skip to Main Content

Congratulations to Jonathon Yu on their winning submission!

Check out screenshots of the winning submission in the gallery. If you’d like to see the data in action, you’ll need to download Tableau and the associated winning submission data package.

Please note that the submission period is closed. Thank you to those who have submitted. Data is still available for download if you are interested in exploring Caltrain’s ridership and existing and future land use along the corridor

The Challenge

Railroads are complicated, data-driven systems and we need your help using this data to tell a story. We are releasing for the first time data that provides a detailed picture of Caltrain’s existing service, corridor and ridership as well as detailed data related to three potential scenarios, or “2040 service visions”, that show how the railroad could grow in the future. These scenarios have been developed through the Caltrain Business Plan process. Your analysis will help us, and the public, understand them better.

Key data sets provided include:

    • Ridership Forecasts: Ridership forecasts for each future scenario (Baseline, Medium, and High Growth scenarios) are provided by origin and destination, broken into time of day (Early AM – 1 Hour, AM Peak – 5 Hours, Midday – 4 Hours, PM Peak – 5 Hours, Evening – 4 Hours, and Weekend).
    • Conceptual Train Schedules: Full train schedules for each of the future scenarios are provided. Data provides potential train frequency, travel times and stopping patterns.
    • Land Use: Land use forecasts are provided for station areas based on Plan Bay Area and approved projects by individual cities.
    • Corridor Geography: The map package includes a basic layout of the Caltrain corridor, including station locations, at-grade crossing locations, and jurisdictional boundaries.



In 20 years, the Bay Area’s population is expected to grow by more than 40%, adding an additional 2.4 million residents and 1.3 million jobs. Making sure the influx of people and jobs is met with appropriate transportation and infrastructure investments is key to unlocking the potential of the region. This anticipated growth however, presents a challenge for public transportation agencies across the Bay, including Caltrain. By 2040, the Caltrain corridor, which runs from San Francisco to San Jose and Gilroy, is projected to add 1.2 million people and jobs within two miles of Caltrain stations. How can we explain different choices and investments the railroad can make to help increase mobility options throughout the Bay Area? What do you think would be the best way for people to understand how the corridor can serve different communities while anticipating population increases?

We challenge you to use designs, programming and visualization tools to show how Caltrain can meet the mobility needs of the Bay Area today and to analyze what it could look like in 2040 under the different future growth scenarios. How can you creatively show the benefits of different growth options on the corridor? How would a rider understand how much more service would be provided and to which stops? How do the future service options pair with future land use projections along the corridor?

The winning visualization will help tell a story. In the first ever Caltrain data visualization challenge, the winning entry will be presented to the Caltrain Board of Directors and be featured in the final report, recommending the long range vision for the Caltrain system.

The Caltrain Business Plan is a joint effort with agency partners and communities along the corridor to plan for this growth. The Business Plan will help us develop a better understanding of the region’s future transportation needs and identify opportunities and strategies for how the Caltrain system can help.


Caltrain provides a safe, reliable, sustainable and modern rail service along the San Francisco Peninsula, through Silicon Valley and into San Jose and Gilroy. Caltrain is already the seventh largest and second most dense commuter rail system in the country. However, as the population and economic opportunities increase throughout the Bay Area, Caltrain ridership and demand is expected to grow.

The first step in this transformation is the electrification of the Caltrain corridor, which allows trains to run faster, more frequently while reducing noise and emissions. The Business Plan will build on the foundation being created with the electrification project by developing a long-term service vision for the corridor.

The Caltrain team is exploring three “Growth Scenarios,” which identify the expected level of service, or number of trains per hour. They also define the infrastructure changes needed to support increased service, including changes to stations and other facilities.


Visualizations, simulation tools, animations, maps, and infographics that tell us something new or illustrate how people will be utilizing mobility options in 2040. Winning entries will be both aesthetically pleasing and help tell a story. This could include interactive data analysis tools, animations, gifs, artistic representations, or even a game.


Newly released aggregated and anonymous Caltrain data sets are now available to the public. This includes information regarding train frequency, train travel time, and land use information.


We are looking for anyone and everyone who is interested in helping visualize transportation challenges. Team up or take this on yourself, any and all are welcome to join. This includes data and mapping enthusiasts, students, professors, designers, artists, cartographers, data devotees by profession and those who just do it for fun.


The winning entries may be used to influence the future of transportation throughout the Bay Area. By helping illustrate the potential Caltrain service, this can provide residents more information on how to smartly move about the Bay Area. Winning teams will be featured on the Caltrain Business Plan website and final report presented to the Caltrain board. Winning artists will also receive a Caltrain t-shirt, reusable water bottle and a behind the scenes tour of the Caltrain maintenance facility in San Jose.


      • This challenge kickoff is May 1st
      • Caltrain team will be at the Code for SF Brigade Meeting on May 8th
      • Caltrain data team will host a YouTube live chat for interested parties on May 29th
      • Visualizations must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on June 15th
      • Winners will be announced in July


For more information, please contact:

Data Visualization Examples
Back To Top