Some background about TCAT and its data sharing practices, requirements & philosophy.

Take me straight to your data dashboards.

Much has happened

since TCAT was legally structured as a private, not-for-profit single transportation provider in Tompkins County, that launched Jan. 1, 2005. See here if you want the long version, but in a nutshell TCAT is a result of an agreement among Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca and Cornell University that — up until then — essentially operated their own transit agencies to serve a combined population of around 100,000.

Show More

Crazy, right? Our then- local leaders thought so, too, but they had years of work, funding issues and negotiations to work out. So, it wasn’t until after 2005 that finally, as one single transit agency, TCAT was able to begin sharing a more holistic picture of local transit.

In its early days TCAT only had enough resources to share the basics, but with better technology and the addition of more staff, continues to find more efficient methods to accurately mine more data to help them figure out what our community needs and wants from its public transit agency. TCAT, as does any good business, needs critical data to move forward and to weigh the community’s wish list with available resources while making sure we are serving our entire community equitably.

What we are required to do

as a publicly funded transit system, is to report all sorts of information to a number of government agencies, to the Federal Transit Administration from National Transit Database (NTD) ridership numbers to safety reports to the New York State’s Department of Transportation for their inspection and approval for us to stay on the road. TCAT is also obligated to inform our local funders, the county, the city and Cornell, each of which nominates three representatives to serve on the TCAT Board of Directors.

What we believe we should do

is to constantly strive for transparency to everyone and make it as easy as possible to obtain our information especially to our core stakeholders – our riders.

Show More

To connect with riders on a more formal basis we established a Riders Advisory Committee in 2007, but TCAT also fulfills information requests as much as possible to any rider who calls, visits or emails us with a request. TCAT also believes in being upfront with our news reporters who help us keep our community informed of what’s going on with us, and to planners and builders who are thinking about a housing or commercial development that transit could benefit. We believe in sharing our numbers with students who have been assigned a transit-related project and to transit peers, who like TCAT, are searching for comparisons to tell them how they are doing or what they should and should not do to improve. We also provide our data with industry associations, peer organizations and county, city and municipal governments to work jointly on comprehensive planning, projects, initiatives and best practices.

What we look at

are the factors weigh against our minimum standards and target goals that cover ridership, safety, finance, maintenance, fleet size and (non-confidential) human resources information. Results are used in conjunction with the goals and objectives within’ our Strategic Plan  and our soon-to-be completed Transit Development Plan 2021

How to look at it

should be easier than ever online at our website with new data visualization software we’ve been using. For those who want print information or to talk about our data we will try and connect with you as soon as possible to get you what you want.

Show More

So far we are providing information for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 with this new tool on various metrics to include month by month ridership, route performance and fleet characteristics, such as fuel and maintenance costs. (DATA).

As this is a work in progress, we also invite you to weigh in with their thoughts on what they would like to see. You can call us at (607) 277-7433 and a customer service representative will relay your request, you can email us at or you can drop us a line to 737 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850.

From 2011 to 2017, TCAT staff published annual reports that can be obtained here or by using the communication methods listed above via email, regular mail or phone call. Annual Reports.