To be honest, considering the alignment for the VLW, I would dare say it'll be higher than this number, even. WEM, Oliver and DT are arguably the areas of the city with the highest potential for trip generation.Considering that the LRT network is radial, it seems like each 'leg' of high floor LRT (NE, S, NW) is expected to see ~100,000 riders, while low floor (W, SE) sees ~65,000. It would be interesting to see how Calgary's splits compare.
My bet, for ridership numbers upon completion of the VLW would be somewhere around 200k/day (weekdays), with a reasonably even split between the 3 lines (likely more riders on Capital Line, due to it's length). I wouldn't be shocked if we got to the 400k/day by 2040, which is when the lines are expected to be at their final extension, based on population growth and the addition of the VL Aline.
If you think that it's at around 110k/day before VLSE, and it, alone, is expected to bring around 30k/day, with at least 35k/day expected to be added by VLW (which I believe is very conservative), we'd have a baseline 175k, if ridership doesn't grow at all on the high-floor lines until 2026-27 (which is unrealistic, considering populational growth and densification efforts). If ridership grows proportionally to population on the high floor lines alone, we'd be at around 195k/day by 2027.
I'll spare the whole calculation, but based off populational growth alone, without considering the expansion of the high floor lines, ridership should be at roughly 330k/day by 2040.
To get to the 450k/day, you'd need around 35% on top of this, to come out of Capital and Metro line expansions and any additional densification around the lines. I don't think this is wild by any measure.
If you consider this target for 2050, with a lowered population growth rate (lower immigration and lower bound of natural growth, coming at a total 1.8% a.a.). On population alone, we'd easily be at 400k/day WITHOUT the Metro and Capital lines expansions.
My personal belief: conservatively, we'll hit somewhere closer to 400k/day by 2040 and be over 500k/day by 2050. There's a lot going on to favor this: by 2040 Blatchford should be fairly developed; NAIT, MacEwan and UofA have aggressive expansion plans; there's a deliberate push densification around the LRT, and it's very likely that populational growth is not uniform through the city, and it grows more on denser areas; We have limited capacity to absorb additional traffic, and as congestion worsens, more people will start considering rapid transit;