Glossary of Key Terms

Access Board: Common name for the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, an independent federal agency whose mission is to develop guidelines for accessible facilities and services and to provide technical assistance to help public and private entities understand and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Accessibility: The extent to which facilities, including transit vehicles, are free of barriers and can be used by people who have disabilities, including wheelchair users.

ADA complementary paratransit service: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public transit agencies that provide fixed-route service to provide “complementary paratransit” services to people with disabilities who cannot use the fixed-route bus or rail service because of a disability. The ADA regulations specifically define a population of customers who are entitled to this service as a civil right. The regulations also define minimum service characteristics that must be met for this service to be considered equivalent to the fixed-route service it is intended to complement. In general, ADA complementary paratransit service must be provided within 3/4 of a mile of a bus route or rail station, at the same hours and days, for no more than twice the regular fixed route fare.

Administration on Aging (AoA): An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, headed by an Assistant Secretary for Aging. It is the federal focal point and advocacy agency for older persons, as mandated by OAA, and administers most OAA programs at the federal level. AoA funds six core services: supportive services (among which is transportation); nutrition; preventive health services; National Family Caregiver Support Program; services that protect the rights of vulnerable older persons; and service to Native Americans. AoA provides leadership, technical assistance, and support to the national aging network.

Aftermarket technology: Technology services or upgrades provided by companies unaffiliated with the vehicle manufacturer added after a vehicle is sold or leased.

Alternative fuels: Vehicle engine fuels other than standard gasoline or diesel. Typically, alternative fuels burn cleaner than gasoline or diesel and produce reduced emissions. Common alternative fuels include methanol, ethanol, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, clean diesel fuels and reformulated gasoline.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Passed by Congress in 1990, this Act mandates equal opportunities for people with disabilities in the areas of employment, transportation, communications and public accommodations. Under this Act, most transportation providers are obliged to purchase lift-equipped vehicles for their fixed-route services and must ensure system-wide accessibility of their demand-responsive services to people with disabilities. Public transit providers also must supplement their fixed-route services with paratransit services for those people unable to use fixed-route service because of their disability.

App: An application, especially as downloaded by a user to a mobile device (smart phone, tablet, laptop).

Area Agency on Aging (AAA): A public or private non-profit agency, designated by the state to address the needs and concerns of all older Americans at the regional and local levels. The term "area agency on aging" is a generic term—specific names of local AAAs [IRS designation of 501(c)(3)] may vary. Triple As are primarily responsible for a geographic area that is a city, a single county or a multi-county district. AAAs may be characterized as: county, city, regional planning council, council of governments, or private, nonprofit. All AAAs perform three important functions: Creating multi-year plans; providing information and referral on available services and programs; and coordinating Administration on Aging and other funds that support their service area.

Autonomous vehicle (AV): A vehicle that can sense its environment and guide itself without human input. AVs are sometimes referred to as HAVs (Highly Autonomous Vehicles) or as having ADS (Automated Driving Systems).

Bond: A three-party agreement providing legal assurance of contract. A transit provider may request/require prospective contractors to provide a bid bond—a guarantee that the bidding party will fulfill the terms of the bid, and, if not, that a third party (usually an insurance company) will pay any cost difference bond that ensures restitution should the winning contractor fail to perform in accordance with specific contract terms.

Brokerage: A method of providing transportation where riders are matched with appropriate transportation providers through a central trip-request and administrative facility. The transportation broker may centralize vehicle dispatch, record keeping, vehicle maintenance and other functions under contractual arrangements with agencies, municipalities and other organizations. Actual trips are provided by a number of different vendors.

Bus testing: Originally drafted in 1989, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Bus Testing regulations mandate that all transit vehicle models purchased with FTA money must undergo testing at FTA’s Altoona, PA bus testing site.

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

Buy America: Federal transportation law which requires that all purchases of vehicles, equipment or any other manufactured item be of U.S.-made and assembled components, unless the purchase price is less than $100,000 or the U.S. Department of Transportation has given the purchaser a Buy America waiver.

Capital costs: Refers to the costs of long-term assets of a public transit system such as property, buildings and vehicles. Can include bus overhauls, preventive maintenance, mobility management, and even a share of transit providers’ ADA paratransit expenses.

