A

 

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO): A nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It represents all five transportation modes: air, highways, public transportation, rail and water. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system.

 

Allocation: An administrative distribution of funds for programs that do not have statutory distribution formulas.

 

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP): The American Planning Association’s professional institute that provides recognized leadership nationwide in the certification of professional planners, ethics, professional development, planning education, and the standards of planning practice.

 

American Planning Association (APA): A nonprofit public interest and research organization committed to urban, suburban, regional, and rural planning. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, advance the art and science of planning to meet the needs of people and society.

 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The legislation defining the responsibilities of and requirements for transportation providers to make transportation accessible to individuals with disabilities.

 

Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO): is a nonprofit, membership organization established in 1994 to serve the needs and interests of “metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs)” nationwide. AMPO offers its member MPOs technical assistance and training, conferences and workshops, frequent print and electronic communications, research, a forum for transportation policy development and coalition building, and a variety of other services.

 

Attainment Area: An area considered to have air quality that meets or exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health standards used in the Clean Air Act. Nonattainment areas are areas considered not to have met these standards for designated pollutants. An area may be an attainment area for one pollutant and a nonattainment area for others.

 

Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT): The total volume of traffic on a highway segment for one year, divided by the number of days in the year.

C

 

Capacity: A transportation facility’s ability to accommodate a moving stream of people or vehicles in a given time period.

 

COG: Council of Governments (also known as regional councils, regional commissions, regional planning commissions, and planning districts) are regional governing and/or coordinating bodies that exist throughout the United States.

 

Commuter: A person who travels regularly between home and work or school.

 

Commuter Rail: Long-haul passenger service operating between metropolitan and suburban areas, whether within or across the geographical boundaries of a state, usually characterized by reduced fares for multiple rides, and commutation tickets for regular, recurring riders.

 

Conformity (Air Quality): Process to assess the compliance of any transportation plan, program, or project with air quality implementation plans. The conformity process is defined by the Clean Air Act.

 

Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ): A categorical Federal-aid funding program created with the ISTEA. Directs funding to projects that contribute to meeting National air quality standards. CMAQ funds generally may not be used for projects that result in the construction of new capacity available to SOVs (single-occupant vehicles).

 

Corridor: A broad geographical band that follows a general directional flow connecting major sources of trips that may contain a number of streets, highways and transit route alignments.

 

D

 

Department of Transportation (DOT): Establishes the nation’s overall transportation policy. Under its umbrella there are ten administrations whose jurisdictions include highway planning, development and construction; urban mass transit; railroads; aviation; and the safety of waterways, ports, highways, and oil and gas pipelines. The Department of Transportation (DOT) was established by act of October 15, 1966, as amended (49 U.S.C. 102 and 102 note), “to assure the coordinated, effective administration of the transportation programs of the Federal Government” and to develop “national transportation policies and programs conducive to the provision of fast, safe, efficient, and convenient transportation at the lowest cost consistent therewith.”

E

 

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): Report developed as part of the National Environmental Policy Act requirements, which details any adverse economic, social, and environmental effects of a proposed transportation project for which Federal funding is being sought. Adverse effects could include air, water, or noise pollution; destruction or disruption of natural resources; adverse employment effects; injurious displacement of people or businesses; or disruption of desirable community or regional growth.

 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The federal regulatory agency responsible for administering and enforcing federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and others.

 

F

 

Federal Highway Association (FHWA): A branch of the US Department of Transportation that administers the federal-aid Highway Program, providing financial assistance to states to construct and improve highways, urban and rural roads, and bridges. The FHWA also administers the Federal Lands Highway Program, including survey, design, and construction of forest highway system roads, parkways and park roads, Indian reservation roads, defense access roads, and other Federal lands roads. The Federal agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for administering the Federal-Aid Highway Program. Became a component of the Department of Transportation in 1967 pursuant to the Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. app. 1651 note). It administers the highway transportation programs of the Department of Transportation under pertinent legislation

 

Federal Transit Administration (FTA): A branch of the US Department of Transportation that is the principal source of federal financial assistance to America’s communities for planning, development, and improvement of public or mass transportation systems. FTA provides leadership, technical assistance, and financial resources for safe, technologically advanced public transportation to enhance mobility and accessibility, to improve the Nation’s communities and natural environment, and to strengthen the national economy. (Formerly the Urban Mass Transportation Administration) operates under the authority of the Federal Transit Act, as amended (49 U.S.C. app. 1601 et seq.). The Federal Transit Act was repealed on July 5, 1994, and the Federal transit laws were codified and re-enacted as chapter 53 of Title 49, United States Code. The Federal Transit Administration was established as a component of the Department of Transportation by section 3 of Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1968 (5 U.S.C. app.), effective July 1, 1968. The missions of the Administration are 1) to assist in the development of improved mass transportation facilities, equipment, techniques, and methods, with the cooperation of mass transportation companies both public and private. 2) to encourage the planning and establishment of areawide urban mass transportation systems needed for economical and desirable urban development, with the cooperation of mass transportation companies both public and private. and 3) to provide assistance to State and local governments and their instrumentalities in financing such systems, to be operated by public or private mass transportation companies as determined by local needs; and 4) to provide financial assistance to State and local governments to help implement national goals relating to mobility for elderly persons, persons with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged persons.

