Glossary & Definitions


3-C Process – Continuing, cooperative and comprehensive planning process – A continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive (“3 C”) process to encourage and promote the development of a multimodal transportation system that ensures safe and efficient movement of people and goods while balancing environmental and community needs.



Access Management – The systematic control of the location, spacing, design, and operation of driveways, median openings, interchanges, and street connections to a roadway, as well as roadway design applications that affect access, such as median treatments and auxiliary lanes and the appropriate separation of traffic signals.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) – The ADA requires accessible public transportation services and facilities for persons with disabilities, including supplemental service in areas where fixed route transit service is operated.

Average Daily Traffic (ADT) – Average daily traffic volume (sometimes referred to as AADT, Average Annual Daily Traffic).

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) – An organization of state Departments of Transportation.

Attainment Area – Any geographic area in which levels of a given criteria air pollutant meet the health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for that pollutant.



Blue Rapid Transit – A bus system that operates on bus lanes or other transit-ways in order to combine that flexibility of buses with the efficiency of rail.

Busway - A roadway reserved for buses only. Also known as a “bus lane.”



Capacity – A transportation facility’s ability to accommodate a moving stream of people or vehicles in a given time period, under prevailing conditions.

The Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual – 2nd Edition (TCRP Report # 100) defines capacity (achievable) as: “The maximum number of passengers that can be transported over a given section of a transit line in one direction during a given time period, factored down to reflect the uneven passenger demand during the peak hour, uneven vehicle occupancy and, for rail, the uneven loading of cars with a train. Usually the maximum capacity with unlimited vehicles, if constrained by number of vehicles this must be clearly stated.”

Circular bus - A bus that makes frequent trips around a small geographic area with numerous stops along the route. It is typically operated in a downtown area or an area that attracts tourists or large crowds and has limited parking and congested roads. It may be operated all day or only at times of peak demand, such as rush hour or lunch time.

Clean Air Act – Federal legislation that details acceptable levels of airborne pollution and spells out the role of state and local governments in maintaining clean air.

Community Impact Assessment (CIA) – A process for evaluating the effects of proposed transportation projects on a community and its quality of life. The assessment should include all items of importance to people, such as mobility, safety, employment effects, relocation, isolation and other community issues.

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) – A category of federal-aid highway funds that may be used only to support projects in air quality nonattainment areas of Kentucky. Such as projects must demonstrate an air quality improvement as a result of their use

Congestion – Congestion is travel time or delay in excess of that normally incurred under light or free-flow travel conditions

Congestion Management System (CMS) – A systematic and regionally accepted approach for managing congestion that provides accurate, up-to-date information on transportation system operations and performance and assesses alternative strategies for congestion management that meet State and local needs.

Connected Vehicle – A research program – sponsored by the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) and others – focusing on the development and deployment of a fully connected transportation system that makes the most of multi-modal, transformational applications addressing safety, mobility, and the environment.

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.

Curb-to-Curb Service – A common designation for paratransit services. Transit vehicle picks up and discharges passengers at the curb or driveway in front of their home or destination. In curb-to-curb service the driver does not assist the passenger along walks or steps to door of the home or the destination.



Demand-response Service – The type of transit service where individual passengers can request transportation from a specific location to another specific location at a certain time. Transit vehicles providing demand-response service do not follow a fixed route, but travel throughout the community transporting passengers according to their specific requests.

Door-to-Door Service – A form of paratransit service that includes passenger assistance between the vehicle and the door of the passenger’s home or other destination. A higher level of service than curb-to-curb, yet not as specialized as “door-through-door” service, where the driver actually provides assistance within the origin or destination.



Environmental Assessment (EA) – The general term used to describe the assessment of environmental impacts of a transportation development project. An EA may result in increasing order of level of detailed analysis in either (a)  a CE (categorical exclusion) from formal assessment, (b) a FONSI (finding of no significant impact), or (c) the development of a formal EIS (environmental impact statement).

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – One possible result of an environmental assessment (EA)

Environmental Justice (EJ) – A term used to encapsulate the requirements of Federal Executive Order 12898 which state, in part, that “…each Federal agency shall make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations…” and hence to ensure equal environmental protection to all groups potentially impacted by a transportation development project.  

Express Toll Lanes (ETL) – A lane pricing strategy similar HOT lanes, except that all vehicles are charged a toll to use the lane. These facilities are essentially access restricted toll-roads with limited access implemented within the freeway right-of-way and that are actively managed to preserve free-flow operating conditions.



Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – A component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that is responsible for ensuring that America’s roads and highways are safe and technologically up-to-date. Although State, local and tribal governments own most of the Nation’s highways, the FHWA provides financial and technical support to them for constructing, improving, and preserving America’s highway system.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)  – A component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that administers federal funding to support a variety of locally planned, constructed, and operated public transportation systems throughout the U.S., including buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, monorail, passenger ferry boats, inclined railways, and people movers. FTA provides financial assistance for capital, operating and planning costs of these public transportation systems. It also sponsors research, training, technical assistance and demonstration programs. 

Financially Constrained or Fiscal Constraint – The metropolitan transportation plan, TIP and STIP includes sufficient financial information for demonstrating that projects in the metropolitan transportation plan, TIP and STIP can be implemented using committed, available, or reasonably available revenue sources, with reasonable assurance that the federally supported transportation system is being adequately operated and maintained.    

Fixed Route Service – Transit services where vehicles run on regular, scheduled routes with fixed stops and no deviation. Typically, fixed-route service is characterized by printed schedules or timetables, designated bus stops where passengers board and alight and the use of larger transit vehicles.

Finding Of No Significant Impact (FONSI) – One possible result of an environmental assessment (EA).



GARVEE – Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles – An innovative financing technique permitted by federal law and involves the commitment of future federal-aid appropriation as leveraging for current year highway improvements.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – Refers to databases and/or software routines that store and graphically depict electronic data.



Headway – The length of time at a stop between buses following the same route.

Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) / Highway Capacity Software (HCS) – A Set of analytical tools that attempts to quantify the quality of service provided by a highway facility as perceived by the users of that facility. A common measure of that quality of service is the “Level of Service” provided, described as A through F.

High Occupancy Toll Lanes (HOT)  – A strategy allowing vehicles that do not meet occupancy restrictions established for a HOV lane to use it through payment of a toll.

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) – A vehicle with at least a predefined number of occupants, generally two or more.



Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) – A generic description of signal systems, traffic monitoring devices, and other traffic operations projects to improve capacity and safety (or ‘TOPICS’ projects as they were known in the 1960’s) without major capital investment in facility reconstruction.

Intermodal – Refers to the connections between modes.



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 system and services.



Managed Lanes – Highway facilities or a set of lanes where operational strategies are proactively implemented and actively managed to optimize traffic flow and vehicular throughput.

Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) – Defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic controls devices on all streets and highways.

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) – A KYTC designated, FHWA approved organization to conduct ongoing transportation planning activities in areas with population greater than 50,000 persons.

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

Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) – The official multimodal transportation plan addressing no less than a 20-year planning horizon that is developed, adopted, and updated by the MPO through the metropolitan transportation planning process

Mode - Refers to a form of transportation, such as an automobile, transit, bicycle, and walking.

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



Nonattainment Area – A nonattainment area is one where air quality monitors show that the area exceeds the level of toxic emissions (ozone or carbon monoxide) permitted by the Clean Air Act. The boundary of the area is determined by the Environmental Protection Agency. All nonattainment areas must demonstrate conformity, as required in the transportation conformity rule, before federal-aid funds may be authorized in the given area.



Operating Costs – The sum of all recurring expenses (e.g., labor, fuel, administration) associated with the operation and maintenance of a transit system; excludes capital equipment purchases, loans, depreciation, or leases.



Paratransit – Types of passenger transportation that are more flexible than conventional fixed-route transit but more structured than the use of private automobiles. Paratransit is a broad term that may be used to describe any means of shared ride transportation other than fixed route mass transit services. Paratransit services usually use smaller vehicles (less than 25 passengers) and provide advance-reservation, demand-responsive service that is either curb-to-curb or door-to-door. Paratransit services that are provided to accommodate passengers with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route service and that meet specific service equivalency tests are called ADA complementary paratransit services.

Performance Measurement – A process of assessing progress toward achieving predetermined goals. Including, information on the efficiency with which resources are transformed into goods and services, the quality of those outputs (how well they are delivered to clients and the extent to which clients are satisfied) and outcomes (the results of a program activity compared to its intended purpose), and the effectiveness of government operations in terms of their specific contribution to program objectives.

Performance Measures – Indicators that provide the basis for evaluating the transportation system operating conditions and identifying the location and severity of congestion and other problems.



Rideshare / Ridematch Program – A program that facilitates the formation of carpools and vanpool, usually for work trips. A database is maintained for the ride times, origins, destinations and driver/rider preferences of users and potential users.

Record Of Decision (ROD) – A formal decision published in the federal register of a federal agency’s decision on a federally-funded project on which an EIS was prepared.

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

Request for Intent (RFI)

Request for Proposal (RFP) – 

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)



Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) – This Act authorizes the Federal Surface Transportation Programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the 5-year period 2005 – 2009.

Scenic Byway – These routes are nominated by local support groups and designated by the Transportation Cabinet because they are deemed to have roadside or view sheds of aesthetic, historical, cultural, natural, archaeological, and/or recreational value worthy of preservation, restoration, protection, and/or enhancement.