Checkpoint Service: A transit service model in which the vehicle does not quite have a fixed route, just certain locations at which there are scheduled stops. In between those scheduled locations, or checkpoints, the vehicle acts as a demand-response service, deviating to any location within its service area. This is a more flexible option than deviated-fixed route, which usually has a tighter schedule, limited route deviations, and can only deviate a short distance from its route. Checkpoint service is mostly used in rural areas with few gathering points, such as a Walmart.

Circulars: Program management guidelines issued by federal agencies. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) publishes and updates its circulars to communicate funding program requirements. In May 2007, the FTA published circulars concerning the FTA’s Section 5310, 5316, and 5317 programs.

Circulator 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.

Cloud-connected device(s): Devices linked through the cloud, i.e. the Internet. Most wireless devices that speak to each other are cloud connected, sending information wireless to the Internet, which then another device reads by connecting wirelessly to the Internet to read.

Commercial driver’s license (CDL): The standardized driver's license required of bus and heavy truck drivers in every state. Covers drivers of any vehicle manufactured to seat 15 or more passengers (plus driver) or over 13 tons gross vehicle weight. The CDL is mandated by the Federal government in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986.

Community bus routes: Community bus routes, also known as “service routes”, are fixed-route, fixed-schedule transit routes. They have a number of features that distinguish them from regular fixed-route bus routes; primarily the routes and level of service are designed around the origins, destinations and needs of target markets, such older adults and persons with disabilities. Community bus routes can be an effective way to divert paratransit users to a lower subsidy per trip service that also provides more convenience because no advance scheduling is needed. Community bus routes may also offer connections to longer distance, inter-city routes. Community bus routes typically use small, low floor buses that are able to operate on neighborhood streets, and enter driveways and parking lots. The focus is on front-door convenience at the expense of direct routing. Emphasis is on convenience, ease of use, and highly personalized driver service.

Community transportation: The family of transportation services in a community, including public and private sources that are available to respond to the mobility needs of all community members.

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Project (CMAQ): A flexible funding program administered by the Federal Highway Administration that funds projects and programs to reduce harmful vehicle emissions and improve traffic conditions. CMAQ funds may be used for transit projects, rideshare projects, high-occupancy vehicle lanes or other similar purposes.

Coordination: Coordination is a cooperative arrangement among public and private transportation agencies and other organizations that provide transportation services. Coordination refers to all sorts of ways in which two or more entities agree to work together toward some common purpose. Transportation coordination models can range in scope from shared use of facilities, training or maintenance to integrated brokerages to consolidated transportation service providers.

Cost allocation: The act of allocating costs among entities. In cost allocation the objective is typically to allocate a known cost among several entities based on the cost per unit of resource.

Council of governments (COG): A voluntary association of local governments that operates as a planning body. COGs collect and disseminate information, review applications for funding, and provide services common to its member agencies.

Curb-to-curb service: A common designation for paratransit services. The 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 the door of the home or other destination.

Demand-response service: This type of transit service, also sometimes called "dial-a-ride." is one in which individual passengers contact an agency and request transportation from a specific location to another specific location at a certain time. Vehicles providing demand-response service do not follow a fixed route, but travel throughout the community transporting passengers according to their specific requests. These services usually, but not always, require advance reservations. Demand-response trips can be provided by taxi, a paratransit service, a rural general public transit agency, a ride-hailing service, or others.

Deviated fixed-route service: A hybrid of fixed-route and demand-response services. With this type of service, a bus or van stops at fixed points and keeps to a timetable but can deviate its course between two stops to go to a specific location for a pre-scheduled request. Deviated fix route service is often used to provide accessibility to people with disabilities.

Dial-a-ride service: Another term for demand-response service (see above) where the rider telephones (or “dials”) to request service.

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.

Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations: The U.S. Department of Transportation implemented the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act in December 1992. The Federal Transit Administration’s drug and alcohol rules address testing of “safety sensitive” employees in its Section 5307, 5309, 5311, 5316, and 5317 programs. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules address testing of all other employees required to have a Commercial Driver’s License (see above), including many employees of Section 5310– assisted transportation operations.

Employment transportation: Transportation specifically designed to take passengers to and from work or work-related activities.

Empowerment Zones (EZs)/Enterprise Communities (ECs): These areas, so designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are eligible for preferences and flexibility in many federal grant programs. In the 1990s, EZs/ECs were chosen competitively based on community poverty characteristics and local strategic planning processes.

