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Commonly Used Terms and Acronyms


A, B, C, D  E, F, G, H I, J, K, L
M, N, O, P  Q, R, S, T U - Z

Acronym     Full Term

AADT           Annual Average Daily Traffic
Averaged count of traffic volume on a particular road or section of road

AASHTO      American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
AASHTO develops guidelines and standards for roadway design, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities (

ADA             Americans with Disabilities Act
Federal law requiring construction that is publicly funded or open to the public to be accessible

Air Quality Conformity
Transportation plans within areas designated non-attainment must, through the modeling process, show that the projects within it will not increase the amount of air pollution over the time period of the LRTP.

ARC             Atlanta Regional Commission
Multi-county planning and development agency, the largest of 12 in the State, that promotes regional cooperation and planning for the 10 central counties of the metropolitan Atlanta area

ARC             Appalachian Regional Commission
A federally-designated agency that serves the development needs of the multi-state Appalachian region

Functional classification for a street or highway that provides the highest level of service at the greatest speed for the longest uninterrupted distance, with some degree of access control

Attainment Area
An urbanized area which meets federal air quality standards defined in the Clean Air Act

BMP             Beginning Mile Point
Starting point for a construction project

CBDG           Community Development Block Grant
Funding awarded to a municipality for improvements in low-income neighborhoods – can go for a range of facilities, including bicycle and pedestrian

CMAQ          Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
A federal program that provides funding for surface transportation and other related projects that contribute to air quality improvements and congestion mitigation, especially in air quality non-attainment and maintenance areas. CMAQ provides funds to state DOTs, MPOs and transit agencies to invest in projects that reduce emissions from transportation-related sources

CMS             Congestion Management System
A CMS is a systematic process for defining what levels of congestion are acceptable to the community; developing performance measures for congestion; identifying alternative solutions to manage congestion; prioritizing funding for those strategies and assessing the effectiveness of those actions. Congestion Management Systems are a required component of the metropolitan planning process in urbanized areas over 200,000 in population.

Functional classification for a street or highway that provides a less highly developed level of service than an arterial and at a lower speed for shorter distances by collecting traffic from local roads and connecting them with arterials

A process in which transportation plans and spending programs (i.e., Regional Transportation Plans and Transportation Improvement Programs) are reviewed to ensure they are consistent with federal clean air requirements and contribute to attainment of air quality standards. These plans and programs must demonstrate that they do not exceed the Motor Vehicle Emission Budgets established in the state air quality plan called the State Implementation Plan (SIP)

CONSTR      Construction Phase
The last of three major phases generally referenced in the project development cycle, this phase starts with the letting of the contracts that initiate actual construction of the project

DCA             Georgia Department of Community Affairs
This state agency serves as an advocate for local governments. DCA operates a host of state and federal grant programs; serves as the state’s lead agency in housing finance and development; promulgates building codes to be adopted by local governments; provides comprehensive planning, technical and research assistance to local governments; and serves as the lead agency for the state’s solid waste reduction efforts.

DNR-EPD     Georgia Department of Natural Resources-Division of Environmental Protection
State agency that administers federal and state environmental protection laws governing air quality, water quality, and land
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EIS              Environmental Impact Statement
Analysis prior to development of potential impact of a project – required of major projects such as roads

EMP             Ending Mile Point
Terminus for a construction project

FAA             Federal Aviation Administration
An agency of the USDOT engaged in regulating transportation by air

FHWA          Federal Highway Administration
An agency of the USDOT – actively involved in promoting safe facilities and education programs, including bike and pedestrian facilities

Financially Constrained
The budget for the construction of the projects reflected in the LRTP must be reasonable and based upon expected sources of funding.

FLAP          Federal Land Access Program
The Federal Lands Access Program was established by the MAP-21 legislation to improve transportation facilities that provide access to, are adjacent to, or are located within Federal lands. The program supplements State and local resources for public roads, transit systems, and other transportation facilities, with an emphasis on high-use recreation sites and economic generators.

FTA              Federal Transit Administration
Federal agency which provides funding for planning, development, and improvement of public mass transportation systems

Functional Classification
The grouping of streets and roads according to the level of service they provide to through traffic and as property access

GDOT         Georgia Department of Transportation
The central office for GDOT is in Atlanta – there are also 14 divisions in the state, each with its own office and local engineer. Cabarrus is in Division 10 and Rowan is in Division 9.

GIS              Geographic Information System
Database and mapping software such as ArcInfo, ArcView, or TRANSCAD.