Section 5307 – The section of the Federal Transit Act that authorizes grants to public transit systems in all urban areas. Funds authorized through Section 5307 are awarded to states to provide capital and operating assistance to transit systems in urban areas with populations between 50,000 and 200,000. Transit systems in urban areas with populations greater than 200,000 receive their funds directly from the Federal Transit Administration.

Service Route – Transit routes that are tailored to meet the needs of a specific market segment (such as older adults or people with disabilities) in a community. Service routes often evolve out of a pattern of demand-response travel within a community.

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

State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) – A statewide prioritized listing / program of transportation projects covering a period of four years. Must be consistent with the long-range statewide transportation plan, MPO plans, and TIPs; required for projects to be eligible for funding under title 23  U.S.C. and title 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53.



Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) – A board established with the responsibilities of general review, guidance and coordination of the transportation planning process for the planning area, and with the responsibility for making recommendations to the respective local and state governmental agencies and the TAC regarding any necessary actions relating to the continuing transportation planning process. Responsibilities of the TAC include the development, review, and recommendation for approval of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan, and Deferal-Aid Urban System and Urbanized Boundary. The TCC is comprised of representatives from 20 entities.

Telecommuting – The substitution, either partially or completely, of the use of computer and telecommunications technologies (e.g., telephones, personal computers, modems, facsimile machines, electronic mail) for transportation to a conventional place of work. Implies either working at home or at a satellite work center that is closer to an employee’s home than the conventional place of work.

Title VI – A title of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that ensures that no person in the United States will be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The transportation planning regulations, issued in October 1993, require that metropolitan transportation planning processes be consistent with Title VI.

Transportation Asset Management (TAM) – A strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, upgrading, and expanding physical assets effectively through their life cycle. It focuses on business and engineering practices for resource allocation and utilization, with the objective of better decision making based upon quality information and well defined objectives.

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) – A document prepared by states and planning commissions that describes projects to be funded under Federal transportation programs for a full-year period. A prioritized listing / program of transportation projects covering a period of four years that is developed and formally adopted by an MPO as part of the metropolitan transportation planning process. Must be consistent with the metropolitan plan; required for projects to be eligible for funding under title 23 U.S.C. and title 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53.

Traffic Signal Management – The planning, design, integration, maintenance, and proactive management of a traffic signal system in order to achieve policy based objectives to improve the efficiency, consistency, safety, and reliability of the traffic signal system.

Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) – The policy board for the MPO and is responsible for the development of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) and Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) which is the agreed-upon list of specific projects for which federal funds are anticipated. The TAC is made up of 14 different entities. The tasks of the TAC include: Promoting the planning of a safe and efficient regional multimodal transportation system that serves the travel needs of the urbanized area; Facilitating economic growth and development; Encouraging public participation and partnership; and minimizing the negative effects of transportation on the environment.

Transportation Management Area (TMA) – An urbanized area over 200,000 in population as defined by ISTEA. A TMA is given responsibility, through the MPO, for making decisions as to how some categories of federal transportation funds will be spent.

Travel Demand Management – Managing both the growth of and periodic shifts in traffic demand in a manner that optimizes transportation system performance for commute and non-commute trips by providing travelers with choices relative to route, time, and mode.

Travel Forecasting Model – A travel model developed for use with a computer. This model utilizes a geographic and mathematical simulation of area travel which estimates traffic volume on the existing system, and projects future traffic volumes. Congestion problems may be located, and traffic impacts of a particular project can be evaluated.

Transportation System Management (TSM) – TSM techniques are designed to improve the level of efficiency at which the existing transportation system works. A project to synchronize traffic signals along corridors, for instance, will improve traffic flow and the efficiency of the road.



Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) – A statement of work identifying the planning priorities and activities to be carried out within a metropolitan planning area. At a minimum, the UPWP includes a description of the planning work and resulting products, who will perform the work, time frames for completing work, the cost of the work, and the source(s) of funds.

Urbanized Area (UZA) – An area that contains a city of 50,000 or more population, plus incorporated surrounding areas, and meets size or density criteria established by the Census Bureau. An urban area boundary, which encircles the urbanized areas in a region, may be developed by states in cooperation with local officials. This boundary is the line of demarcation for rural /urban functional classification of roadways.



Vanpool – A prearranged ridesharing service in which a number of people travel together on a regular basis in a van. Vanpools may be publicly operated, employer operated, individually owned or leased.      

Vehicles Miles of Travel (VMT) – VMT is a measure of the level of travel activity in an area. The figure is generally found by multiplying the average length of trip by the total number of trips. As vehicle miles of travel increase, congestion and auto emissions that degrade air quality may be expected to increase.