Fare box revenue: A public transportation term for the money or tickets collected as payment for rides. Can be cash, tickets, tokens, transfers or pass receipts. Fare box revenues rarely cover even half of a transit system’s operating expenses.

Fare structure: The basis for determining how fares are charged. Common types of fare structures are distance-based (the longer the trip is, the higher the fare will be), time-based (higher fares for trips made during peak hour service than during the “off peak”) or quality-based (demand-responsive trips are typically charged a higher fare than fixed route trips) or flat fares (the same fare is charged for all trips). In addition to these four methods, a fare structure may differentiate among passengers based on age, income, or disability; for example, often lower fares are charged for older adults, children and youth, Medicaid recipients, people with limited income and people with disabilities).

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. The FHWA’s annual budget of more than $30 billion is funded by fuel and motor vehicle excise taxes. FWHA is the lead agency in federal intelligent transportation (ITS) activities and regulated interstate transportation. In addition to ITS, funds under FHWA’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program, Surface Transportation Program (STP), and Federal Lands Highways Program can be used for a variety of transit activities.

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. Up to 1991 the FTA was known as the Urban Mass Transportation Administration.

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.

Flexible routing and schedules: Flexible route service follows a direction of travel but allows for deviation or rerouting along the way to accommodate specific trip requests. Examples of flexible route systems are route deviation and point deviation. The schedule may be fixed or flexible.

General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS): Defines a common format for public transportation schedules and associated geographic information, which also supports its Google Transit platform. GTFS feeds allow public transit agencies to publish their transit data and developers to use that data to write applications. This is ideal for fixed-route transit but less so for demand-response service.

Grant: The award of government funds to an entity. Federal funds are typically awarded either as formula (or “block”) grants, where a predetermined legislative process establishes the level of funding available to an entity, or discretionary grants, where the funding agency is free to determine how much (if any) funding an entity will be given based on the relative merits of the proposal. Private foundations also give grants based on their own criteria.

Guaranteed Ride Home: A program that encourages employees to carpool, use transit, bike or walk to work by guaranteeing them a ride home in case they cannot take the same mode home (e.g., if they need to work late or if an emergency occurs).

Head Start: A program of comprehensive services for economically disadvantaged preschool-age children. Services, including transportation, are provided by local Head Start agencies and are funded by the Administration for Children and Families, part of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Headway: The length of time at a stop between buses following the same route. If buses operating along Route A arrive at Stop 1 at 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, and 11:00, it is operating on half-hour headways during the period between 9:00 and 11:00. When headways are short the service is said to be operating at a high frequency, whereas if headways are long, service is operating at a low frequency.

Human services transportation: Transportation for clients of a specific human or social service agency that is usually limited to a specific trip purpose. Human service agency trips are often provided under contract to a human service agency and may be provided exclusively or rideshared with other human service agencies or general public service.

Intelligent transportation systems (ITS): Refers to a broad range of wireless and wire line communications-based information and electronic technologies. When integrated into the transportation system’s infrastructure and into vehicles themselves, these technologies relieve congestion, improve safety and enhance productivity. ITS is made up of 16 types of technology based systems, divided into intelligent infrastructure systems and intelligent vehicle systems.

Intercity transportation: Long distance service provided between cities, often as part of a large network of intercity bus operators. Both express and local bus service may be provided. The Greyhound and Trailways systems are examples national intercity bus networks: Under the Federal Transit Administration’s Section 5311(f) program, intercity transportation service must receive no less than 15 percent of each state's total Section 5311 funding, unless a state's governor certifies that these needs are already being met.

Jitney: A privately owned, small vehicle that is operated on a fixed route but not on a fixed schedule.

Level of autonomy: The degree to which a vehicle utilizes automation technology, including six unique levels of autonomy (1-6) as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Match: State or local funds required by various federal or state programs to complement funds provided by a state or federal agency for a project. A match may also be required by states in funding projects that are joint state/local efforts. Some funding sources allow services, such as the work of volunteers, to be counted as an in-kind funding match. Federal programs normally require that match funds come from other than federal sources.

Medicaid: Also known as Medical Assistance, this is a health care program for low-income and other “medically needy” individuals, jointly funded by state and federal governments. The Medicaid program pays for transportation to non-emergency medical appointments if the recipient has no other means to travel to the appointment. More information is available at for more information.