 

Fixed Route: Term applied to transit service that is regularly scheduled and operates over a set route; usually refers to bus service.

 

Functional Roadway Classifications: (as defined by FHWA)

Arterial: Provides the highest level of service at the greatest speed for the longest uninterrupted distance, with some degree of access control

Collector: Provides a less highly developed level of service at a lower speed for shorter distances by collection traffic from local roads and connecting them with arterials

Local: Consists of all roads not defined as arterials or collectors; primarily provides access to land with little or no through movement

 

G

 

Geographic Information System (GIS): 1) Computerized data management system designed to capture, store, retrieve, analyze, and display geographically referenced information. 2) A system of hardware, software, and data for collecting, storing, analyzing, and disseminating information about areas of the Earth. For Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) purposes, Geographical Information System (GIS) is defined as a highway network (spatial data which graphically represents the geometry of the highways, an electronic map) and its geographically referenced component attributes (HPMS section data, bridge data, and other data including socioeconomic data) that are integrated through GIS technology to perform analyses. From this, GIS can display attributes and analyze results electronically in map form.

H

 

Heavy Rail (Transit): An electric railway with the capacity to transport a heavy volume of passenger traffic and characterized by exclusive rights-of-way, multicar trains, high speed, rapid acceleration, sophisticated signaling, and high-platform loading. Also known as: Subway, Elevated (railway), or Metropolitan railway (metro).

 

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV): Vehicles carrying two or more people. The number that constitutes an HOV for the purposes of HOV highway lanes may be designated differently by different transportation agencies.

 

High Occupancy Vehicle Lane: Exclusive road or traffic lane limited to buses, vanpools, carpools, and emergency vehicles.

 

Highway Trust Fund (HTF): An account established by law to hold Federal highway user taxes that are dedicated for highway and transit related purposes. The HTF has two accounts: the Highway Account, and the Mass Transit Account.

I

 

Infrastructure: 1) In transit systems, all the fixed components of the transit system, such as rights-of-way, tracks, signal equipment, stations, park-and-ride lots, but stops, maintenance facilities. 2) In transportation planning, all the relevant elements of the environment in which a transportation system operates. 3) A term connoting the physical underpinnings of society at large, including, but not limited to, roads, bridges, transit, waste systems, public housing, sidewalks, utility installations, parks, public buildings, and communications networks.

 

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS): The application of advanced technologies to improve the efficiency and safety of transportation systems.

 

Intermodal: The ability to connect, and the connections between, modes of transportation.

 

Interstate Maintenance (IM): program provides funding for resurfacing, restoring, rehabilitating and reconstructing most routes on the Interstate System.

L

 

Land Use: Refers to the manner in which portions of land or the structures on them are used, i.e. commercial, residential, retail, industrial, etc.

 

Land Use Plan: A plan which establishes strategies for the use of land to meet identified community needs.

 

Level of Service (LOS): (As defined by FHWA) 1) A qualitative assessment of a road’s operating conditions. For local government comprehensive planning purposes, level of service means an indicator of the extent or degree of service provided by, or proposed to be provided by, a facility based on and related to the operational characteristics of the facility. Level of service indicates the capacity per unit of demand for each public facility. 2) This term refers to a standard measurement used by transportation officials which reflects the relative ease of traffic flow on a scale of A to F, with free-flow being rated LOS-A and congested conditions rated as LOS-F.

 

Limited Maintenance Plan (Air Quality): A maintenance plan that EPA has determined meets EPA’s limited maintenance plan policy criteria for a given NAAQS and pollutant. To qualify for a limited maintenance plan, for example, an area must have a design value that is significantly below a given NAAQS, and it must be reasonable to expect that a NAAQS violation will not result from any level of future motor vehicle emissions growth.

 

Light Rail: A streetcar-type vehicle operated on city streets, semi-exclusive rights-of-way, or exclusive rights-of-way. Service may be provided by step-entry vehicles or by level boarding.

