BART is in early planning stages for its next-generation rail car. There is no money available for the $3.6 billion plan, but already some key design decisions are being made. In particular, more attention is focusing on passenger flows and dwell time, which means we will likely see 3-door cars and less seating. The extra vestibule space should help not just cyclists, but wheelchair users and people with baggage, strollers, etc. Fortunately, nobody is talking about “dedicated” bike cars, a very archaic and unworkable concept (bikes should be accommodated like any other bulky luggage).
Here are some design concepts showing some possible configurations:
One idea I’d like to see studied is articulated trains, similar to those used in Madrid and Berlin. The nice thing about articulated trains is that passengers can move from one car to the next without having to go through doors. This helps to even out passenger load throughout the train, making it a bit easier to accommodate bikes and other bulky items on-board.