Medical Review Officer (MRO): An accredited physician who can review the results of drug and alcohol tests for transit employees. An MRO is mandatory for certain transit agencies under the Department of Transportation Drug and Alcohol Regulations. The definition and qualifications for an MRO are included in 49 C.F.R. Part 40.

Metropolitan planning organization (MPO): The organizational entity designated by law with lead responsibility for developing transportation plans and programs for urbanized areas of 50,000 or more in population. MPOs are established by agreement of the governor and units of general purpose local government that together represent 75 percent of the affected population of an urbanized area.

Microtransit: IT-enabled private multi-passenger transportation services, such as Chariot, and Via, that serve passengers using dynamically generated routes, and that expect passengers to make their way to and from common pick-up or drop-off points. Vehicles can range from large SUVs to vans to shuttle buses. Because they provide transit-like service but on a smaller, more flexible scale, these new services have been referred to as microtransit.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS): A customer-focused interface that incorporates multiple mobility options into a single, intuitive and seamless platform or app that allows for choosing the right option, scheduling and paying for that option.

Mobility management: Mobility management is a customer-centered approach to designing and delivering mobility services. It embraces a shared table of transportation providers, planners, and community stakeholders to collaborate, plan, implement and maintain transportation services. It includes local and regional solutions customized to fit community needs and visions, and involves innovation in transportation service, coordination and connectivity. Mobility management strives for easy information and referral to assist individuals in learning about and accessing community and regional transportation services.

Mobility-on-Demand (MOD): An integrated and connected multi-modal network of safe, affordable, and reliable transportation options that are available and accessible to all travelers.

Mobile ticketing: The process whereby customers can order, pay for, obtain, or validate and use tickets using mobile phones or other mobile handsets.

Mode, intermodal, multimodal: Mode refers to a form of transportation, such as automobile, transit, bicycle, and walking. Intermodal refers to the connections between modes, and multimodal refers to the availability of transportation options within a system or corridor.

National Transit Database Reports: Annual reports (formerly known as “Section 15” reports) that provide financial and operating data that are required of almost all recipients of transportation funds under Section 5307.

Near-field communications: Near field communication (NFC) is the technology that enables smart cards to be ‘contactless.’ They use an unpowered chip that communicates with the on-board or in-station fare collection system and deducts value when used. Smart cards or cell phones using NFC only need to be waved over the fare payment machine aboard the transit vehicle or before going through the turnstile leading to the vehicles. This is in contrast to ‘contact’ smart cards, which need to be inserted into the machine. NFC is a specific type of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that limits the communication distance to four inches or less. Source.

No-show: A passenger scheduled for a demand-response trip who does not appear at the designated pick-up place and time and does not cancel the trip in advance. Frequent no-shows can hurt the efficiency and effectiveness of the demand-response transportation service. In addition, passengers who repeatedly fail to show for scheduled service may have their right to service suspended, subject to an appeals process.

Older Americans Act (OAA): Federal law first passed in 1965. The act established a national network of federal, state, and local agencies to plan and provide services to enable older persons to maintain their independence in their homes and communities. The Act created the infrastructure for organizing, coordinating, and providing community-based services and opportunities for older Americans and their families.

On-Demand: A product or service available immediately, or as soon as or whenever required. Twenty-four or 48-hour advance reservation trips are NOT on-demand.

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.

Person trip/passenger trip: A trip made by one person from one origin to one destination. Many transit statistics are based on "unlinked passenger trips," which refer to individual one-way trips made by individual riders in individual vehicles. A person who leaves home on one vehicle, transfers to a second vehicle to arrive at a destination, leaves the destination on a third vehicle and has to transfer to yet another vehicle to complete the journey home has made four unlinked passenger trips.

Platooning: Synchronous operation of multiple vehicles, often in a convoy, to increase road capacity and efficiency.

Pre-Award/Post-Delivery Audit Requirements: Since 1991, FTA has required recipients of Sections 5307, 5309, 5310 and 5311 funds to carry out audits of vehicles and other rolling stock purchased with FTA money. These audits are to ensure that vehicles are manufactured according to specification and comply with applicable Buy America and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Predictive modeling: The process of creating, testing and validating a model to best predict the probability of an outcome.

