What Does Transportation Have to Do With The Ithaca Green New Deal?

The ability to move from place to place is critical to both the success of Ithaca and the wellbeing of its citizens. Each of us travels on a daily basis, whether that be to go to the grocery store, to work, to school, to a place of worship, or to enjoy a leisure activity. Nearly everything we do outside the home requires some type of transportation in order to be accessed. It’s wonderful to be able to quickly and easily access any location we want, but it comes at a cost. 

The Details

As you can see from the graph to the right, transportation makes up a massive 30% of all emissions in Thompkins County. That amounts to 298,775 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is amounts to roughly 329,209,502 pounds of coal burned. That means that if we hope to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, transportation will play an important role. That is why transportation is one of the pillars of the Ithaca Green New Deal.

“But wait!” you might say, “How much of that is cars and how much is shipping trucks?” That is a good question, and as it turns out, passenger vehicles make up the lion’s share of annual vehicle miles traveled (this is simply the total miles of every car, truck, bus, scooter, etc.). In order to reduce transportation emissions, then, we need to help our city become less reliant on cars and other passenger vehicles. This means making the city more walkable and bike-able, improving options for car sharing and carpooling, as well as improving public transit options for everyone.


It can be hard to know where to start, but luckily the work has already begun! Here are some organizations that are important to transportation in Ithaca or who are working to make transportation greener and more equitable:

TCAT is the bus service in Ithaca and Tompkins County 

Bike Walk Tompkins not only advocates for change in Tompkins county to promote bicycle use, they host events to help people of all ages and walks of life to get biking

Way2Go expands access to transportation by connecting people to existing options, and helping develop new community solutions

Ithaca Carshare is a local nonprofit with the mission of enhancing community access to transportation while reducing negative environmental and economic impacts of car use.

The Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council  is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Tompkins County.

Cornell and Ithaca College both have handy webpages of resources for faculty, staff, and students (a lot of the links are handy even if you’re not involved with the schools!)

EVTompkins is collaborating with key stakeholders to bring together all of the necessary elements of an electrified transportation system

GoIthaca is a membership program for Ithacans connecting you to various modes of transit to get from place to place

The information used for this page is available 2014 Tompkins County Community Greenhouse Gas Emission and Energy Use Inventory. This and other documents can be found on the Tompkins County Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions webpage. 

The visualizations were created in-house using Excel; feel free to download our Excel file here

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