All the discussion in the last few months about bicycles aboard Caltrain got me thinking. What is the real potential? How many cyclists could potentially use Caltrain? I decided to a little investigating.
One way to look at this is to examine the likelihood people will take the train based on their proximity to a station. Studies have shown that pedestrians are willing to walk about 10 minutes to public transit. Let's assume that instead of walking these people cycle. A cyclist riding at 12 mph will go 2 miles in 10 minutes. Few people have straight ride to a station; most will have to take a route with cross streets, stop signs, stop lights, etc. So, let's assume that the actual pace of a commuter is more like 10 mph. This is 1.67 miles.
I've created a Google map that shows 1.67 mile circles around all of the Caltrain stations. It's interesting to see just how much area of each city is covered by these circles, especially on the peninsula. This simple analysis makes it pretty clear a whole bunch of people might be inclined to use the train if they can be accommodated.
Google divided the map into pages (not sure why) so you won't see all the stations on the first page. Make sure you click the arrows on the bottom left to see the other pages.