Radial network: A public transit route service pattern in which most routes converge into and diverge from a central transfer point or hub, like the spokes of a wheel. Arterial or loop routes may be used. If the routes are timed to arrive and depart at the same time, it is called a pulse system.

Rapid transit: Rail or bus transit service operating completely separate from all modes of transportation on an exclusive right-of-way. Often operates as an express service with a minimal number of stops.

Real-time: Information transmitted and delivered to reflect current status as much as possible.

Reverse commute: Commuting against the main directions of traffic. Often refers to travel from the central city to suburbs during peak period commuting times.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID): RFID is a type of automated fare media used for contactless fare payment. RFID operates in smart cards through a silicon chip that contains memory and communicates with a transponder for payment. RFID offers all the general advantages of automated fare media - reduced dwell time, convenience for passengers - with the added benefit of being applied through open payment systems as credit card and cell phone companies adopt the technology. Source

Rideshare/ridematch program: A program that facilitates the formation of carpools and vanpools, usually for work trips. A database is maintained for the ride times, origins, destinations and driver/rider preferences of users and potential users. Those requesting to join an existing pool or looking for riders are matched by program staff with other appropriate people.

Risk management: An element of a transit system's safety management program, which includes identification and evaluation of potential safety hazards for employees, passengers and the public.

Section 5307: This section of the Federal Transit Act 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.

Section 5309: This section of the Federal Transit Act authorizes discretionary grants to public transit agencies for capital projects such as buses, bus facilities and rail projects. (See for more information.

Section 5310: The formula program that provides capital assistance to states for transportation programs that serve the elderly and people with disabilities. States distribute Section 5310 funds to local operators in rural and urban settings who are either nonprofit organizations or the lead agencies in coordinated transportation programs. Allocation of funding to states is made on the basis of the number of elderly and persons with disabilities in that state. (See for more information.)

Section 5311: The formula program that provides capital and operating assistance grants to public transit systems in rural and small urban areas with populations of less than 50,000. Funding is apportioned by a statutory formula that is based on the latest U.S. Census figures of areas with a population less than 50,000. The amount that the state may use for state administration, planning, and technical assistance activities is limited to 15 percent of the annual apportionment. States must spend 15 percent of the apportionment to support rural intercity bus service unless the Governor certifies that the intercity bus needs of the state are adequately met. (See grants_financing_3555.html for more information.)

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. Characteristics of a service route include stops at high-density residential complexes or group homes, shopping areas, medical facilities, and destinations specific to the target population such as senior centers or sheltered work sites. Stops are usually positioned near an accessible entrance of a building instead of on the street, and the ride times are typically longer than on a “conventional” fixed route covering the same general area. Vehicles tend to be smaller and accessible to people with disabilities, and drivers usually offer a relatively high level of personal assistance.

Shared-Use Mobility: Transportation services that are shared among users, including public transit; taxis and limos; bikesharing; carsharing (round-trip, one-way, and personal vehicle sharing); ridesharing (car-pooling, van-pooling); ridesourcing (such as Uber andLyft); scooter sharing; shuttle services; neighborhood jitneys; and commercial delivery vehicles providing flexible goods movement. [TCRP Research Report 188]

Smart cities/communities: Promotes cities or communities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of smart solutions and technologies.

Smartphone: A cellular telephone with an integrated computer and other features not originally associated with telephones, such as an operating system, Web browsing and the ability to run software applications.

State Units on Aging (SUAs): Agencies of state and territorial governments designated by governors and state legislatures to administer, manage, design and advocate for benefits, programs and services for the elderly and their families and, in many states, for adults with physical disabilities. The term "state unit on aging" is a general term: the specific title and organization of the governmental unit will vary from state to state and may be called a Department, Office, Bureau, Commission, Council or Board for the elderly, seniors, aging, older adults and/or adults with physical disabilities. Since 1965 all State Units on Aging have administered the Older Americans Act (OAA) in their respective states. Through a state network of area agencies on aging and service providers, a range of services is provided to older persons including home-care, congregate and home delivered meals, transportation, information and assistance and advocacy on behalf of individual older citizens. SUAs also have significant policy, planning and advocacy roles in leveraging other federal, state and local public and private funds to support programs on aging.

