The idea for the proposed Regional Transportation Study evolved over the last two years. A group of representatives from Tompkins County and surrounding counties have been meeting periodically, hosted by TC3, to discuss the need for better coordinated management of commuters moving across counties.
The proposed study is envisioned as a regional mobility study, not just regional transit study. Its purpose is to increase, and better manage, mobility alternatives for intercounty travel, primarily commuters. There is significant inter-county commuting in the multi-county area surrounding Tompkins County. For example, Tompkins County is a net-labor importer with approximately 10,000 to 13,000 persons traveling into Tompkins from neighboring counties, while approximately 4,000 commute from Tompkins to employment in other counties. Presently, the great majority of intercounty trips (work based and other) in the region are made by car on state highways.
A regional approach to mobility management looks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of existing mobility services, develop and market real mobility choices to the public, and enable coordination among counties to reduce costs of public program transportation. An effective regional mobility program could reduce the volume, or at least reduce the growth rate, of commuter traffic on the highway network. This approach to protect our existing road infrastructure by improving multi-modal mobility and particularly reducing drive alone trips is a principal recommendation of the 2030 Long-Range Transportation Plan for Tompkins County.
In summary, the proposed regional mobility plan is comprehensive, including all alternatives to reduce drive-alone automobile trips and to provide realistic options to persons who are unable to or choose not to drive. The shift from drive-alone trips to different shared trip options will reduce pressure on the highway system and particularly on State Roads. Bus transportation, including commuter bus and intercity bus services, needs to be considered in the study. In addition to bus, there are mobility programs, such as van pools, guaranteed ride home, ridesharing, etc., which should be analyzed for coordinated implementation region-wide. Human service programs have intercounty travel needs which can be also be coordinated to reduce costs of public programs and provide access to needed services. The regional mobility plan should be developed as a regional mobility management plan to cost-effectively increase intercounty mobility services.