Project Background

Photo of Route 43 express new bus on campus

Updated Nov. 24, 2020

Ithaca and Tompkins County are constantly evolving and as the region continues to experience new construction developments and population growth, it is an opportune time to consider how the broader transportation system, including bus transit services, will need to adapt as well.

TCAT is taking a brave and visionary approach into the future. Our bus system provides a vital service for both residents and visitors, who take the bus to get to jobs, schools, healthcare services, shopping, and recreation. A comprehensive review and assessment of the TCAT bus network is a critical step in continuing our growth and commitment towards delivering safe, reliable, and affordable transit services.

The Transit Development Plan (TDP) 2020 is a holistic process that TCAT started in June 2020 and will complete in mid-summer 2021 in consultation with the nationally renowned transit planning and design firm, Sam Schwartz, based in New York City. The TDP is a comprehensive review of the demand for transit within the service area and its existing bus network with the goal of refining services to existing or new demand, increasing overall ridership and utilization, and providing equitable and reliable bus service.

The goals of the TCAT TDP 2020 are:

  • Envision and plan a clear, efficient, and attractive fixed‐route transit system with multi‐modal connectivity.
  • Provide solutions for first/last-mile services, especially in the rural areas of Tompkins County.
  • Plan for frequent-service corridors that are attractive for riders and support amenity and service improvements.
  • Increase overall ridership, reliability, and utilization of TCAT services.
  • Ensure that the bus network continues to serve people equitably, including historically vulnerable communities, seniors and youths, and population with disabilities.

Public Engagement

As community involvement is crucial in informing the TDP, TCAT in Fall 2020 kicked off the public engagement part of the project starting with a mid-October open house. In the ensuing five weeks, a team of seven transit ambassadors surveyed and gathered input from the community while TCAT facilitated a number of virtual focus groups targeting specific ridership types, to include college students, developers and seniors, urban and rural riders. Additionally, we invited our community members, riders and non-riders alike, to make use of an online planning tool to tell us how their local transit agency can best serve Tompkins County.

A second round of public engagement events and activities will begin in March for all stakeholders to weigh in on staff and consultant recommendations. If COVID-19 restrictions continue to be in place by then, all scheduled engagement events are anticipated to be online, and you will be able to participate from your home or remotely.

On the side bar is where you can find the latest news and updates regarding the TCAT TDP 2020 process, relevant project documents, and the best way to contact us and to stay involved and informed as the project progresses.




Project Timeline

June 23, 2020

Technical Advisory Committe #1
Goals, Objectives, and Visioning

October 2020

Open House #1
Service Network Design Exercises

  • Interactive Mapping
  • Ideal Wall
  • Participatory Budgeting

October – November, 2020

Technical Advisory Committe #2
Service Network Design Exercise

Focus Groups

Intercept Surveys

March – April 2021

Focus Groups

Open House #2
Feedback on draft recommendations

Technical Advisory Committee #3
Feedback on draft recommendations

June – July 2021

Technical Advisory Committee #4
Final TDP Presentation

2020 Transit Development Plan timeline infographic