|Original photo by qviri|
But not here on the peninsula.
In a contrarian argument made circa 2005, Caltrain's operations staff claimed that demand-based planning is a myth. (14 Mb PDF file) At the time, Caltrain was crowing to its industry peers about the success of the Baby Bullet. The keys to success included "Questioning Traditional Planning Processes" and "Trusting Your Intuition". Numbers don't matter, just go with your gut!
In the years since, there has been plenty of hard evidence that the Baby Bullet has severely reduced ridership at many locations, especially in Santa Clara County. Indeed, data from the 2010 census can be correlated to the latest Caltrain ridership data without ever looking at a timetable to reflect quite accurately which Caltrain stops are under-served and falling short of their ridership potential.
Maybe demand-based planning isn't such a myth after all. Maybe numbers don't lie. Here's hoping that objective, quantitative metrics will play a central role in planning future blended operation scenarios with high-speed rail. This stuff is too important to trust anybody's intuition.