Shaping TCAT’s future

June 28, 2021

TCAT is nearing the end of its TDP 2020-2021 process – a once-in-a-decade system-wide redesign aimed at improving service.

The goal of the TDP, which started more than a year ago and included two phases of public outreach, is to refine TCAT’s transit services, increase overall ridership, and to provide equitable and reliable bus service.

Phase 2 of the public outreach process took place from May 25 to June 25 to give the public an opportunity to comment on a proposed system redesign submitted by TCAT’s TDP consultants, Sam Schwartz, a renowned transit consulting firm based in New York City.

In early July, the proposed redesign will be reviewed by a TDP Technical Advisory Committee, comprised of municipal planners, and social service and transit stakeholders.

Next steps: Using both committee and public feedback, Sam Schwartz will submit a final draft plan that will go to the TCAT Board of Directors later this summer for its consideration.

Riders can expect part of the plan to be implemented in January, 2022, while other changes will be made gradually based on resources and current conditions. Please note: with any proposals that disrupt or significantly reduce service on any particular route, TCAT will again reach out to the public before making final decisions and implementing changes. 

 TDP Draft Redesign
Why is this important?

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.

Most public transit agencies, adhering to industry practices, undergo a TDP about every 10 years. TCAT’s last TDP process started in 2009 and was completed in 2010 and netted more streamlined routing.


The goals of the TDP are to:
  • 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.