 

Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP): (As defined by FHWA) A document resulting from regional or statewide collaboration and consensus on a region or state’s transportation system, and serving as the defining vision for the region’s or state’s transportation systems and services. In metropolitan areas, the plan indicates all of the transportation improvements scheduled for funding over the next 20 years.

M

 

Maintenance Area (Air Quality): Maintenance area is any geographic region of the United States previously designated nonattainment pursuant to the CAA Amendments of 1990 and subsequently redesignated to attainment subject to the requirement to develop a maintenance plan under section 175A of the CAA, as amended.

 

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): A document providing a general description of the responsibilities that are to be assumed by two or more parties in their pursuit of some goal(s).

 

Metropolitan Planning Area: The geographic area in which the metropolitan transportation planning process required by 23 U.S.C. 134 and section 8 of the Federal Transit Act (49 U.S.C. app. 1607) must be carried out.

 

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO): 1) Regional policy body, required in urbanized areas with populations over 50,000, and designated by local officials and the governor of the state. Responsible in cooperation with the state and other transportation providers for carrying out the metropolitan transportation planning requirements of federal highway and transit legislation. 2) Formed in cooperation with the state, develops transportation plans and programs for the metropolitan area. For each urbanized area, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) must be designated by agreement between the Governor and local units of government representing 75% of the affected population (in the metropolitan area), including the central cities or cities as defined by the Bureau of the Census, or in accordance with procedures established by applicable State or local law (23 U.S.C. 134(b)(1)/Federal Transit Act of 1991 Sec. 8(b)(1)). (FHWA2)

 

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. A Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is 1) A county or a group of contiguous counties that contain at least one city of 50,000 inhabitants or more, or 2) An urbanized area of at least 50,000 inhabitants and a total MSA population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New England). The contiguous counties are included in an MSA if, according to certain criteria, they are essentially metropolitan in character and are socially and economically integrated with the central city. In New England, MSAs consist of towns and cities rather than counties.

 

Mode: A specific form of transportation, such as automobile, subway, bus, rail, or air.

 

Multimodal Transportation: Often used as a synonym for intermodalism. Congress and others frequently use the term intermodalism in its broadest interpretation as a synonym for multimodal transportation. Most precisely, multimodal transportation covers all modes without necessarily including a holistic or integrated approach.

 

N

 

National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS): Federal standards that set allowable concentrations and exposure limits for various pollutants. The EPA developed the standards in response to a requirement of the CAA. Air quality standards have been established for the following six criteria pollutants: ozone (or smog), carbon monoxide, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, lead, and sulfur dioxide.

 

National Highway System (NHS): This system of highways designated and approved in accordance with the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 103b)

 

Nonattainment Area (NAA) (Air Quality): Any geographic area that has not met the requirements for clean air as set out in the Clean Air Act of 1990.

 

Noncompliance: Failure to comply with a standard or regulation issued under 46 U.S.C. Chapter 43, or with a section of the statutes.

O

 

Occupancy: The number of persons, including driver and passenger(s) in a vehicle. Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) occupancy rates are generally calculated as person miles divided by vehicle miles.

P

 

Paratransit: 1) Comparable transportation service required by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route transportation systems. 2) A variety of smaller, often flexibly scheduled-and-routed transportation services using low-capacity vehicles, such as vans, to operate within normal urban transit corridors or rural areas. These services usually serve the needs of persons that standard mass-transit services would serve with difficulty, or not at all. Often, the patrons include the elderly and persons with disabilities.

 

Performance Measures: Indicators of how well the transportation system is performing with regard to such things as average speed, reliability of travel, and accident rates. Used as feedback in the decision-making process.

 

Planning Funds (PL): Primary source of funding for metropolitan planning designated by the FHWA.

 

Public Entity: 1) Any state or local government; 2) Any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of one or more state or local governments; and 3) The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and any commuter authority.

 

Public Participation: The active and meaningful involvement of the public in the development of transportation plans and programs.

 

Public Transit: Passenger transportation services, usually local in scope, that is available to any person who pays a prescribed fare. It operates on established schedules along designated routes or lines with specific stops and is designed to move relatively large numbers of people at one time.

 

Public Transit Agency: A public entity responsible for administering and managing transit activities and services. Public transit agencies can directly operate transit service or contract out for all or part of the total transit service provided.

 

Public Transit System: An organization that provides transportation services owned, operated, or subsidized by any municipality, county, regional authority, state, or other governmental agency, including those operated or managed by a private management firm under contract to the government agency owner.

 

Public Transportation: Transportation by bus, rail, or other conveyance, either publicly or privately owned, which provides to the public general or special service on a regular and continuing basis. Also known as “mass transportation”, “mass transit” and “transit.”

