AA – Alternative Analysis

An analysis of the engineering and financial feasibility of alternatives under consideration for a rail extension or other major transit construction project; required before federal monies can be allocated to a project.

AASHTO – American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

An interest group based in Washington, D.C., whose membership is fairly obvious from the name. Involved in research, advocacy and technical assistance.

ABAG – Association of Bay Area Governments

A voluntary association of counties and cities (otherwise known as a COG) that is the land-use planning agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Also provides demographic, financial, administrative, training and conference services to local governments and businesses. A member sits on MTC.


The extent to which facilities are barrier free and useable by persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.

ADA – Americans With Disabilities Act

Federal civil rights legislation for disabled persons passed in 1990; calls on public transit systems to make their services more fully accessible as well as to underwrite a parallel network of paratransit service.

Advanced Design Bus

See “Bus, Advanced Design”.

Aerial Tramway

An electric system of aerial cables with suspended unpowered passenger vehicles. The vehicles are propelled by separate cables attached to the vehicle suspension system and powered by engines or motors at a central location not on board the vehicle.

Alternative Fuels

Low-polluting fuels which are used to propel a vehicle instead of high-sulfur diesel or gasoline. Examples include methanol, ethanol, propane or compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, low-sulfur or “clean” diesel and electricity.

Amalgamated Transit Union

A major labor union representing workers in the transit industry; membership is limited to operators, mechanics and other non-supervisory employees of the transit industry.

<>AMBAG – Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments

the MPO for the Santa Cruz and Monterey-Salinas UZAs.

APTA – American Public Transit Association

The national, nonprofit trade association representing the public transit industry. APTA members include more than 400 public transit systems, as well as state and local departments of transportation and planning agencies, manufacturers and suppliers of transit equipment, consultants, contractors and universities.

Annual Element

Those transportation improvement projects, contained in an area’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), that are proposed for implementation in the current year. The annual element is submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) as part of the required planning process.


A federal budgetary term that refers to a statutorily prescribed division or assignment of funds. It is based on prescribed formulas in the law and consists of dividing authorized obligation authority for a specific program among transit systems.


A federal budgetary term that refers to an act of Congress that permits federal agencies to incur obligations and make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. An appropriation act is the most common means of providing budget authority, but in some cases the authorization legislation itself provides the budget authority.

APTS – advanced public transportation systems


ARB – Air Resources Board, aka CARB

The state agency responsible for adopting state air quality standards, establishing emission standards for new cars sold in the state, and overseeing activities of regional and local air pollution control agencies.


A method of settling disputes where labor and management present their case to an impartial third party, called an arbitrator, who has the responsibility of deciding the case.

Arterial Street

A major thoroughfare, used primarily for through traffic rather than for access to adjacent land, that is characterized by high vehicular capacity and continuity of movement.

Articulated Bus

See “Bus, Articulated”.

ATC – Automated Toll Collection, aka Electronic Toll Collection (IVHS term)

now even law-abiding commuters will be able to zoom past the toll takers. Sensors at toll booths will pick up billing information from devices installed in cars, allowing motorists to drive through without stopping; the amount of the toll is automatically deducted from a prepaid account or billed to the vehicle’s owner. An application of AVI technology.

ATIS – Advanced Traveler Information Systems (IVHS terms)

No more fumbling with the map, no more dreading unknown traffic hazards that lurk ahead of you — these innovations provide travelers with information to help in trip planning and changing course en route to bypass congestion, e.g., broadcast traffic reports, in-car computerized maps and highway CMSs. Also can include automated transit trip planning and automated rideshare matching.

ATMS – Advanced Traffic Management Systems (IVHS term)

A high-tech version of the old-fashion traffic cop, ATMS uses a variety of means to more efficiently manage traffic. It can include roadside sensors, ramp metering, HOV lanes and synchronized traffic signals that respond to traffic flows.


Basic, substantive legislation which establishes or continues the legal operation of a federal program or agency, either indefinitely or for a specific period of time, or which sanctions a particular type of obligation or expenditure within a program. An authorization may set appropriation limits. See “Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991″.

ARZ – Auto Restricted Zone

An area in which normal automobile traffic is prohibited or limited to certain times, and vehicular traffic is restricted to public transit, emergency vehicles, taxicabs and, in some cases, delivery of goods.

Automated Guideway

An electric railway operating without vehicle operators or other crew on board the vehicle.

AFC – Automatic Fare Collection System

A system of controls and equipment that automatically admits passengers on insertion of the correct fare in coins, tokens, tickets or farecards; it may include special equipment for transporting and counting revenues.

AVLS – Automatic Vehicle Location System

Technology that tracks the current location of fleet vehicles to assist in dispatching, maintaining schedules, answering specific customer inquiries, etc.

AVCS – Advanced Vehicle Control Systems (IVHS term)

New techniques to ease stresses and strains of driving are evolving, possibly leading to the day when you may be able to sit back and leave your car in charge. AVCS spans the gamut from ordinary cruise control to “smart cruise control” that helps maintain safe following distance to, researchers hope, “platooning” — the ability to electronically link and guide a dense pack of cars moving in formation at high speed.

AVI – Automated Vehicle Identification (IVHS term)

You won’t even be asked to flash your driver’s license when this system is in place. It combines an in-car device as well as a roadside receiver that will identify for vehicles for purposes of automated toll collection, stolen vehicle recovery, etc.

AVL – Automated Vehicle Location System (IVHS term)

This computerized system can tell you the answer: It employs satellites and other technologies to track vehicles in a fleet, assisting with dispatching and other applications. Currently used by truckers and courier services, it could be used in the future by transit systems to provide real-time schedule information for patrons, and will help the CHP monitor FSP tow trucks.

AVO – Average Vehicle Occupancy

The number of people traveling by private passenger vehicles divided by the number of vehicles used. The AVO during commute hours for the Bay Area in 1990 was 1.097.

AVR – Average Vehicle Rideship

The ratio of all people traveling by any mode, including cars, buses, trains and bicycles (or telecommuting), in a given area during a given time period to the number of cars on the road. A key measure of the efficiency and effectiveness of a transportation network – the higher the AVR, the better you’re doing in terms of energy consumption and air pollution.


BAAQMD – Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Aka the Air District, since the acronym seems to take longer to say than the full name. Polices industry to keep air pollution in check and implements certain TCMs. The Air District prepares the CAP with input from ABAG and MTC.

BAAQMD – Bay Area Air Quality Management District

(Also known as the Air District, since the acronym seems to take longer to say than the full name.) Regulates industry and employers to keep air pollution in check and sponsors programs to clean the air. The Air District works with MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments on issues that affect transportation, land use and air quality.

