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Access, Accessibility
The opportunity to reach a given end use within a certain time frame, or without being impeded by physical, social or economic barriers. Typically, accessibility is the extent to which transportation improvements make connections between geographic areas or portions of the region that were not previously well connected.

Refers to both horizontal and vertical placement of the tracks within the corridor. The horizontal alignment refers to the location of the railroad as described by curves and
tangents. The vertical alignment refers to the vertical orientation of the rail. (i.e. below grade, at grade or above grade).

Generally, one of a set of transportation proposals under comparative study.

Average Daily Traffic (ADT)
The average number of vehicles passing a fixed point in a 24-hour time frame. A way to measure traffic volume.

Base Year
The lead off year of data used in a study, usually the current year or a year with the most recent comprehensive data.

Bi-Directional Facility
A preferential facility in which two-way traffic flow is provided for during at least a portion of the day.

Bus Rapid Transit

Build/No Build
As defined by the federal transportation legislation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) must demonstrate that “building” or implementing a long range plan (LRP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TlP) will provide more emissions reduction (improve air quality) than by “not building” or not implementing that same long range plan and TIP.

Usually the maximum number of vehicles and/or people that can be carried past a point on a transportation system in a specified time, at a specified level of service (LOS).

Change of Mode
The transfer from one type of transportation vehicle to another.

Canadian National Railroad

Commuter Rail
A passenger railroad service that operates within a metropolitan region on trackage that is usually part of the general railroad system. The service is intended for longer-distance passengers (usually commuters), and is usually operated at faster speeds, greater headways, and with greater distances between stops than is applied to intraurban fixed guide way systems.

The process to assess the compliance of any transportation plan, program, or project with air quality control plans. The conformity process is defined by the Clean Air Act and related amendments.

Congestion Management System (CMS)
A plan developed by a Transportation Management Area (TMA) that provides for effective management of new and existing transportation facilities through the use of travel demand reduction and operational management strategies.

A broad geographical area that defines general directional flow of traffic. It may encompass a mix of streets, highways, and transit alignments. 

Cost-Benefit Analysis
An analytical technique that compares the societal costs and benefits (measured in monetary terms) of proposed programs or policy actions. Identified losses and gains experienced by society are included, and the net benefits created by an action are calculated. Alternative actions are compared to allow selection of one or more that yield the greatest net benefits or benefit-cost ratio (TRB, Urban Public Transportation Glossary, 1989).

Department of Transportation (DOT)
State agency responsible for administering federal and state highway funds.

Design Concept
In a major investment study, the type of facility (i.e. freeway, arterial, local road, etc.) being considered. Also see scope.

Desire Line
A straight line on a map joining the origin and destination. Desire lines are normally plotted with widths proportional to the trip volumes.

EJ & E
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Report which evaluates the economic, social, and environmental effects of a proposed major transportation project for which federal funding is being sought. Impacts could include air, water, or noise pollution; natural resources; employment effects; displacement of people or businesses; or community or regional growth impacts.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA is the federal source agency of air quality control regulations affecting transportation.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation that funds highway planning and programs.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
Formerly the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. FTA is responsible for administering all federal-aid public transportation programs.

Growth Dimensions

Growth Dimensions serves as a private/public organization for 27 years focusing on providing a progressive and cooperative environment which improves the quality of life by fostering economic opportunity and personal growth for Belvidere-Boone County.

Home Based Work Trip
A trip to or from home for the purpose of one’s employment.

Illinois Central Railroad

Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad

A term connoting the physical underpinnings of society at large, including, but not limited to, roads, bridges, transit, water and waste systems, public housing, sidewalks, utility installations, parks, public buildings and communications networks.

Intergovernmental Agreement
An agreement between two jurisdictions to meet the needs of common implementation of a park-and-ride lot or other cross-jurisdictional service. For example, a state department of transportation may form an intergovernmental agreement with a transit agency to provide right-of-way within a freeway corridor for use as a park-and ride facility as long as the transit agency assumes the liability of operations and maintenance.

Interstate System
The system of highways that connects the principal metropolitan areas, cities, and industrial centers of the United States. The Interstate System also connects the U.S. to internationally significant routes in Mexico and Canada. The routes of the Interstate System are selected jointly by the state department of transportation for each state and the adjoining states, subject to the approval of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Kiss-and-Ride (Drop-and-Ride)
An access mode to transit whereby passengers (usually commuters) are driven to a transit stop and left to board the vehicle, then met after their return trip.

That portion of a commute trip that is express (nonstop) between two points.

Land Use
Refers to how land and the structures (development) on it are used, i.e., commercial, residential, retail, industrial, etc.

Long Range Planning (LRP)
In transportation planning, refers to a time span of more that five years. A long-range plan typically covers a twenty-year time span.

Major Investment
A “high-type highway or transit improvement of substantial cost that is expected to have a significant effect on capacity, traffic, level of service or mode share at the transportation corridor or sub-area scale.”

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, which together represents 75 percent of the affected population or an urbanized area. In the Rockford metropolitan area, the responsible MPO is the Rockford Area Transportation Study (RATS). The MPO is responsible for the LRP and the TIP.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Census Bureau delineation for major metro areas in the U.S. Also includes standard (SMSA) and consolidated metropolitan statistical area (CMSA).

