Fleet of the Future BART train tests ShakeAlert earthquake warning system

ByMelanie Woodrow via KGO logo
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
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Elected officials on a "Fleet of the Future" BART Train barely felt it slow down to 27 miles per hour.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Elected officials on a "Fleet of the Future" BART Train barely felt it slow down to 27 miles per hour.

BART was testing its earthquake early warning system known as "ShakeAlert."

"That's the entire point of earthquake early warning is to make future earthquakes as uneventful as possible," said Richard Allen, UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory Director.

RELATED: Is San Francisco ready for the next big disaster, earthquake?

BART is an early adopter of ShakeAlert which will be available to all Bay Area Organizations.

"This is not just a game changer it's a lifesaver," said California State Senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo.

ShakeAlert's protects public safety and infrastructure.

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"That will allow you to get to a safe place, it will allow, through technological means, trains to be slowed or stopped, it will allow surgeons to withdraw a scalpel from a patient," said US Representative Adam Schiff of Burbank.

California has provided $25-million over the past two years and the federal government to date has provided $46.3-million to implement ShakeAlert.

Elected officials here made the case for continued federal and state funding to expand the system.

"It is time that we all recognize that infrastructure is not red or blue-- in fact generally it is grey," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

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ShakeAlert provides up to tens of seconds of advance warning that the ground will begin shaking.

"You very rapidly detect the beginnings of the earthquake, the first signals from the earthquake at the surface close to the epicenter you than characterize the area over which the shaking is going to be felt and then you push an alert out to people who are going to be in harm's way," said Allen.

RELATED: VIDEO: How early earthquake warning system for West Coast could save lives

The United States Geological Survey is inviting software developers and others to create pilot projects that demonstrate ShakeAlert notifications including one that could one-day alert individuals on their cellphones.

For more information on the ShakeAlert system go here.

Get the latest stories and videos about earthquakes here.