A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Accident
An incident involving a moving vehicle.

Air Quality Conformity
The link between air quality planning and transportation planning.

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

Arterial Highway
A class of roads serving major traffic movements (high-speed, high volume) for travel between major points.

Automobile
A privately owned and/or operated licensed motorized vehicle.

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.

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B

Bicycle
A vehicle having two tandem wheels, propelled solely by human power, upon which any person or persons may ride.

Bikeway

  1. Any road, path, or way which in some manner is specifically designated as being open to bicycle travel, regardless of whether such facilities are designated for the exclusive use of bicycles or are to be shared with other transportation modes.
  2. A facility designed to accommodate bicycle travel for recreational or commuting purposes. Bikeways are not necessarily separated facilities; they may be designed and operated to be shared with other travel modes.

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C

3-C Process
Continuing, comprehensive and cooperative transportation planning process.

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

Collaboration
Any cooperative effort between and among governmental entities (as well as with private partners) through which the partners work together to achieve common goals. Such collaboration can range from very informal, ad hoc activities to more planned, organized and formalized ways of working together. The collaborative parties work toward mutual advantage and common goals. They share a sense of public purpose, leverage resources to yield improved outcomes, and bridge traditional geographic, institutional, and functional boundaries.

Commute
Regular travel between home and a fixed location (e.g., work, school).

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

Commuter Lane
Another name for "High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane."

Conformity
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 by 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.

Crash (Highway)
An event that produces injury and/or property damage, involves a motor vehicle in transport, and occurs on a trafficway or while the vehicle is still in motion after running off the trafficway.

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D

Department of Transportation (DOT)
Establishes the nation's overall transportation policy.

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E

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.

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F

Fatality
For purposes of statistical reporting on transportation safety, a fatality is considered a death due to injuries in a transportation crash, accident, or incident that occurs within 30 days of that occurrence.

Federal Highway Administration (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.

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.

Fiscal Year (FY)
The yearly accounting period beginning October 1 and ending September 30 of the subsequent calendar year.

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

Future Needs
Represents the gap between the vision and the current or projected performance of the system.

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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.

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H

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)
Vehicles carrying two or more people.

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

Highway
Is any road, street, parkway, or freeway/expressway that includes rights-of-way, bridges, railroad-highway crossings, tunnels, drainage structures, signs, guardrail, and protective structures in connection with highways.

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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 System (ITS)
Electronics, communications, and information processing that are integrated to improve the efficiency or safety of surface transportation.

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

Intersection

  1. A point defined by any combination of courses, radials, or bearings of two or more navigational aids.
  2. Used to describe the point where two runways, a runway and a taxiway, or two taxiways cross or meet.

Interstate
Limited access divided facility of at least four lanes designated by the Federal Highway Administration as part of the Interstate System.

Interstate Highway
Limited access, divided highway of at least four lanes designated by the Federal Highway Administration as part of the Interstate System.

ITS Architecture
Defines a technological framework within which interrelated systems can be built that work together to deliver transportation services.

ITS Operational Concept
An operational concept identifies the roles and responsibilities of participating agencies and stakeholders in the development of the ITS architecture.

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L

Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)
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. It is fiscally constrained, i.e., a given program or project can reasonably expect to receive funding within the time allotted for its implementation.

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)

  1. A quantitative 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.

Local Street
A street intended solely for access to adjacent properties.

Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)
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.

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M

Maintenance
In general, the preservation (scheduled and corrective) of a highway or transit line. It includes the preservation of the surface, shoulders, roadsides, and structures, including right-of-way (ROW) maintenance; and such traffic-control devices as are necessary for safe, secure, and efficient use of a highway/transit line.

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)).

Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP)
The official intermodal transportation plan that is developed and adopted through the metropolitan transportation planning process for the metropolitan planning area, in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 134, 23 USC 135 and 49 U.S.C. 5303.

Mile
A statute mile (5,280 feet). All mileage computations are based on statute miles.

Minor Arterials (Highway)
Roads linking cities and larger towns in rural areas. In urban areas, roads that link but do not penetrate neighborhoods within a community.

Mobility
The ability to move or be moved from place to place.

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

Motorized Vehicle
Includes all vehicles that are licensed for highway driving. Specifically excluded are snow mobiles and minibikes.

Multimodal
The availability of transportation options using different modes within a system or corridor.

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.

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N

National ITS Architecture (also "national architecture")
A common framework for ITS interoperability. The National ITS Architecture comprises the logical architecture and physical architecture which satisfy a defined set of user services. The National ITS Architecture is maintained by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and is available on the DOT web site at http://www.its.dot.gov/arch/.

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)
Established a national environmental policy requiring that any project using federal funding or requiring federal approval, including transportation projects, examine the effects of proposed and alternative choices on the environment before a federal decision is made.