HOT           High Occupancy Toll Lanes
Limited-access managed lanes that allow eligible carpoolers, transit, motorcycles and Alternative Fuel Vehicles to use the lane for free, while allowing previously ineligible solo drivers to buy back into the lane for a fee. The number of cars using these lanes can be controlled through value pricing via electronic toll collection so as to maintain free-flowing traffic in them at all times, even during the height of rush hours

HOV          High Occupancy Vehicle
Lanes designated for use by vehicles carrying two or more persons, alternative fuel vehicles, and motorcycles

HST             Human Services Transportation
Includes a broad range of service options designed to meet the needs of the transportation disadvantaged including older adults, persons with disabilities and individuals with lower incomes. Planning and Coordinating HST helps to improve the efficiency of limited transportation resources, reduce duplication of services, and improve customer satisfaction
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Transportation of persons and goods that involves the interchange between the transportation modes including road, rails, waterways, and air

LCI            Livable Centers Initiative
Created by Atlanta Regional Commission, LCI is a program that funds investment policy studies for activity centers and town centers. The primary focus of these studies is to encourage increased development, mixed uses and connectivity at the activity and town center level as one alternative to standard, suburban or strip development

LMIG          Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants
Grant funding furnished by GDOT to assist local governments with locally important but minor road improvements.

Local road
Functional classification which consists of all roads not defined as arterials or collectors. Local roads primarily provide access to land with little or no through movement

LOS           Level of Service
A measure of the ability for a facility to handle traffic flow – LOS standards are just being developed for bicycle and pedestrian traffic

LRTP         Long-Range Transportation Plan
A document resulting from regional or statewide collaboration and consensus on a region or state's transportation system, and serving as the defining vision for the region's or state's transportation systems and services. In metropolitan areas, the plan indicates all of the transportation improvements scheduled for funding over the next 20 years and is updated every five years

MPO          Metropolitan Planning Organization
The Cartersville-Bartow Metropolitan Planning Organization (CBMPO) is one of 16 MPO’s in GA – an MPO makes recommendations to GDOT for transportation improvements in its region

MUTCD      Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices
The primary reference for traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings – used by all transportation departments

NWGRC       Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
Regional Commission (one of 12 in the State) that serves the local governments of the 15 northwest Georgia counties and promotes larger-scale planning – local governments are members and pay dues.

NEPA         National Environmental Policy Act
1969 federal law requiring any project with federal funding or approval must examine impacts on environment, and consider alternatives, before a decision is made

NHTSA       National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Agency responsible for safety awareness and education programs – publishes materials for use with all ages and groups

Non-attainment Area
Geographic area, as designated by EPA, where air quality does not meet federal air quality standards designed to protect public health. The Atlanta non-attainment area currently includes Bartow and 19 other counties based on the eight-hour standard for ground level ozone and all of these counties plus parts of 2 other counties based on a new standard for particulate matter

PE             Preliminary Engineering
The first of three major phases of project development which includes concept development, environmental review, preliminary and field plan reviews.

PFPR        Preliminary Field Plan Review
Meeting to elements needing further examination in the construction of the project.

PI #           Project Information Number
Number assigned to funded projects for record-keeping purposes

PIOH         Public Information Open House
Opportunity for public input into a project. Can occur at any stage of the process.

Policy Committee
The Policy Committee is the governing board of the MPO – it consists of elected officials from the local governments in the MPO area plus a representative of the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation
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RFP           Request For Proposals
Document outlining proposed projects and the terms under which qualified contractors may submit their bids to do the project

ROW or R/W      Right-of-Way
The second of three major phases of project development that includes property acquisition and utility relocation. Also refers to the land upon which transportation improvements are located

Section 4f   USDOT Section 4(f)
Section 4f of the USDOT Act identifies significant resources that must be addressed and for which impacts must be mitigated. These include historic properties and publicly owned parks, recreation areas or wildlife and waterfowl refuges.

SOV           Single Occupancy Vehicle
One car, one person (as opposed to HOV, High Occupancy Vehicle)

STPP         Surface Transportation Policy Project
Research and Advocacy resource on transportation issues (

TCC           Transportation Coordinating Committee
The TCC is the technical advisory committee to the Policy Committee – it consists of staff from transportation, planning, and local transit agencies

TDM          Traffic Demand Management
A toolbox of techniques for reducing traffic congestion, from carpooling to HOV lanes to telecommuting

TEA-21      Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
Federal act providing states with funding and guidelines for “enhancements” to transportation, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities (

TIP            Transportation Improvement Program
The TIP is a list of transportation projects using federal funds which is updated annually by GDOT, based on recommendations from the MPO’s – the document lists projects budgeted to take place over the next four years and those projects next in line for the following two years – you may also see references to the STIP (State TIP) as opposed to the MTIP (MPO TIP)
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UPWP        Unified Planning Work Program
The management plan for the (metropolitan) planning program. Its purpose is to coordinate the planning activities of all participants in the transportation planning process.

UZA             Urbanized Area Boundary
Areas with a population of 50,000 or more, at a minimum, encompass an entire urbanized area in a state, as designated by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved, adjusted urbanized area boundaries include the census defined urbanized areas plus transportation centers, shopping centers, major places of employment, satellite communities, and other major trip generators near the edge of the urbanized area, including those expected to be in place shortly. 

VHT           Vehicle Hours Travelled
A measurement of the total hours spent by vehicles in the process of traveling along the roadway network

VMT           Vehicle Miles Travelled
A measurement of the total miles traveled by all vehicles on the roadway network in the area for a specified time period

Other Sources:

GDOT List of Acronyms for Local Governments
US DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics dictionary

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