Who Will Ride

How many people will ride a passenger train in Sonoma and Marin Counties?

Four studies of the SMART Corridor have concluded that passenger rail service running at 30 minute intervals during commute hours would draw 4,500-6,000 riders per day. Each of these studies used travel analysis zones to model travel demands, and to anticipate the effects of population and employment changes. The studies were published in 1997 (Calthorpe), 2000 (Wilbur Smith), 2002 (Schiermeyer), and 2006 (Dowling). To view these reports, use the links below.

The Sonoma-Marin Multi-Model Transportation and Land Use Study (Peter Calthorpe) published in 1997 analyzed four different scenarios to test differing approaches to minimizing congestion and maximizing mobility. It predicted the demand for passenger rail service under three of five possible scenarios for future developments in the two counties. Scenario “A” was based on commuter rail service without much compact infill residential and commercial activity around stations and forecast 6,000 riders per day. Scenario “C” was based on commuter rail service when all cities had decided to focus growth primarily in compact mixed-use areas near the train stations, and ridership doubled to 12,000 riders per day. Scenario “D” was based on all day train service to compact cities, and ridership reached 24,000 per day. Chapter 2 of the study, which analyzes these transportation and land use scenarios can be viewed by clicking the link below (PDF–35 pages 4MB). The chart showing the ridership analysis appears on page 8 of the PDF document:

Calthorpe Analysis of Scenarios

The Sonoma-Marin Rail Plan (Wilbur Smith) published in 2000 compared options for peak hour service to various cities along the rail line, considering existing patterns of job and housing concentrations in each city. It predicted that rail service between San Rafael and Cloverdale would attract about 4,700 riders per day in the year 2012. To view the ridership chart, go to page 5 of the following PDF link:

Wilbur Smith Associates Ridership, Revenue, Costs

Ridership and Revenue Forecast (Carl Schiermeyer) published in 2002 focused on the likely travel patterns between cities and predicted nearly 6,000 riders between Cloverdale and San Rafael for the year 2020. To view this study, use the link below (23 pages, 1MB):

Schiermeyer Rail Ridership & Revenue Forcast

Daily ridership for the proposed SMART Train Project was conservatively predicted by Dowling Associates to be more than 5,000 riders for the years 2010 and 2025. The forecasts were based on the MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) transportation demand model, and showed daily ridership in the 5,000 to 6,000 range, depending on costs of gasoline and the amount of infill development at rail stations. These forecasts are contained in the Master Responses to Comment, and in Appendix I of the Final Environmental Impact Report, Certified by the SMART Board on July 21, 2006. (See, Final Environmental Impact Report, Master Response to Comments F, G, and I, at pages 3.2-24 to 3.2-28; see also, Appendix I, page 12.)

Master responses to comment (1.6MB — 60 pages):


Revisions and corrections including Appendix I of Final ERI (2.2MB — 100 pages):


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