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

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
The Administration was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 (23 U.S.C. 401 note). The Administration was established to carry out a congressional mandate to reduce the mounting number of deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes on the Nation's highways and to provide motor vehicle damage susceptibility and ease of repair information, motor vehicle inspection demonstrations and protection of purchasers of motor vehicles having altered odometers, and to provide average standards for greater vehicle mileage per gallon of fuel for vehicles under 10,000 pounds (gross vehicle weight).

National ITS Architecture
A systems framework to guide the planning and deployment of ITS infrastructure. The national ITS architecture is a blueprint for the coordinated development of ITS technologies in the U.S. It is unlikely that any single metropolitan area or state would plan to implement the entire national ITS architecture.

National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP)
Designates roads that have outstanding scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological qualities as All-American Roads or National Scenic Byways, and provides grants for scenic byway projects.

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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.

Occupant
Any person who is in or upon a motor vehicle in transport.

Operational Improvement
A capital improvement for installation or implementation of a transportation system management and operations program. This includes traffic and transportation security surveillance and control equipment; a computerized signal system; a motorist information system; an integrated traffic control system; an incident management program; equipment and programs for transportation response to man-made and natural disasters; or a transportation demand management facility, strategy, or program; and such other capital improvements to a public road as the Secretary may designate by regulation. The term does not include a resurfacing, restorative, or rehabilitative improvement; construction of an additional lane, interchange, or grade separation; or construction of a new facility on a new location.

Operating Costs for Traffic Monitoring, Management, and Control
The costs associated with transportation systems management and operations and the continuous operation of traffic control. These costs include labor costs; administrative costs; costs of utilities and rent; costs incurred by transportation agencies for technology to monitor critical transportation infrastructure for security purposes; and other costs associated with transportation systems management and operations and the continuous operation of traffic control.

Operations
The provision of integrated systems and services that make the best use of existing transportation systems in order to preserve and improve customer-related performance. This is done in anticipation of, or in response to, both recurring and non-recurring conditions. Operations includes a range of activities in both urban and rural environments, including: routine traffic and transit operations, public safety responses, incident management, snow and ice management, network/facility management, planned construction disruptions, and traveler/shipper information.

Operations and Maintenance (O&M)
The range of activities and services provided by the transportation system and the upkeep and preservation of the existing system. Specifically, operations includes the range of activities/services provided by transportation system. Maintenance relates to the upkeep and preservation of the existing system.

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P

Parking Area
An area set aside for the parking of motor vehicles.

Performance Measurement
The process that supports the decision making process by generating indicators of how well the transportation system is achieving the desired or expected outcomes.

Performance Measures
Indicators of transportation system outcomes with regard to such things as average speed, reliability of travel, and accident rates.

Planning Factors
A set of broad objectives defined in Federal legislation to be considered in both the metropolitan and statewide planning process. Title 23 of the United States Code, section 134(f) (revised in SAFETEA-LU section 6001(h)) describes Federal Planning Factors issued by Congress to emphasize planning factors from a national perspective. Under Map-21 these planning factors remain unchanged. The eight planning factors (for both metropolitan and statewide planning) are as follows:

Planning for Operations
A set of activities that takes place within the context of an agency, jurisdiction, and/or regional entity with the intent of establishing and carrying out plans, policies, and procedures that enable and improve the management and operation of transportation systems.

Public Road
Any road under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public authority (federal, state, county, town or township, local government, or instrumentality thereof) and open to public travel.

Project
An undertaking to construct a particular portion of a highway; or if the context so implies, a particular portion of a highway so constructed; and any other undertaking eligible for federal assistance under USC Title 23 or Title 49.

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R

Region/Regional
Metropolitan or any other multi-jurisdictional area.

Region (as defined for ITS)
The geographical area that identifies the boundaries of the regional ITS architecture and is defined by and based on the needs of the participating agencies and other stakeholders.

Regional ITS Architecture
A regional framework for ensuring institutional agreement and technical integration for the implementation of ITS projects or groups of projects.

Regional Concept for Transportation Operations
A Regional Concept for Transportation Operations (RCTO) presents a regional objective for transportation operations and what is needed to achieve that objective within a reasonably short timeframe, possibly three to five years. It is a description of the desired state for transportation operations presented as an operations objective accompanied by a set of physical improvements that need to be implemented, relationships and procedures that must be established, and resource arrangements that are needed to accomplish the operations objective. Both the operations objective and what is needed to achieve it are accomplished through deliberate and sustained collaboration among stakeholders.

Regionally Significant Project
A transportation project (other than projects that may be grouped in the TIP and/or STIP or exempt projects as defined in EPA's transportation conformity regulation (40 CFR part 93)) that is on a facility which serves regional transportation needs and would normally be included in the modeling of the metropolitan area's transportation network. At a minimum, this includes all principal arterial highways and all fixed guideway transit facilities that offer a significant alternative to regional highway travel.

