Figuring out transportation can be one of the most intimidating aspects of visiting a new city. New York City has one of the most streamlined, yet oftentimes complicated transportation systems in the country (and possibly the world). New Yorkers love the convenience of the subway system, but hate the complications that a soggy or snowy day can easily creates in its wake. OK, ok…I won’t freak you out too much.

Actually, after a couple of trips from Point A to Point B it’s pretty easy to get the hang of how the transportation works in the city, as former PA Allison Walker explains in a recent blog post. And I’ll prove it. Columbia University has a few tips on getting around not only the city, but on how you can make commuting from your apartment to campus all-the-more easier. Here are 5 ways to get around Columbia University.


1. Get An MTA Card
There is no shortage of transportation options in and around the greater New York City area and beyond, thanks to the MTA and the New York Waterway.

According to the MTA, mass transit helps New Yorkers avoid about 17 million metric tons of pollutants while emitting only 2 million metric tons, making it perhaps the single biggest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) avoidance in the United States. Visit the MTA website for subway, bus, Metro-North and Long Island Railroad schedules and service announcements.


2. Take A Stroll
Walking is the most basic form of transportation, and it’s one of Columbia’s preferred commute modes. Walking is a terrific way to travel for both your health and for the environment. Pedestrian activity and street life adds to the vibrancy, health, and safety of our communities. Walk on, Columbia. (Hint:Use the walk mode in Google Maps to determine a walking route, distance, and timing.)

Walking is faster than you might think

  • 10 blocks (0.5 mile) takes about 10 minutes to walk.
  • Most people walk about 3 miles per hour or 1 block per minute.
  • Walking between avenues takes about 3 minutes.


3. Bike to Campus
New York City is rapidly expanding its bike-ability. In 2015, NYC reached over 1,000 miles of bike lanes. New York City doubled bicycle commuting between 2007 and 2011, and aims to triple it by 2017. At Columbia, with over 1,000 bike commuters, bike commuting has more than doubled since 2004. The growing bike culture and bike lane network is a move towards safer streets and increased transportation options.

By bike it takes about:

  • 4 minutes to bike 10 blocks
  • 21 minutes to bike between Morningside and CUMC, via the car-free, Hudson River Greenway. Map route
  • 15 minutes to bike between the Upper East Side and Morningside. Map route
  • 8 minutes to bike between Morningside and Manhattanville. Map route


4. Take the Intercampus Shuttle
The Intercampus shuttle runs Monday through Friday, excluding University holidays. Get real-time shuttle location and arrival information from any computer or smartphone using TransLoc. Track the Columbia buses in real-time at or download the free TransLoc Transit Visualization app to access information while on the go, including real-time location of all buses and announcements of potential service disruptions. Shuttle route maps may be downloaded here.


5. Carpool With Classmates
Carpooling allows you to share the cost and driving responsibilities of your commute with another passenger. This page provides information and tools to help you find carpool partners and help you learn about the incentives that support carpooling.

Want more tips for getting around campus this fall? Visit Columbia University’s Transportation website at For admissions questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 212-854-6216 or