Subscription service: When a passenger or group of passengers requests a repetitive ride (such as on a daily or weekly service on an ongoing basis), trips are often scheduled on a subscription or “standing order” basis. The passenger makes a single initial trip request, and the transit system automatically schedules them for their trip(s) each day or week. This type of service is frequently used in transporting human service agency clients to regular agency programs.

Surge pricing: The practice of charging more for a product or service during periods when it is in high demand. (See also: Variable Pricing)

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.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Created by the 1996 welfare reform law, TANF is a program of block grants to states to help them meet the needs of families with limited income. It replaced a selection of federal public assistance programs, including Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Because of TANF-imposed time limits, states try to place TANF recipients in jobs as quickly as possible, often using program funds to pay for transportation, child care, and other activities related to workforce participation.

Title IIIB: A title of the Older Americans Act that authorizes expenditures for nutrition and transportation programs that serve older persons.

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.

Transit-oriented development (TOD): A type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation. Successful TOD provides people from all walks of life with convenient, affordable and active lifestyles and create places where our children can play and our parents can grow old comfortably.

Transportation control measures (TCMs): Local actions to adjust traffic patterns or reduce vehicle use to reduce air pollutant emissions. These may include HOV lanes, provision of bicycle facilities, ridesharing, telecommuting, etc. Transportation disadvantaged: A term used to describe those people who have little or no access to meaningful jobs, services, and recreation because a transportation system does not meet their needs. Often refers to those individuals who cannot drive a private automobile because of age, disability, or lack of resources.

Transportation demand management (TDM): Focuses on understanding how people make their transportation decisions and helping people use the infrastructure in place for transit, ridesharing, walking, biking, and telework. It is cost-effective in guiding the design of our transportation and physical infrastructure so that alternatives to driving are naturally encouraged and our systems are better balanced. [Mobility Lab]

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. Without TIP inclusion, a project is ineligible for Federal funding.

Transportation management area (TMA): Defined as all urbanized areas over 200,000 in population. Within a TMA, all transportation plans and programs must be based on a continuing and comprehensive planning process carried out by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in cooperation with states and transit operators. The TMA boundary affects the responsibility for the selection of transportation projects that receive federal funds.

Transportation management association (TMA): A voluntary association of public and private agencies and firms joined to cooperatively develop transportation-enhancing programs in a given area. TMAs are appropriate organizations to better manage transportation demand in congested suburban communities.

Transportation network company (TNC): A company that uses an online-enabled or digital platform to connect passengers with compensated drivers using their personal, non-commercial, vehicles. (Often referred to as ridehailing or ridesourcing

Trip generator: A place that generates a demand for frequent travel is called a trip generator. Trip generators may be origins or destinations. For example, a high-density residential area generates a need for all kinds of trips outside of the residential area into commercial areas; a medical center generates trips for medical purposes; and a downtown area may generate trips for retail, recreational, or personal business purposes.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): The primary agency with oversight for federal agricultural programs, nutrition programs, and economic and community development in rural areas.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): The federal agency that funds a variety of human services transportation through the Administration on Aging, Head Start, Medicaid, Temporary Aid for Needy Families, and other federal programs.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT): The federal department responsible for the funding, efficiency, and safety of the nation’s highway, aviation, transit, pipeline, and maritime transportation infrastructure.

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.

User-side subsidy: A transportation funding structure in which qualified users (usually people with limited income) are able to purchase vouchers for transportation services at a portion of their worth. The users then may use the vouchers to purchase transportation from any participating provider. The vouchers are redeemed by the provider at full value and the provider is reimbursed by the funding agency for the full value.

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.

Variable pricing: Manages demand on transportation networks by providing customers with carefully constructed financial cues. These cues encourage travelers to use the available infrastructure or services in a more efficient manner. Includes time-of-day and dynamic (real-time) pricing changes. (See also: Surge Pricing).

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication: The wireless transmission of data between motor vehicles. The goal of V2V communication is to prevent accidents by allowing vehicles in transit to send position and speed data to one another over an ad hoc mesh network.

Volunteer network: A volunteer network matches requests for transportation with a volunteer driver who is typically reimbursed on a per-mile basis for providing the trip. Persons requesting service call the network; the network calls the driver and schedules the trip. Volunteer networks are frequently used in rural areas where resources are scarce, persons needing transportation may live in remote areas, and a sense of community is not uncommon.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): Federal act signed into law on July 22, 2014, governs federal programs designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. WIOA provisions are implemented under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) .


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