Bargaining Agent

A labor union designated by an appropriate government agency or recognized by the employer as the exclusive representative of all employees in the bargaining unit for purposes of collective bargaining.

Base Period

The period between the morning and evening peak periods when transit service is generally scheduled on a constant interval. Also known as “off-peak period”.

Base Fare

The price charged to one adult for one transit ride; excludes transfer charges, zone charges, express service charges, peak period surcharges and reduced fares.

BATDP – Bay Area Telecommuting Demonstration Project

(Pronounced “bat dip.”) An experiment in reducing VMT by setting up telecommuting centers that could serve as alternative work sites for commuters using the Interstate 680/Interstate 580 Corridor.Cosponsored by MTC, Pacific Bell, the 680/580 Corridor Transportation Association, Caltrans and federal funding agencies. Part of JUMP Start.

BCDC – Bay Conservation and Development Commission

A state established agency with jurisdiction over filling and dredging of San Francisco Bay and limited jurisdiction over development within 100 feet of the Bay’ a representative sites on MTC.

Binding Arbitration

Arbitration with a final and binding award, which is often enforceable in the courts.

Blueprint Legislation

A statewide funding package developed by the California Legislature in 1989 and approved by voters in 1990. The legislation, also known as Proposition 111, raised state gas and diesel taxes by 9 cents per gallon to pay for numerous transportation projects, and added requirements for countrylevel Congestion Management Programs. The Blueprint Legislation also included three $1 billion bond measures for rail projects. Only one of the three rail bond measures won voter approval (Proposition 108, in 1990).

BTV – Bus Ticket Validator

Being tested in the TransLink demonstration project, it is a machine for use on buses that can read a BART-style, stored-value ticket.

Budget Authority

A federal budgetary term that refers to legal authority given by Congress to federal agencies to make funds available for obligation or expenditure.

Budget Resoulution

A federal budgetary term that refers to a concurrent resolution passed by both Houses of Congress, but not requiring the signature of the President, setting forth the congressional budget for each of five fiscal years. The budget resolution sets forth various budget total and functional allocations, and may include reconciliation instructions to designated House or Senate committees.

Bus (Motorbus)

A rubber-tired, self-propelled, manually-steered vehicle with fuel supply carried on board the vehicle. Types include advanced design, articulated, charter, circulator, double deck, express, feeder, intercity, medium-size, new look, sightseeing, small, standard-size, subscription, suburban, transit and van.

Bus, Advanced Design

A bus introduced in 1977 that incorporates new styling and design features compared to previous buses.

Bus, Articulated

A bus usually 55 feet or more in length with two connected passenger compartments that bend at the connecting point when the bus turns a corner.

Bus, Charter

A bus transporting a group of persons who, pursuant to a common purpose, and under a single contract at a fixed price, have acquired the exclusive use of a bus to travel together under an itinerary.

Bus, Circulator

A bus serving an area confined to a specific locale, such as a downtown area or suburban neighborhood with connections to major traffic corridors.

Bus, Double Deck

A bus with two separate passenger compartments, one above the other.

Bus, Express

A bus that operates a portion of the route without stops or with a limited number of stops.

Bus, Feeder

A bus service that picks up and delivers passengers to a rail rapid transit station or express bus stop or terminal.

Bus, Intercity

A bus with front doors only, high-backed seats, separate luggage compartments, and usually with restroom facilities for use in high-speed long-distance service.

Bus, Medium-Size

A bus from 29 to 34 feet in length.

Bus, New Look

A bus with the predominant styling and mechanical equipment common to buses manufactured between 1959 and 1978.

Bus, Sightseeing

A bus adapted for sightseeing use, usually with expanded window areas.

Bus, Small

A bus 28 feet or less in length.

Bus, Standard-Size

A bus from 35 to 41 feet in length.

Bus, Subscription

A commuter bus express service operated for a guaranteed number of patrons from a given area on a prepaid, reserved-seat basis.

Bus, Suburban

A bus with front doors only, normally with high-backed seats, and without luggage compartments or restroom facilities for use in longer-distance service with relatively few stops.

Bus, Transit

A bus with front and center doors, normally with a rear-mounted engine, low-back seating, and without luggage compartments or restroom facilities for use in frequent-stop service.

Bus, Trolley

An electric, rubber-tired transit vehicle, manually steered, propelled by a motor drawing current through overhead wires from a central power source not on board the vehicle. Also known as “trolley coach” or “trackless trolley”.

(Bus), Van

A 20-foot long or shorter vehicle, usually with an automotive-type engine and limited seating normally entered directly through side or rear doors rather than from a central aisle, used for demand response, vanpool, and lightly patronized motorbus service.

Bus Discretionary Capital

Federal funding granted under Section 3 of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act). These discretionary funds are used for bus-related construction projects or to replace, rehabilitate or purchase buses.

Bus Lane

A street or highway lane intended primarily for buses, either all day or during specified periods, but sometimes also used by carpools meeting requirements set out in traffic laws.

Bus Shelter

A building or other structure constructed near a bus stop, to provide seating and protection from the weather for the convenience of waiting passengers.

Bus Stop

A place where passengers can board or alight from the bus, usually identified by a sign.


Exclusive freeway lane for buses and carpools.


CAA – Clean Air Act, aka FCAA

Federal legislation that sets national air quality standards; requires each state with areas that have not met federal air quality standards to prepare a SIP. The sweeping 1990 amendments to the CAA, sometimes refereed to as CAAA, established new air quality requirements for the development of metropolitan transportation plans and programs.

CAAA – Clean Air Act Ammendments of 1990

The comprehensive federal legislation which establishes criteria for attaining and maintaining the federal standards for allowable concentrations and exposure limits for various air pollutants; the act also provides emission standards for specific vehicles and fuels.

Cable Car

An electric railway operating in mixed street traffic with unpowered, individually-controlled transit vehicles propelled by moving cables located below the street surface and powered by engines or motors at a central location not on board the vehicle.


The state agency that operates California’s highway and intercity rail systems.

CAP – (Bay Area) Clean Air Plan

A regional plan adopted by the BAAQMD in response to the CCAA to meet state standards for ozone and carbon monoxide pollution (which in the case of the ozone standard is more stringent than the federal standard). Includes TCMs to reduce vehicle emissions as well as controls on stationary sources of pollution like factories.

Capital Assistance

Financial assistance for transit capital expenses (not operating costs); such aid may originate with federal, local or state governments.

Capital Costs

Costs of long-term assets of a public transit system such as property, buildings, vehicles, etc.