The ability to move or be moved from place to place. Typically, mobility is the ease with which movement can occur between geographic areas or parts of the region.

Mode, Intermodal, Multimodal
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.

A mathematical formula that represents the activity and the interactions within a system so that the system may be evaluated according to various conditions: land use, population, households and employment (socio-economic), transportation, or others.

A graphic and/or mathematical representation of multimodal paths in a transportation system.

National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
Federal standards that set allowable concentrations and exposure limits for various pollutants.

Northern Illinois Commuter Transportation Initiative (NICTI) is a subcommittee of the Rockford Area Transportation Study (RATS), who are leading the Elgin to Rockford Corridor Alternatives Analysis in conjunction with the cities of Rockford and Belvidere, counties of Winnebago and Boone, and the Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD).

Ozone is a colorless gas with a sweet odor. Ozone is not a direct emission from transportation sources but rather a secondary pollutant formed when hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) combine in the presence of sunlight. Ozone is associated with smog or haze conditions. Although ozone in the upper atmosphere protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, ground level ozone produces an unhealthy environment in which to live.

Park-and-ride (P&R)
A lot that provides space in the transit shelter or on the periphery of the lot for small retail businesses; or the co-location of a public service facility (i.e., police precinct or fire station) on the same property as the P&R lot.

Peak Hour
The 60 minute period during which the largest volume of travel is experienced.

Person Trip
A one-way trip made for any purpose, by any (usually vehicular) travel mode, by one person.

Public Authority
A Federal, State, county, town, or township, Indian tribe, municipal or other local government or instrumentality with authority to finance, build, operate, or maintain toll or toll free transportation facilities.

Public Participation
The active and meaningful involvement of the public in the development of transportation plans and improvement programs. Federal transportation legislation regulations require that state departments of transportation and MPOs proactively seek the involvement of all interested parties, including those traditionally under served by the current transportation system.

Public Transit (or Transportation)
Passenger transportation service to the public on a regular basis using vehicles that transport more than one person for compensation, usually but not exclusively over a set route or routes from one fixed point to another. Routes or schedules of this service may be predetermined by the operator or may be determined through a cooperative arrangement.

Public Road
Any road or street under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public authority and open to public traffic.

Rockford Area Transportation Study (RATS)
The City of Rockford is the lead agency for the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). By Federal law, all large, urbanized areas (over 50,000 persons) are required to have an organization that plans and coordinates the decisions regarding the area's transportation systems. All the transportation stakeholders in the area must be participants of this organization and they must agree to cooperate. The MPO for the Rockford Urban area is the Rockford Area Transportation Study  (RATS), and is comprised of the Cities of Rockford, Loves Park and Belvidere; the Counties of Winnebago and Boone; the Village of Machensey Park and the State of Illinois acting through the Illinois Department of Transportation

An entire metropolitan area including designated urban and rural sub-regions.

Rockford Mass Transit District

Right-of-Way (ROW)
Usually that land owned by or under the direct control of a transportation system and on which its vehicles operate.

Regional Transportation Authority

The vehicle or person carrying capacity and control of a proposed facility (i.e. number of lanes or tracks, length of project, signalization, etc.)

Generally refers to passenger service provided to the general public along established routes with fixed or variable schedules at published fares. Related terms include public transit, mass transit, public transportation or paratransit. Transit modes include commuter rail, heavy or light transit, bus, or other vehicles designated for commercial transportation of non-related persons.

Transit Center (or transit station)
A mode transfer facility serving transit buses and
other modes such as automobiles and pedestrians. In the context of this document, transit centers can provide premium park-and-ride services, allowing passengers to connect with a number of transit routes and other services.

Transit, Light Rail (LRT)
An urban railway system characterized by its ability to
operate single cars or short trains in streets or exclusive right-of-way, capable of discharging passengers at track or car floor level (TRB, Public Transportation Glossary, 1989).

Transit, Rail Rapid (RRT)
An urban railway system characterized by high-speed trains
operating exclusive right-of-way without grade crossings and served by platforms at stations (TRB, Public Transportation Glossary, 1989). Also called rapid rail transit.

Transportation (or Travel) Demand Management (TDM)
Strategies and collective efforts designed to achieve reductions in vehicular travel demand. It general, TDM does not require major capital improvements. It includes ridesharing, land use policies, employer-based measures, and pricing/subsidy policies.

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
This is a document prepared by states and MPOs citing projects to be funded under federal transportation programs, typically for a three to five year period. Without TIP inclusion, a project is ineligible for federal funding.

Transportation Management Area (TMA)
Defined in federal transportation legislation 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.

Travel Time
Customarily calculated as the time it takes to travel from “door-to door.” In transportation planning, the measures of travel time include time spent accessing, waiting, and transferring between vehicles as well as time spent traveling.

Union Pacific Railroad

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
The principal direct federal funding and regulating agency for transportation facilities and programs. FHWA and FTA and units of the US DOT.

Urbanized Area
Area that contains a city of 50,000 or more population plus incorporated surrounding areas meeting set size or density criteria.

The smallest geographically designated area for analysis of transportation activity. A zone typically ranges in size from one to 10 square miles. Average zone size depends on total size of study area.

     Rockford to Chicagoland... Making Our Regional Connection

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