Shaping TCAT’s future

May 2021

TCAT’s first draft of its Transit Development Plan (TDP) 2020-2021 – a once-in-a-decade system-wide redesign aimed at improving service — is now available for the public to view and to offer feedback.

TCAT’s  TDP process started in June 2020 and a final draft will be completed in mid-to-late summer 2021 in consultation with the nationally renowned transit planning and design firm, Sam Schwartz, based in New York City. The TDP  involves a comprehensive review of demand with the goal of refining services to increase overall ridership, and to provide equitable and reliable bus service. 

Last fall, Phase 1 of the public outreach process netted input from TCAT riders and stakeholders who relayed their ideas on how to improve and grow their local transit agency. In the ensuing months, Sam Schwartz consultants, using that feedback and expert analysis of TCAT’s service network, created the draft plan.

Phase 2  of public engagement started with a virtual open house on May 25, but there are still many ways to view the draft plan and weigh in from now until the end of June. For details clickThe draft will then be viewed by a Technical Review Committee comprised of local stakeholders and using all feedback, Sam Schwartz will create a final draft for the TCAT Board of Directors will consider a final draft later this summer.

Riders can expect part of the plan to be implemented in January, 2020, while other changes will be made gradually based on resources and current conditions. Please note: with any  proposals at any time that involve disruption or significant reduction of service on any particular route, TCAT will hold first hold public hearings before making final decisions and implementing changes. (see project timeline below.)


In a hurry?


Go directly to TDP proposals and online mapping tool.

News & Updates

We are taking feedback through end of June.

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.