Capital revenues

Monies dedicated for new projects to cover one-time costs, such as construction of roads, transit lines and facilities or purchase of buses and rail cars.

CARB – California Air Resources Board

See ARB.


An arrangement where two or more people share the use and cost of privately owned automobiles in traveling to and from pre-arranged destinations together.


An overhead contact wire system which supplies power from a central power source to an electric vehicle (such as a trolley bus; see “Bus, Trolley”.

CBD – Central Business District

The downtown retail trade and commercial area of a city or an area of very high land valuation, traffic flow, and concentration of retail business offices, theaters, hotels and services.

CCAA – California Clean Air Act of 1988

Why we do a CAP.

CDV – credit/debit vendor

Machines that will accept credit cards or automated teller machine (ATM) cards in payment for TransLink universal tickets and other high-value transit tickets.

CEQA – California Environmental Quality Act of 1970

See EIR.

Charter Bus

See “Bus, Charter”.

CHP – California Highway Patrol

CHP – California Highway Patrol

State law enforcement agency responsible for highway safety, among other things.

CIP – capital improvement program

Twenty-year investment program to enhance performance of the MTS that is part of the RTP.

Circulator Bus

See “Bus, Circulator”.

CMA – Congestion Management Agency

A countrywide organization responsible for preparing and implementing the county’s CMP. The CMA can be a new or existing public agency designated by a county’s cities and board of supervisors. CMAs came into existence as a result of state legislation and voters’ approval of Prop. 111 in 1990.

CMAQ – Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program

A pot of money contained in ISTEA for projects and activities that reduce congestion and improve air quality in regions not yet attaining federal air quality standards.

CMP – Congestion Management Program

What a CMA is responsible for. Required of every county in California with an urbanized area of at least 50,000 people. Updated biennially, a CMP sets performance standards for roadways and public transit, and shows how local jurisdictions will attempt to meet those standards through TDM strategies (including a TRO) and a seven-year capital improvement programs. A CMP is necessary in order to qualify for certain funds made available through the state gas tax increase authorized in 1990. CMPs must be consistent with the RTP.

CMP – Congestion Management Program

Required of every county in California with a population of 50,000 or more (including all Bay Area counties) in order to qualify for certain state and federal funds, CMPs are prepared by Congestion Management Agencies (see entry under “CMA,” above). CMPs, updated biennially, set performance standards for roads and public transit, and show how local jurisdictions will attempt to meet those standards.

CMS – (1) congestion management systems

CMS – Much like biblical scholars, transportation experts are poring through ISTEA, trying to read between the lines for clues to the intent behind this clause. Some argue that the CMS requirements are the very essence of ISTEA, for the first time providing a framework and a mechanism for a holistic approach to planning. The ISTEA regulations forthcoming from the feds should have the last word on this one. (2) changeable message sign – See TOS.

CNG – Compressed Natural Gas

A clean-burning alternative fuel for vehicles.

COG – Council of Governments

A voluntary organization of local governments that strives for comprehensive, regional planning. If you are in fog over the duties of your local COG, let it be known that a COG can also be an MPO, an RTPA or a CMA. Or any combination of the four.

COLA – Cost-of-Living Allowance

An increase or decrease in employees’ wages or salaries made on the basis of changes in agreed-upon economic indices, usually the Consumer Price Index.

Collective Bargaining

Negotiations between labor union representatives and employers to reach agreement on a contract describing such matters as wages, hours and working conditions.


See “Obligation”.


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

Commuter Rail

See “Rail, Commuter”.

Compulsory Arbitration

Arbitration that is required by law.


See “Mediation”.


The ongoing process that ensures the planning for highway and transit systems, as a whole and over the long term, is consistent with the state air quality plans for attaining and maintaining health-based air quality standards; conformity is determined by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), and is based on whether transportation plans and programs meet the provisions of a State Implementation Plan.


A process in which transportation plans and spending programs are reviewed to ensure that they are consistent with federal clean air requirements; transportation projects collectively must not worsen air quality.

Contract Authority

A federal budgetary term that refers to a form of budget authority permitting obligations to be incurred in advance of appropriations. Advance obligations, however, have been limited by the appropriations committees with obligation limitations.

Contraflow Lane

Reserved lane for buses on which the direction of bus traffic is opposite to the flow of traffic on the other lanes.


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.


Non-radial bus or rail service which does not enter the Central Business District (CBD).

CTC – California Transportation Commission

A state-level version of MTC that sets state spending priorities for highways and transit and allocates funding. Members are appointed by the governor.

CTP – California Transportation Plan

A requirement of ISTEA for the state to prepare as a long-range, policy-oriented plan for all transportation modes; scheduled for adoption in December of 1993.

CVO – Commercial Vehicle Operations



DBE – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

A business owned and operated by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans or Asian Indian Americans and any other minorities or individuals found to be disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration under Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act.


The movement of a transit vehicle without passengers aboard; often to and from a garage or to and from one route to another.

Dedicated Funding Source

A source of monies which by law is available for use only to support a specific purpose, and cannot be diverted to other uses.



Demand Responsive

Non-fixed-route service utilizing vans or buses with passengers boarding and alighting at pre-arranged times at any location within the system’s service area. Also called “Dial-a-Ride”.


See “Demand Responsive”.

Discretionary Spending

A federal budgetary terms that refers to any funds whose distribution in not automatic. Discretionary spending encompasses programs controlled by annual appropriations bills and is subject to the constraints imposed by the discretionary spending limits set in the balanced budget law.

DOT – Department of Transportation

At the federal level, a cabinet agency with responsibility for highways, mass transit, aviation and ports; headed by the secretary of transportation. The DOT includes the FHWA , the FTA and the FAA, among others. There are also state DOTs. (California’s is referred to as Caltrans).

Double Deck Bus

See “Bus, Double Deck”.


A period during which a vehicle is inoperative because of repairs or maintenance.

DPM – Downtown People Mover

A type of automated guideway transit vehicle operating on a loop or shuttle route within the Central Business District (CBD) of a city.

Dwell Time

The scheduled time a vehicle or train is allowed to discharge and take on passengers at a stop, including opening and closing doors.

Earmark A federal budgetary term that refers to the specific designation by Congress that part of a more general lump-sum appropriation be used for a particular project; the earmark can be designated as a minimum and/or maximum dollar amount.

EIR/EIS – Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement An analysis of the environmental impacts of proposed land development and transportation projects; it’s an EIR when conducted in response to CEQA , and an EIS when conducted for federally funded or approved projects per NEPA. A draft EIR or draft EIS (DEIR or DEIS — often they’re prepared simultaneously) is circulated to the public and agencies with approval authority for comment. Like a pollywog whose next stage in life is a frog, a DEIR or DEIS grows up to be a certified FEIR or FEIS that contains responses to public comments and ways to mitigate adverse impacts.

