"It is the primary mechanism people use for traveling by foot along the railway," said Oversier, who estimated the procedure is used hundreds of times every month.
Requiring train operators and the control center to share responsibility for track worker safety is bound to cause service delays, but "we can't live with a continuation of this situation and what happened on Saturday," Oversier said during an interview with The Associated Press.
"The impact on the reliability of the service will be a negative one, but at this point we don't see any other alternative, and we think that's just the way it had to be and we have to bite that bullet," he said.
Federal safety investigators who are reviewing the events leading up the accident have said the train that struck the workers was traveling 60 to 70 mph and did not have to slow down or observe any safety signals as it approached them.
The workers — Christopher Sheppard, 58, a BART track engineer, and Laurence Daniels, 66, a contract employee — also did not have radios or other communications device to alert them when a train was approaching, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Paul Southworth said.