R

 

Rapid Rail Transit: Transit service using railcars driven by electricity usually drawn from a third rail, configured for passenger traffic, and usually operated on exclusive rights-of-way. It generally uses longer trains and has longer station spacing than light rail.

 

Regional Planning Organization (RPOs): An organization that performs planning for multi-jurisdictional areas. MPOs, regional councils, economic development associations, rural transportation associations are examples of RPOs.

 

Reliability (Transit): Refers to the degree of certainty and predictability in travel times on the transportation system. Reliable transportation systems offer some assurance of attaining a given desti­nation within a reasonable range of an expected time. An unreliable transportation system is subject to unexpected delays, increasing costs for system users

 

Right-of-Way (ROW): The land (usually a strip) acquired for or devoted to highway transportation purposes.

 

Road Class: The category of roads based on design, weatherability, their governmental designation, and the Department of Transportation functional classification system.

 

Rural Areas: these areas encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urbanized area

S

 

Smart Growth: A set of policies and programs design to protect, preserve, and economically develop established communities and valuable natural and cultural resources.

 

Sprawl: Urban form that connotatively depicts the movement of people from the central city to the suburbs. Concerns associated with sprawl include loss of farmland and open space due to low-density land development, increased public service costs, and environmental degradation as well as other concerns associated with transportation.

 

Stakeholder: Person or goup affected by a transportation plan, program or project. Person or group believing that are affected by a transportation plan, program or project. Residents of affected geographical areas.

 

State Infrastructure Bank (SIB): A revolving fund mechanism for financing a wide variety of highway and transit projects through loans and credit enhancement. SIBs are designed to complement traditional Federal-aid highway and transit grants by providing States increased flexibility for financing infrastructure investments.

 

State Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP): A staged, multi-year, statewide, intermodal program of transportation projects, consistent with the statewide transportation plan and planning processes as well as metropolitan plans, TIPs, and processes.

 

Streetcars: Relatively lightweight passenger railcars operating singly or in short trains, or on fixed rails in rights-of-way that are not always separated from other traffic. Streetcars do not necessarily have the right-of-way at grade crossings with other traffic.

 

Surface Transportation Program (STP): Federal-aid highway funding program that funds a broad range of surface transportation capital needs, including many roads, transit, sea and airport access, vanpool, bike, and pedestrian facilities.

 

T

 

Title VI: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Prohibits discrimination in any program receiving federal assistance.

 

Transportation Conformity (Air Quality): Process to assess the compliance of any transportation plan, program, or project with air quality implementation plans. The conformity process is defined by the Clean Air Act.

 

Transportation Control Measures (TCMs): Transportation strategies that affect traffic patterns or reduce vehicle use to reduce air pollutant emissions. These may include HOV lanes, provision of bicycle facilities, ridesharing, telecommuting, etc. Such actions may be included in a SIP if needed to demonstrate attainment of the NAAQS.

 

Transportation Demand Management (TDM): Programs designed to reduce demand for transportation through various means, such as the use of transit and of alternative work hours.

 

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP): A document prepared by a metropolitan planning organization that lists projects to be funded with FHWA/FTA funds for the next one- to three-year period.

 

Transportation Management Area (TMAs): 1) All urbanized areas over 200,000 in population, and any other area that requests such designation. 2) An urbanized area with a population over 200,000 (as determined by the latest decennial census) or other area when TMA designation is requested by the Governor and the MPO (or affect local officials), and officially designated by the Administrators of the FHWA and the FTA. The TMA designation applies to the entire metropolitan planning area(s).

 

Trolley Bus: Rubber-tired electric transit vehicle, manually steered and propelled by a motor drawing current, normally through overhead wires, from a central power source.

U

 

Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP): The management plan for the (metropolitan) planning program. Its purpose is to coordinate the planning activities of all participants in the planning process.

 

Unlinked Passenger Trips (Transit): The number of passengers boarding public transportation vehicles. A passenger is counted each time he/she boards a vehicle even if the boarding is part of the same journey from origin to destination.

 

Urbanized Area: (As defined by the US Census Bureau) these areas represent densely developed territory, and encompass residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses. The Census Bureau delineates urban areas after each decennial census by applying specified criteria to decennial census and other data. The Census Bureau identifies two types of urban areas: Urbanized Areas (UAs) of 50,000 or more people and Urban Clusters (UCs) of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people.

V

 

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT): The number of miles traveled nationally by vehicles for a period of 1 year. VMT is either calculated using 2 odometer readings or, for vehicles with less than 2 odometer readings, imputed using a regression estimate

Z

 

Zone: The smallest geographically designated area for analysis of transportation activity. A zone can be from one to ten square miles in area. Average zone size depends on the total size of study area.