Elevated (Railway) See “Rail, Heavy”.

Equity, Federal Transit Funding A ratio of appropriated dollars between Sections 9 and 18 (formula funds) to Section 3 (discretionary funds).

ETC – Employee Transportation Coordinator Someone designated by a business or organization to assist its workers with forming carpools and vanpools, plotting their commute by public transit, and the like. Otherwise known as an SOV-buster, and definitely a career with growth potential the 1990s and beyond.

Ethanol An alternative fuel; a liquid alcohol fuel with vapor heavier than air; produced from agricultural products such as corn, grain and sugar cane.

Exclusive Right-of-Way A highway or other facility that can only be used by buses or other transit vehicles.

Executive Order 12372A presidential directive that furnishes guidance to federal agencies for cooperation with state and local governments in the evaluation, review and coordination of federal assistance programs and projects.

Express Bus See “Bus, Express”.


FAA – Federal Aviation Administration See DOT.

Fare Box Recovery Ratio Measure of the proportion of operating expenses covered by passenger fares; found by dividing fare box revenue by total operating expenses for each mode and/or systemwide.

Fare Box Revenue Value of cash, tickets, tokens and pass receipts given by passengers as payment for rides; excludes charter revenue.

Fare Elasticity The extent to which ridership responds to fare increases or decreases.

Fare Structure The system set up to determine how much is to be paid by various passengers using a transit vehicle at any given time.

FCAA – Federal Clean Air Act See CAA.

FCR – Flexible Congestion Relief A state-directed funding program that applies state and federal dollars to local and regional transportation projects that case traffic congestion, regardless of mode.

Feeder Bus See “Bus, Feeder”.

Ferryboat A boat providing fixed-route service across a body of water.

FETSIM – Fuel-Efficient Traffic Signal Management State provided financial fuel for local traffic signal coordination projects.

FHWA – Federal Highway Administration See DOT.

FIP – Federal Implementation Plan When you don’t do your Sip as required by the CAA, you get “FIPped,” which means the feds step in and do one for you.

Fixed Cost An indirect cost that remains relatively constant, irrespective of the level of operational activity.

Fixed Guidway Modernization See “Rail Modernization”.

Fixed Guidway System A system of vehicles that can operate only on its own guideway constructed for that purpose (e.g., rapid rail, light rail). Federal usage in funding legislation also includes exclusive right-of-way bus operations, trolley coaches and ferryboats as “fixed guideway” transit.

Fixed Route Service provided on a repetitive, fixed-schedule basis along a specific route with vehicles stopping to pick up and deliver passengers to specific locations; each fixed-route trip serves the same origins and destinations, unlike demand responsive and taxicabs.

Flexible funding Unlike funding that flows only to highways or only to transit by a rigid formula, this is money that can be invested on a range of transportation projects. Examples of flexible funding programs include the Surface Transportation Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement, and Flexible Congestion Relief.

Flexible Funds Those federal funds which can be used for highway, transit or other transportation projects, as decided by regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and state governments. Examples of such funds are the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) fund.

Formula Funds Funds distributed or apportioned to qualifying recipients on the basis of formulas described in law; e.g., funds in the Section 18 program for Small Urban and Rural Transit Assistance, which are distributed to each state based on the state’s percentage of national rural population. See also “Section 9″.

Fringe Parking An area for parking usually located outside the Central Business District (CBD) and most often used by suburban residents who work or shop downtown.

FSP – Freeway Service Patrol Faster than you can say “change my tire,” chances are this free, roving tow truck service will be by to get you moving. By the spring of 1993, FSP trucks will aid stranded motorists and help to clear incidents along 100 miles of the region’s most congested freeways. A JUMP Start project that is jointly sponsored by the MTC SAFE, Caltrans and the CHP.

FTA – Federal Transit Administration See DOT.

Fiscal Year The yearly accounting period for the federal government which begins October 1 and ends on the following September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends (e.g., FY 94 is from October 1, 1993 to September 30, 1994).


Grievance Arbitration The process of resolving a labor dispute involving the application or interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement, by asking an impartial third party to make a decision after both labor and management have presented their cases.


HAR – Highway Advisory Radio (IVHS term) “Chains required on Donner Summit.” Sound familiar? It may not be a top 20 hit, but such radio warnings broadcast via a special frequency are music to the ears of drivers who want to prepare for, avoid altogether, hazardous or difficult road conditions ahead. See TOS.

Headway Time interval between vehicles moving in the same direction on a particular route.

Heavy Rail See “Rail, Heavy”.

High Speed Rail See “Rail, High Speed”.

Highway Trust Fund The federal trust fund established by the Highway Revenue Act of 1956; this fund has two accounts — the Highway Account and the Mass Transit Account. Trust fund revenues are derived from federal highway-user taxes and fees such as motor fuel taxes; trust fund uses and expenditures are determined by law.

HOV – High-Occupancy-Vehicle Lane The technical term for a carpool lane, commuter lane or diamond lane, which is still a commuter’s best friend no matter what you call it.

HSOPP – Highway System Operations and Protection Plan This is a state-mandated group of projects to maintain the state highway system.

Headway See “Bus, Intercity”.


Interest Arbitration The process of arriving at the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement, by asking an impartial third party to make rulings after both labor and management have presented their cases.

Intermodal Those issues or activities which involve or affect more than one mode of transportation, including transportation connections, choices, cooperation and coordination of various modes. Also known as “multimodal”.

Intermodal The term “mode” is used to refer to and to distinguish from each other the various forms of transportation, such as automobile, transit, ship, bicycle and walking. Intermodal refers specifically to the connections between modes.

ISTEA – Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act This landmark $151 billion legislation signed into law in December 1991 proposes broad changes to the way transportation decisions are made. In the words of the STPP folks, it emphasizes diversity and balance of modes, as well as the preservation of existing systems over construction of new facilities, especially roads.

ISTEA – Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act Pronounced “Ice Tea,” this landmark $155 billion federal legislation signed into law in December 1991 calls for broad changes in the way transportation decisions are made. ISTEA emphasizes diversity and balance of modes, as well as the preservation of existing systems before construction of new facilities.

ITS – Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California The stated goal of this multicampus research unit is to “improve the way transportation is organized, managed and maintained.” Projects cover transportation policy, new technology (see PATH), safety, traffic management, infrastructure, and freight and logistics.

