an online game with a practical twist. In Future BART, you wear the shoes of a BART Director and make decisions on how the BART Board should spend its money to improve the system. Your decisions will give the real BART Directors feedback on what BART riders want, which they’ll use to develop BART’s 40-year Vision Plan.
To play the game, you simply: 1) make a budget, 2) pick projects to fund, and 3) compare the benefits that come from spending certain amounts of money on certain types of improvements (heads-up – we think the option to Fix and Modernize BART is a no-brainer!)
We played the game, and here’s what we found:
- If you don’t select “Fix and Modernize BART” or any of the “More Station and Train Capacity” investments, you can’t maximize the benefits.
- If you select ANY of the New Transit Service Items, system reliability goes down. This means more delays, more breakdowns, and fewer cars in service. We – and the over 400,000 people who ride BART every weekday - would like to avoid this.
- When we select “Fix and Modernize BART”, “More Train and Station Capacity”, and just one of the smaller New Transit Services options, we maximized ALL of the benefits!
- The game reflects reality: even with the biggest possible budget, you can’t do lots of expansion AND keep the system in good shape too! Try it – even if you select all the Funding choices, you can’t do any two of the big-ticket “New Transit Service” items AND “Fix and Modernize” BART at the same time. There just isn’t enough money to do all three. Just like us, BART has to choose!
So what’s the moral of Future BART? To get the most benefits with the funding we have, we have to fix and modernize BART, and invest in more station and train capacity.
To make BART safer, more frequent, more reliable, and more affordable, BART Directors must prioritize investing in maintaining and improving the system we have. If we fix and maintain BART, it will be on time, frequent, affordable, and clean for the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on it every day. If we fix and maintain BART, there will be fewer cars clogging our roads and polluting our air. If we fix and maintain BART, we’ll make the Bay Area a better place to work and live.
Play Future BART today to show your BART Director you care about fixing the system to save BART!
PS – if you’ve seen other good interactive online transit games, let me know! I’m a sucker for transit games.