A recently extended agreement between BART and the U.S. Geological Survey will allow the transit agency to continue monitoring local seismic activity and alert the public with real-time information when an earthquake takes place nearby.
The pilot program, which was set to expire Dec. 31, does not predict earthquakes but instead sends an alert to users that one has started, shaking is expected at their location, and they should take cover immediately. Alerts may be issued via television, radio and cell phone, and give safety directions like Drop, Cover, and Hold On.
"BART uses earthquake information from ShakeAlert to protect our riders, workers and infrastructure by triggering automated actions, like slowing trains to prevent potential derailment," said BART Director John McPartland, whose district includes the Tri-Valley.
Using data from ShakeAlert, which has powered the Earthquake Early Warning System since its inception, BART will receive details on the earthquake's origin, time, location and magnitude, as well as ground motion records and estimates.
As the first public transportation agency in the country to adopt an early earthquake warning system, BART has partnered with the USGS, which issues ShakeAlert messages used by BART and other partners, for the past nine years.
In addition to ShakeAlert data, BART also has an Earthquake Emergency Response Plan and holds several drills a year so staff is trained and prepared to respond.
In the event of an earthquake, passengers should follow instructions from BART employees, who are trained to evacuate riders from dangerous areas. Following an earthquake, BART trains will remain in place (with the exception of the Transbay Tube and Caldecott Tunnel) until it is safe to move to the nearest station and off-board passengers.