IVHS – Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems Also known as “smart cars,” “smart streets” and even “smart buses,” it promises to move the daily commute from the era of the Flinstones to the age of the Jetsons, from frustration-filled gridlock to computer guided navigation. The term refers to a wide range of advanced electronics and communications technology applied to roads and vehicles. Designed to improve safety and productivity, IVHS also can have a positive impact on air quality by cutting congestion. When the term is applied to transit, it is called APTS; in commercial trucking, it is referred to as CVO. The European especially seem to stretch the limits of the English language to come up with clever names for the nearly endless IVHS programs that have been spawned of late: DRIVE (Dedicated Road Infrastructure for Vehicle Safety in Europe) is a European Community-sponsored IVHS program that contains within it CIDER (Communication Infrastructure for DRIVE on European Roads), PAMELA (Pricing and Monitoring Electronically of Automobiles), PANDORA (Prototyping a Navigation Database of Road Network Attributes) and SOCRATES (System of Cellular Radio for Traffic Efficiency and Safety).


Jitney Privately-owned, small or medium-sized vehicle usually operated on a fixed route but not on a fixed schedule.

Joint Development Ventures undertaken by the public and private sectors for development of land around transit stations or stops.

JUMP – Joint Urban Mobility Program Designed to jolt the Bay Area into action, this package of innovative, short-term projects will smooth the flow of traffic, reduce automobile emissions and streamline the planning process in the region. Launched in 1992 by a consortium of some three dozen public agencies and spearheaded by MTC.


Kiss and Ride A place where commuters are driven and dropped off at a station to board a public transportation vehicle.


Layover Time Time built into a schedule between arrival at the end of a route and the departure for the return trip, used for the recovery of delays and preparation for the return trip.

Level Playing Field A balanced approach to federal funding proportions for highway projects and transit projects; may also refer to employee transportation benefits so that the monthly, tax-free value of a transit pass is equal to that of a parking space; generally, any situation in which transit and highways receive equal treatment in federal funding and other federal procedures.

Light RailSee “Rail, Light”.

LNG -Liquefied Natural Gas An alternative fuel; a natural gas cooled to below its boiling point of -260 degrees Fahrenheit so that it becomes a liquid; stored in a vacuum bottle-type container at very low temperatures and under moderate pressure. LNG vapor is lighter than air.

Load Factor The ratio of passengers actually carried versus the total passenger capacity of a vehicle.

LOS – Level of Service A report card that rates traffic flow from A (excellent) through F (flunks), and compares actual or projected traffic volume with the maximum capacity of the intersection or road in question.

LRT – Light-Rail Transit Fixed guideway transportation mode that typically operates on city streets and draws it electric power from overhead wires; include streetcars, trolley cars and tramways. Differs from heavy rail — which has a separated right of way, and includes commuter and intercity rail — in that it has lighter passenger capacity per hour and more closely spaced stops.

LRV – Light-Rail Vehicle LRV – Fancy name for streetcar.

LTC – Local Transportation Commission A body composed of members of boards of supervisors, mayors’ select committees of counties, transit districts and other transit operators for areas not within the jurisdiction of an “RTPA” such as “MTC”.


Maglev – Magnetic Levitation This technology permits trains to move at high speed above a guideway on a cushion of air generated by magnetic force.

Managers of Mobility Transit systems which expand their role to include services and approaches beyond traditional public transportation to include ridesharing, high occupancy vehicle programs, public education on transit’s benefits and integration of land use, air quality and transportation decisions; the phrase was developed as part of the industry’s Transit 2000 policy effort undertaken in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Mass Transit See “Public Transportation”.

Mass Transit Account The federal account, established by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, into which a designated portion of the federal Highway Trust Fund revenue from motor fuel taxes is placed (1.5 cents in 1994). This account is used for federal mass transportation assistance.

Mass Transportation See “Public Transportation”.

MBE – Minority Business Enterprise A business owned and operated by one or more individuals who are defined as minorities under U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. See also “disadvantaged business enterprise”.

MDBF – Mean Distance Between Failures The average distance in miles that a transit vehicle travels before failure of a vital component forces removal of that vehicle from service.

Mediation Efforts by an impartial third party to encourage agreement between a labor union and management by counseling each side and facilitating negotiations. Also known as “conciliation”.

Medium-Size Bus See “Bus, Medium-Size”.

Methanol An alternative fuel; a liquid alcohol fuel with vapor heavier than air; primarily produced from natural gas.

Metropolitan Railway See “Rail, Heavy”.

Modal Split A term which describes how many people use alternative forms of transportation. Frequently used to describe the percentage of people using private automobiles as opposed to the percentage using public transportation.

Model An analytical tool (often mathematical) used by transportation planners to assist in making forecasts of land use, economic activity, travel activity and their effects on the quality of resources such as land, air and water.

Monorail An electric railway in which a rail car or train of cars is suspended from or straddles a guideway formed by a single beam or rail. Most monorails are either heavy rail or automated guideway systems.

MPO – Metropolitan Planning Organization A federally required transportation planning body responsible for the RTP and the TIP in its region; the governor designates an MPO in every urbanized area with a population of over 50,000.

MTC – Metropolitan Transportation Commission The transportation planning and financing agency for the nine-county San-Francisco Bay Area.

MTS – metropolitan transportation system At the heart of ISTEA and by extension the RTP, this is an integrated, multimodal transportation system consisting system consisting of major highways, arterials and transit routes used to move people and goods around a region.

Multimodal Refers to the availability of multiple transportation options, especially within a system or corridor. A concept embraced in ISTEA, a multimodal approach to transportation planning focuses on the most efficient way of getting people or goods from place to place, be it by truck, train, bicycle, automobile, airplane, bus, boat, foot or even a computer modem.


NARC – National Association of Regional Councils The nationwide organization for MPOs, COGs and other such entities; based in Washington, D.C.

NEPA – National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 See EIS.

New Look Bus See “Bus, New Look”.

New Start Federal funding granted under Section 3(i) of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act). These discretionary funds are made available for construction of a new fixed guideway system or extension of any existing fixed guideway system, based on cost-effectiveness, alternatives analysis results and the degree of local financial commitment.

NHS – National Highway System An approximately 155,000-mile, still-to-be-designated network brewed in ISTEA to provide an interconnected system of principal routes to serve major travel destinations and population centers. Picks up where the Interstate Highway System left off.

NHS – National Highway System An approximately 155,000-mile network called for in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act to provide an interconnected system of principal routes to serve major travel destinations and population centers. The NHS is expected to be designated by Congress in 1995.

Nonattainment Area Any geographic region of the United States that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated as not attaining the federal air quality standards for one or more air pollutants, such as ozone and carbon monoxide.

