Acronym Guide


Continuing, Comprehensive and Cooperative Planning Process


Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment


Code of Federal Regulations.  The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the United States Federal Government.  It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal Regulation:  each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis


Council of Governments--a COG is typically charged with addressing regional issues and opportunities in the regional planning area


Environmental Justice:  services and benefits should allow for meaningful participation and be fairly distributed to avoid discrimination


Environmental Impact Statement.  The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires all federal agencies to prepare an environmental impact statement for proposed major actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment.  The EIS requirement includes the public in the federal agency decision-making process.  Major actions generally are those actions that require substantial planning, timing, resources, or expense.  Federal involvement usually means either funding of a project or required permits.


Federal Highway Administration--a branch of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation that administers the federal-aid Highway Program, providing financial assistance to states to construct and improve highways, urban and rural roads, and bridges.  The FHWA also administers the Federal Lands Highway Program, including survey, design, and construction of forest highway system roads, parkways and park roads, Indian reservation roads, defense access roads, and other Federal lands roads.


Federal Transit Administration--branch of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation that is the principal source of federal financial assistance to America's communities for planning, development, and improvement of public or mass transportation systems.  FTA provides leadership, technical assistance, and financial resources for safe, technologically advanced public transportation to enhance mobility and accessibility, to improve communities and natural environment, and to strengthen the national economy.


Geographic Information System--computerized data management system designed to capture, store, retrieve, analyze, and display geographically referenced information.


High Occupancy Vehicle--vehicles carrying two or more people.  The number that constitutes an HOV for the purposes of HOV highway lanes may be designated differently by various local transportation agencies.


Inter-Modal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991--Legislative initiative by the US Congress that restructured funding for transportation programs; authorized an increased role for regional planning commissions/MPOs in funding decisions; and require comprehensive regional and statewide long-term transportation plans.


Intelligent Transportation System--the application advanced technologies to improve the efficiency and safety of transportation systems


Metropolitan Planning Organization--a regional policy body, required in urbanized areas with populations over 50,000, and designated by local officials and the governor of the state.  Responsible in cooperation with the state and other transportation providers for carrying out the metropolitan transportation planning requirements of federal highway and transit legislation.


Metropolitan Transportation Plan--the official inter-modal transportation plan that is developed and adopted through the MPO process for the metropolitan area, in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 134, 23 U.S.C. 135 and 49 U.S.C. 5303.


National Environmental Policy Act of 1969--established a national environmental policy requiring that any project using federal funds or requiring federal approval, including transportation projects, examine the effects of proposed and alternative choices on the environment prior to a federal decision being made.


Policy Committee--a decision making body, composed of officials from the Metropolitan Planning area, which meet to discuss transportation related topics.


Regional Mobility Authority--RMAs allow counties to take the lead in acquiring, constructing, operating, maintaining, expanding or extending a transportation project.


On August 10, 2005, Pres. George W. Bush signed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act:  A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).  SAFETEA-LU authorizes federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the 5-year period from 2005-2009.  It has since been extend approximately two years and as of today (April 19, 2010) still the current transportation legislative act.


State Transportation Improvement Program--a staged, multi-year, statewide, intermodal program of transportation projects, consistent with the statewide transportation plan and planning processes as well as metropolitan plans, TIPs, and process.


Technical Advisory Committee--a committee of planning staff from various entities in the Metropolitan Planning Area who meet to discuss transportation related topics and to advise the Policy Committee.


Transportation Demand Management--programs designed to reduce demand for transportation through various means, such as the use of transit and of alternative work hours.


Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century--authorized in 1998, TEA-21 authorized federal funding for transportation investment for fiscal years 1998-2003.  Approximately 217 billion in funding was authorized, the largest amount in history to that point, which is used for highway, transit, and other surface transportation programs.


Transportation Equity Act:  A Legacy for Users--the House Transportation and Infrastructure Commitee unveiled its $375bn, six year transportation funding package in November 2003.  If enacted, the act would have made ~$299bn available for highways and ~$69bn available for transit.


Transportation Improvement Program--a document prepared by a metropolitan planning organization that lists projects funded with FHWA/FTA funds for the next one to three fiscal year period.


Transportation Management Area--all urbanized areas over 200,000 population and any other area that requests this designation.


Texas Department of Transportation


Urbanize Area--an area that contains a city of 50,000 or more population plus incorporate surrounding areas meeting size or density criteria as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.


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 planning process.


United States Department of Transportation