Regional transportation operations collaboration and coordination
The activity of those responsible for transportation operations working together in a sustained manner.

Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations (RTSM&O)
A multi-modal and cross-jurisdictional program of systems, services, and projects intended to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure. The term "transportation systems management and operations" means an integrated program to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of multimodal and inter-modal, cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of Federal-aid highways. The term includes regional operations collaboration and coordination activities between transportation and public safety agencies; and improvements to the transportation system such as traffic detection and surveillance, arterial management, freeway management, demand management, work zone management, emergency management, electronic toll collection, automated enforcement, traffic incident management, roadway weather management, traveler information services, commercial vehicle operations, traffic control, freight management, and coordination of highway, rail, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian operations.

Reliability
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 desti¬nation 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
The land (usually a strip) acquired for or devoted to highway transportation purposes.

Road
An open way for the passage of vehicles, persons, or animals on land.

Road Functional Classification
The process by which streets and highways are grouped into classes, or systems, according to the character of traffic service that they are intended to provide. There are three highway functional classifications: arterial, collector, and local roads. All streets and highways are grouped into one of these classes, depending on the character of the traffic.

Rural Highway
Any highway, road, or street that is not an urban highway.

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S

Safety Management System
A systematic process that has the goal of reducing the number and severity of transportation related accidents by ensuring that all opportunities to improve safety are identified, considered and implemented as appropriate.

State Implementation Plan (SIP)
Produced by the state environmental agency, not the MPO. A plan mandated by the CAA that contains procedures to monitor, control, maintain, and enforce compliance with the NAAQS. Must be taken into account in the transportation planning process.

State Transportation Agency
The State highway department, transportation department, or other State transportation agency to which Federal-aid highway funds are apportioned.

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

Statewide Transportation Plan
The official statewide intermodal transportation plan that is developed through the statewide transportation planning process.

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

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 (MPO) that lists projects to be funded with FHWA/FTA funds for the next one- to three-year period.

Transportation Infrastructure
A federal credit program under which the USDOT may provide three forms of credit assistance - secured (direct) loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit - for surface transportation projects of national or regional significance. The fundamental goal is to leverage federal funds by attracting substantial private and non-federal co-investment in critical improvements to the nation's surface transportation system.

Transportation Management Area (TMA)
All urbanized areas over 200,000 in population, and any other area that requests such designation.

Transportation Planning
A continuing, comprehensive and collaborative process to encourage and promote the development of a multimodal transportation system to ensure safe and efficient movement of people and goods while balancing environmental and community needs. Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes are governed by Federal law and applicable state and local laws.

Transportation Systems Management A coordinated and integrated decision-making approach to:

  1. construction
  2. preservation
  3. maintenance, and
  4. operations of transportation facilities with the intent of maximizing transportation system performance.

The goal of transportation systems management is safe, reliable, predictable and user-friendly transportation. The operations aspect of system management includes: scheduled/recurring activities (e.g., preventive maintenance, signal retiming, snow removal), planned disruptions (e.g., work zones), unscheduled/non-recurring disruptions (e.g., incidents, accidents, unanticipated repairs), special events (e.g., Olympics, sporting events, inaugurals), and real-time transportation system management (e.g., traveler information, ramp metering, lane controls).

Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O)
An integrated program to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability. The term includes improvements to the transportation system such as traffic detection and surveillance, arterial management, freeway management, demand management, work zone management, emergency management, electronic toll collection, automated enforcement, traffic incident management, roadway weather management, traveler information services, commercial vehicle operations, traffic control, freight management, and coordination of highway, rail, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian operations.

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U

Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)
The management plan for the (metropolitan) planning program with the purpose of coordinating the planning activities of all participants in the planning process.

Urban Highway
Any road or street within the boundaries of an urban area. An urban area is an area including and adjacent to a municipality or urban place with a population of 5,000 or more. The boundaries of urban areas are fixed by state highway departments, subject to the approval of the Federal Highway Administration, for purposes of the Federal-Aid Highway Program.

Urbanized Area
Area that contains a city of 50,000 or more population plus incorporated surrounding areas meeting size or density criteria as defined by the U.S. Census.

V

Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT)
The number of miles traveled nationally by vehicles for a period of 1 year.

Vision
The regionally-agreed statement of the overall aims of the regional transportation plan. In the context of regional transportation operations, a "vision" is the regionally-agreed statement of the overall aims of the regional transportation plan; describes the 'target' end-state. Typically, a regional transportation vision will drive its goals (policy statements – the ends toward which effort is directed), objectives (measurable results), and strategies (ways/means to achieve objectives).

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W

Work Zone
An area of highway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities. A work zone is typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement markings, and/or work vehicles. It extends from the first warning sign or rotating/strobe lights on a vehicle to the END ROAD WORK sign or the last temporary traffic control device.