NTS – National Transportation System An intermodal system consisting of all forms of transportation in a unified, interconnected manner to reduce energy consumption and air pollution while promoting economic development and supporting the Nation’s preeminent position in international commerce. The NTS includes the National Highway System (NHS), public transportation and access to ports and airports.

NTS – National Transportation System Called for in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, the NTS to date is a proposal by the U.S. Transportation Secretary to integrate all aspects and modes of the transportation system into a single national system. The National Highway System is expected to be a subset of the larger, multimodal NTS.


Obligation A federal budgetary term that refers to a binding agreement that will result in an outlay; an agreement by the federal government to pay for goods or services immediately or at some future time when the goods or services are delivered. Also known as a “commitment”.

Obligation Limitation A federal budgetary term that refers to a limit placed in appropriations bills on the amount of federal assistance that may be obligated during a specified time period. It does not affect the scheduled apportionment or allocation of funds; it just controls the rate at which these funds may be used.

Off-Peak Period Non-rush periods of the day when travel activity is generally lower and less transit service is scheduled. Also called “base period”.

Operating Assistance Financial assistance for transit operating expenses (not capital costs); such aid may originate with federal, local or state governments.

Operating Deficit The sum of all operating expenses minus operating revenues.

Operating Expense Monies paid in salaries, wages, materials, supplies and equipment in order to maintain equipment and buildings, operate vehicles, rent equipment and facilities and settle claims.

Operating Revenue Receipts derived from or for the operation of transit service, including fare box revenue, revenue from advertising, interest and charter bus service and operating assistance from governments.

Operating Revenue Monies used to fund general, day-to-day costs of running transportation systems. For transit, costs include fuel, salaries and replacement parts; for roads, operating costs involve maintaining pavement, filling potholes, paying workers’ salaries, and so forth.

Outlay Outlay A federal budgetary term that refers to a payment made to meet an obligation; the point at which an actual payment of money is made.


Paratransit Comparable transportation service required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use fixed-route transportation systems.

Park and Ride Lot Designated parking areas for automobile drivers who then board transit vehicles from these locations.

Particulate Trap A filter which removes a portion of the particulates (solids, soot, etc.) from a vehicle’s exhaust stream and generally includes a regenerative unit and associated control system to burn the collected solids.

Passenger Miles The total number of miles traveled by passengers on transit vehicles; determined by multiplying the number of unlinked passenger trips times the average length of their trips.

PATH – (California) Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways A leading research and development program for IVHS, sponsored by Caltrans and managed by ITS-Berkeley. Research is carried out by public and private academic institutions across the state.

PCC – paratransit coordinating council MTC-created body made up of representatives of social service and paratransit agencies as well as users to set priorities for annual paratransit operating subsidies and capital assistance allocated by MTC. There is one in each of the Bay Area’s nine counties.

Peak Period Morning and afternoon time periods when transit riding is heaviest.

Peak/Base Ratio The number of vehicles operated in passenger service during the peak period divided by the number operated during the base period.

PIP – Productivity Improvement Program Where MTC, per state mandate and in conjunction with transit operators, lays out projects and programs to streamline and integrate the region’s more than two dozen transit systems.

PMS – Pavement Management System Used in the Bay Area to refer to MTC’s computer-assisted program for diagnosing and curing potholes in a timely, cost-effective manner — and preventing them in the first place through judicious maintenance. In wide use among the region’s cities and counties.

POP – Program of Projects Adopted by MTC every fall, it shows projects and programs to benefit from federal transit funding flowing to the Bay Area by formula in the coming fiscal year from the FTA Section 9, FTA Section 3 Fixed Guideway, STP and CMAQ programs.

Program(1) verb, to assign funds to a project that has been approved by MTC, the state or other agency; (2) noun, a system of funding for implementing transportation projects or policies, such as through the State Transportation Improvement Program (see STIP).

Propane An alternative fuel; a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) which is stored under moderate pressure and with vapor heavier than air; produced as a by-product of natural gas and oil production.

PT – Passenger Transport The weekly newspaper of the transit industry that is published by the American Public Transit Association (APTA).

Obligation Limitation 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”.


Rail, Commuter Railroad local and regional passenger train operations between a central city, its suburbs and/or another central city. It may be either locomotive-hauled or self-propelled, and is characterized by multi-trip tickets, specific station-to-station fares, railroad employment practices and usually only one or two stations in the central business district. Also known as “suburban rail”.

Rail, Heavy An electric railway with the capacity for a “heavy volume” of traffic and characterized by exclusive rights-of-way, multi-car trains, high speed and rapid acceleration, sophisticated signaling and high platform loading. Also known as “rapid rail,” “subway,” “elevated (railway)” or “metropolitan railway (metro)”.

Rail, High Speed A rail transportation system with exclusive right-of-way which serves densely traveled corridors at speeds of 124 miles per hour (200 km/h) and greater.

Rail, Light An electric railway with a “light volume” traffic capacity compared to heavy rail. Light rail may use shared or exclusive rights-of-way, high or low platform loading and multi-car trains or single cars. Also known as “streetcar,” “trolley car” and “tramway”.

Rail Modernization Federal funding granted under Section 3(h) of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act). These discretionary funds are distributed by a formula and made available to transit systems for improvements on fixed guideway systems that have been in service for at least seven years. Also known as “fixed guideway modernization”.

Rapid Rail See “Rail, Heavy”.

Rapid Transit Rail or motorbus transit service operating completely separate from all modes of transportation on an exclusive right-of-way.

RAPOC The Research Associates Policy Oversight Committee

Recission A federal budgetary term that refers to the cancellation, in whole or part, of budget authority previously granted by Congress.

Reverse Commuting Movement in a direction opposite the main flow of traffic, such as from the central city to a suburb during the morning peak period.

Ridesharing A form of transportation, other than public transit, in which more than one person shares the use of the vehicle, such as a van or car, to make a trip. Also known as “carpooling” or “vanpooling”.

Ridership The number of rides taken by people using a public transportation system in a given time period.

Rolling Stock The vehicles used in a transit system, including buses and rail cars.

Route Miles The total number of miles included in a fixed route transit system network.

RTC – Regional Transit Connection A one-stop shopping center for the sale of transit tickets, passes and tokens at the Bay Area work sites. In this MTC/RTCC sponsored program, member companies receive tickets on consignment and administer their own ticket sales.

RTCC – Regional Transit Coordinating Council Composed of the general managers of the region’s largest transit operators, this committee coordinates routes, schedules, fares and transfers among operator; provides input to MTC on transit policy and funding; and conducts legislative advocacy. MTC’s executive director chairs the panel, while MTC staff provide day-to-day support. Formed in 1992 to assume the responsibilities of both the Regional Transit Operator Coordinating Council.

RTIP – Regional Transportation Improvement Program The first stop on the way to the STIP, it lists highway and transit and transit projects for which the region hopes to capture MTC FCR funds. Compiled by MTC every two years from priority lists submitted by local jurisdictions.

RTP – Regional Transportation Plan One of MTC’s weightiest documents, literally and figuratively, it is a multimodal blueprint to guide the region’s transportation development for a 20-year period. Updated every tow years, it is based on projections of growth and travel demand coupled with real-world financial assumptions. Required by state and federal law.

RTP – Regional Transportation Planning A blueprint to guide the region’s transportation development for a 20-year period. Updated every two years, it is based on projections of growth and travel demand coupled with financial projections. Required by state and federal law.

RTPA – Regional Transportation Planning Agency A state designated agency responsible for preparing the RTP and RTIP; administering TDA and other tasks. MTC is the Bay Area’s RTPA.

RTTIS – Regional Transit Telephone Information System A computerized transit-trip planning system that will allow Bay Area travelers to arrange multi-operator trips by making just one phone call. Part of JUMP Start and linked to the TravInfo project.


SCAG – Southern California Association of Governments a six-county planning and coordinating agency that deals with transportation, water quality, housing and land use. Also reviews and comments on applications for a variety of federal and state assistance programs.

SAFE – Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways Made up of the MTC commissioners and staffed by the MTC, this body administers by roadside call boxes and roving tow truck patrols (FSP) that help stranded motorists get SAFEly off the highways.

Section 9The section of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964), as amended, that authorizes grants to public transportation systems in urbanized areas (population greater than 50,000) for both capital and operating programs based on formulas set out in statute.

Section 13(c) The section of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964), as amended, related to labor protection that is designed to protect transit employees against a worsening of their position with respect to their employment as a result of grant assistance under the Act.

Section 15 The section of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964), as amended, that authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation to gather statistical information about the financing and operations of public transportation systems, based upon a uniform system of accounts and records.

Section 16 The section of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964), as amended, that declares the national policy to be that elderly persons and persons with disabilities have the same right as other persons to utilize mass transportation facilities and services, and that special efforts shall be made in the planning and design of mass transportation facilities and services so that effective utilization by elderly persons and persons with disabilities is assured.

Section 16(b) The subsection of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964), as amended, that authorizes grants to nonprofit corporations and associations for the specific purpose of assisting them in providing transportation services meeting the special needs of elderly persons and persons with disabilities for whom mass transportation services are unavailable, insufficient or inappropriate.

Section 18The section of the Federal Transit Act (formerly known as the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964), as amended, that authorizes grants to public transit systems outside urbanized areas, based on formulas set out in statute; the funds go initially to the Governor of each state.

Sequestration A federal budgetary term that refers to the permanent cancellation of budget authority.

Shuttle A public or private vehicle that travels back and forth over a particular route, especially a short route or one that provides connections between transportation systems, employment centers, etc.

Sightseeing Bus See “Bus, Sightseeing”.

SIP – State Implementation Plan Metropolitan areas prepare local and regional areas prepare local and regional SIPs showing steps they plan to take to meet federal air quality standards (outlined in the CAA).

SIP – State Implementation Plan Here’s a case where one term refers to two different – albiet related – documents. Metropolitan areas prepare regional SIPs showing steps they plan to take to meet federal air quality standards (outlined in the Clean Air Act). Several SIPs make up the statewide plan for cleaning up the air, also known as a SIP.

Small Bus See “Bus, Small”.

SOV – Single-Occupant Vehicle Epihet hurled by frustrated transportation planners.

SOV – Single-Occupant Vehicle A vehicle with one occupant, the driver, who is sometimes referred to as a “drive alone.”

SRTP – Short-Range Transit Plan A nine-year comprehensive plan required of all transit operators by federal and regional transportation funding agencies.

STA – State Transit Assistance Provides funding for mass transit operations and capital projects. About half of the revenues transferred to the TP&D Account go to this pot.

Standard-Size Bus See “Bus, Standard-Size”.

STIP – State Transportation Improvement Program What the CTC ends up with after combining and whittling down all the RTIPs. Covering a seven-year span and updated every two years, the STIP determines if and when capacity-enhancing transportation projects will be funded by the state.

STP – Surface Transportation Program One of the key capital programs in ISTEA. In the works of the STPP , it provides flexibility in expenditure of “road” funds for transit modes, as well as for pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

STP – Surface Transportation Program Once of the key funding programs in ISTEA. STP monies are “flexible,” meaning they can be spent on mass transit, pedestrian and bicycle facilities as well as on roads and highways.

STPP – Surface Transportation Policy Project A diverse coalition representing transportation, planning, architectural, energy, environmental and historic preservation interests whose goal is to develop a national transportation policy that, in its words, “better serves the environmental, social and economic interests of the nation.” A key player in the crafting of ISTEA.

Streetcar See “Rail, Light”.

Subscription Bus See “Bus, Subscription”.

Suburban Rail See “Rail, Commuter”.

Subway See “Rail, Heavy”.

Supplemental Appropriation An act appropriating funds in addition to those in an annual appropriation act because the need for funds is too urgent to be postponed until enactment of the next regular appropriation act.


TCI – Transit Capital Improvement State program fed by the TP&D Account and the State Highway Account that funds transit capital projects. TCI funds require a 50 percent local match.

TCM – Transportation Control Measure Strategy to reduce driving or smooth traffic flows in order to cut auto emissions.

TCM – Transportation Control Measure A strategy to reduce driving or smooth traffic flows in order to cut auto emissions and resulting air pollution. Required by the Clean Air Act, TCMs for the Bay Area are jointly developed by MTC and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Examples of TCMs include roving tow truck patrols to clear stalls and accidents from congested roadways, new or increased transit service, or a program to promote carpools and vanpools.

TDA – Transportation Development Act State law enacted in 1971. TDA funds generated from a tax of one-quarter of one percent on all retail sales in each county; used for transit, paratransit, bicycle and pedestrian purposes, they are collected by the state and allocated by the MTC to projects and programs within the county of origin. In non-urban areas, TDA funds may be used for streets and roads in certain circumstances.

TDM – Transportation Demand Management TDM – Low-cost ways to reduce demand by automobiles on the transportation system, such as programs to promote telecommuting, flextime and ridesharing.

TEA – Transportation Enhancement Activities An ISTEA created funding category. Ten percent of STP monies must be set aside for projects that enhance the compatibility of transportation facilities with their surroundings. Examples of TEA projects include bicycle and pedestrian paths, restoration of rail depots or other historic transportation facilities, acquisition of scenic or open space lands next to travel corridors, and murals or other public art projects.

TIC – Transportation Information Center See TravInfo.

TIP – Transportation Improvement Program This is primarily a spending plan for federal funding expected to flow to the region from all sources for transportation projects of all types. MTC prepares the three volume TIP annually with the cooperation of local governments, transit operators and Caltrans. Depending on the funding source it covers a three- to seven-year period.

TMA – (1) Transportation Management Association A voluntary group set up by employers or other entities to reduce vehicle trips within certain areas.(2) transportation management area A region subject to certain planning requirements under ISTEA. Any urbanized area with a population of more than 200,000 automatically is a TMA.

TMP – Transportation Management Plan When it comes to widening a freeway, traffic usually gets a whole lot worse before it gets any better, which is why the feds require a TMP showing how traffic flows will be smoothed or diverted during construction. A TMP might call for installing ramp meters or upgrading parallel roads; boosting public transit service; aggressively marketing carpooling vanpooling; and mounting a public information campaign.

TOC – Traffic Operations Center The place from which the TOS is run.

TOS – Traffic Operations System This is a benevolent Big Brother, watching you in order to give you a hand. In the Bay Area, Caltrans and the CHP will monitor traffic flows by means of detectors embedded in pavement and closed-circuit television cameras, quickly dispatching tow trucks and other assistance. CMSs and HAR will alert drivers to trouble ahead, while ramp metering will control traffic flows. By the year 2000, all 500 miles of Bay Area’s freeways should be TOS-equipped. An application of ATIS and ATMS technologies, and a JUMP Start.

TOS – Traffic Operations System In the Bay Area, Caltrans and the CHP will monitor traffic flows by means of detectors embedded in pavement and closed-circuit television cameras, quickly dispatching tow trucks and other assistance. Message signs and broadcasts will alert drivers and transit riders to conditions ahead, while ramp metering will control traffic flows. All these devices together comprise the TOS.

TP&D Account – Transportation Planning and Development Account A state transit trust fund that is the funding source for the STA program and the largest funding source for TCI.

Trackless Trolley See “Bus, Trolley”.

Tramway See “Rail, Light”.

Transfer Center A fixed location where passengers interchange from one route or vehicle to another.

Transit See “Public Transportation”.

Transit 2000 An industry effort undertaken in the late 1980s and early 1990s to develop public policies allowing transit to achieve its greatest potential for the rest for the 20th century and beyond; recommendations included turning transit systems into managers of mobility, broadening transit’s definition to include ridesharing and other high occupancy vehicle programs, enhancing local decision-making authority, increasing federal funding and raising the federal gasoline tax.

Transit Bus See “Bus, Transit”.

Transit Pass A tax-free employee commute benefit in which an employer subsidizes up to $60 per month for an employee’s transit fares or vanpool charges. This benefit also applies to military and government employees.

Transit System An organization (public or private) providing local or regional multi-occupancy-vehicle passenger service. Organizations that provide service under contract to another agency are generally not counted as separate systems.

TransLink MTC’s prototype for a universal ticket valid on all transit modes, from BART to buses to ferries. The BART style, stored-valued ticket will soon be tested in Alameda and Contra Costa counties as part of JUMP Start.

TravInfo – Bay Area Intermodal Traveler Information System The theory here is that the more you know, the better decisions you can make about your daily travel patters. Spearheaded by MTC, this ATIS project will employ state-of-the-art technology to disseminate detailed, timely information on transit schedule adherence and roadway congestion — possibly even parking availability. Travelers will be able to access data from the TravInfo nerve center (TIC) from home or at work as well as en route. A JUMP Start project implemented by a partnership of public agencies and private firms; expected to become fully operational by the mid-1990s.

TRO – trip reduction ordinance This regulation is to limit the number of SOV users in order to stanch polluting emissions. Aimed at employers, TROs have been enacted by local governments in response to CMP requirements, which vary from county to county. Now the BAAQMD has passed an Employer-based Trip Reduction Rule that should result in cities and counties adopting more stringent and more uniform TROs.

Trolley Bus See “Bus, Trolley”.

Trolley Car See “Rail, Light”.

Trolley Coach See “Bus, Trolley”.

Trust Funds Funds collected and used by the federal government for carrying out specific purposes and programs according to terms of a trust agreement or statute, such as the Social Security and highway trust funds. Trust funds are administered by the government in a fiduciary capacity and are not available for the general purposes of the government. See “Dedicated Funding Source”.

TSM – Transportation Systems Management Low-cost improvements to make the transportation system work more efficiently, such as traffic signal coordination.

TV SAP channel – Television Second Audio Program (IVHS term) It’s an auxiliary audio channel available to television stations for alternative language broadcasts and now beginning to be used to send traffic information to commuters both at home and in their cars. One avenue for delivering TravInfo data.

Transport Workers Union One of the major labor unions in the transit industry; membership is limited to operators, mechanics and other non-supervisory employees of the transit industry.


UTU – United Transportation Union One of the major labor unions in the transit industry; membership is limited to operators, mechanics and other non-supervisory employees of the transit industry.

UMTA – Urban Mass Transportation Administration See “Federal Transit Administration (FTA)”.

UZA – Urbanized AreaAn U.S. Bureau of Census-designated area of 50,000 or more inhabitants consisting of a central city or two adjacent cities plus surrounding densely settled territory, but excluding the rural portion of cities.

U.S. DOT – United States Department of Transportation The federal cabinet-level agency with responsibility for highways, mass transit, aviation and ports; headed by the secretary of transportation. The DOT includes the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, among others. There are also state DOTs (known as Caltrans in California).


VanSee “(Bus), Van”.

Vanpool An arrangement in which a group of passengers share the use and cost of a van in traveling to and from pre-arranged destinations together.

Variable Cost A cost that varies in relation to the level of operational activity.

VFV – Variable Fuel Vehicle, aka Flexible Vehicle While the BAAQMD exhorts us to make “clear choices for clean air,” “more choices for clean air” could be the motto for this kind of vehicle, which can run on gasoline along with less polluting alternative fuels, such as CNG.

VMT – vehicle miles traveled This term helps pin down the numbers. Reducing VMT can help ease traffic congestion and improve air quality.

VMT – Vehicle Miles Traveled The more cars there are on the road at the same time in the same area, he worse congestion will be. This term helps pin down the numbers. Reducing VMT can help ease traffic congestion and improve air quality.


WBE – Women’s Business Enterprise A business owned and operated by one or more women.




Zone FaresA system of fares where a transit system’s service area is divided into zones within which specified rates or fares apply.