This glossary defines some of the most commonly-used terms and acronyms in transportation planning for the Syracuse region.

Many of the definitions come from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Planning Glossary.

AADT: Average Annual Daily Traffic. The total volume of traffic on a highway segment for one year, divided by the number of days in the year. (FHWA)

AASHTO: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. A nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It represents all five transportation modes: air, highways, public transportation, rail and water. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system. (FHWA) Find more at:

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The legislation defining the responsibilities of and requirements for transportation providers to make transportation accessible to individuals with disabilities. (FHWA) Find more at:

BPCMS: Bridge and Pavement Condition Management Systems. Maintained by the SMTC, the bridge and pavement condition management systems are tools for inventorying condition information for bridges and pavements within our MPA. SMTC produces an annual report that summarizes this information.

BRT: Bus Rapid Transit. A transit system that gives buses some of the advantages of a light rail system such as dedicated bus lanes over all or part of a route, high-quality stops at limited intervals, traffic signal pre-emption, “queue jumpers” at intersections, corridor branding, modern vehicles, and frequent service.

Capital project: A major construction project or acquisition. May apply to all transportation modes, for example: facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, purchasing buses, or maintaining, improving, and constructing roads and bridges.

CNYREDC: Central New York Regional Economic Development Council. One of the 10 regional councils established in 2011 by Governor Andrew Cuomo to “develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions.” Each council is made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. Find more at:

CNYRPDB: Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board. Provides a comprehensive range of services associated with growth and development for communities in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego counties. Find more at:

CNYRTA: Central New York Regional Transportation Authority. Commonly known as “Centro,” the CNYRTA is a state-created public authority that operates public transit services in Onondaga, Oneida, Oswego, and Cayuga counties. Find more at:

Complete streets: Streets that are safe for people of all ages and abilities, balance the needs of different modes (walking, driving, biking, transit), and support local land uses, economies, cultures, and natural environments. (National Complete Streets Coalition) Find more at:

CPC: Capital Projects Committee. An SMTC committee comprised of member agencies and managed by staff that reviews, prioritizes, and recommends to the Planning Committee the projects to be funded with federal transportation dollars in the Transportation Improvement Program.

DPW: Department of Public Works. City of Syracuse department responsible for street maintenance, as well as trash pickup, sewer maintenance, and parks maintenance.

EJ: Environmental Justice. The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of
race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. (EPA) Executive Order 12898, issued by President Clinton in 1994, stated that each federal agency shall make EJ part of their mission. The SMTC periodically evaluates whether capital and planning activities have been disproportionally distributed amongst the EJ target populations in our planning area. Find more at: or view the SMTC’s most recent (2012) EJ report on our web site.

FFY: Federal Fiscal Year. The 12-month period for federal budgets running from October 1 through September 30 of the following calendar year.

FHWA: Federal Highway Administration. Federal agency within the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) that “provides stewardship over the construction, maintenance and preservation of the Nation’s highways, bridges and tunnels. FHWA also conducts research and provides technical assistance to state and local agencies in an effort to improve safety, mobility, and livability, and to encourage innovation.” Find more at:

FTA: Federal Transit Administration. Federal agency “within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) that provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems.”
Find more at:

FY: Fiscal Year. The 12-month period for local and state budgets (including the SMTC) running from April
1 through March 31 of the following calendar year.

GIS: Geographic Information System. 1) Computerized data management system designed to capture, store, retrieve, analyze, and display geographically referenced information. 2) A system of hardware, software, and data for collecting, storing, analyzing, and disseminating information about areas of the Earth. (FHWA)

HOV: High Occupancy Vehicle. A vehicle carrying two or more people. (FHWA)

HTF: Highway Trust Fund. An account established by law to hold Federal highway user taxes that are dedicated for highway and transit related purposes. The HTF has two accounts: the Highway Account, and the Mass Transit Account.

ITS: Intelligent Transportation Systems. The application of advanced technologies to improve the efficiency and safety of transportation systems. (FHWA)

LOS: Level of Service. A standard measurement used by transportation officials which reflects the
relative ease of traffic flow on a scale of A to F, with free-flow being rated

LOS-A and congested conditions rated as LOS-F. (FHWA)

LRT: Light Rail Transit. A streetcar-type vehicle operated on city streets, semi-exclusive rights-of-way, or exclusive rights-of-way. Service may be provided by step-entry vehicles or by level boarding. (FHWA)

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. (FHWA)

LWRP: Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. A program run by the New York State Department of State and open to any village, town, or city located along the State’s coast or a designated inland waterway. A plan created under the LWRP reflects community consensus and provides direction for future development of a community’s waterfront. Find more at:

Mode: A specific form of transportation, such as automobile, subway, bus, rail, or air. (FHWA)

Mode share or mode split: The percentage of a population that utilizes a specific transportation mode to complete a trip.

MPA: Metropolitan Planning Area. The geographic area in which the metropolitan transportation planning process required by 23 U.S.C. 134 and section 8 of the Federal Transit Act (49 U.S.C. app. 1607) must be carried out. (23CFR420) The MPA is the area of interest for an MPO, and the area in which an MPO’s planning and capital funds may be expended. The SMTC’s MPA consists of all of Onondaga County and select neighboring towns in Oswego and Madison counties.

MPO: Metropolitan Planning Organization. 1) 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. 2) Formed in cooperation with the state, develops transportation plans and programs for the metropolitan area. For each urbanized area, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) must be designated by agreement between the Governor and local units of government representing 75% of the affected population (in the metropolitan area), including the central cities or cities as defined by the Bureau of the Census, or in accordance with procedures established by applicable State or local law (23 U.S.C. 134(b)(1)/Federal Transit Act of 1991 Sec. 8(b)(1)). (FHWA) The SMTC is an MPO.

NHS: National Highway System. The system of highways designated and approved in accordance with the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 103b). (23CFR500) The NHS consists of interstates and other key roadways that are important to the nation’s economy, defense, and mobility as determined by U.S. DOT in cooperation with states, local officials, and MPOs.

NYSDEC: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. State department whose mission is “To conserve, improve and protect New York’s natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being.” Find more at:

NYSDOT: New York State Department of Transportation. State department whose mission is “to ensure our customers – those who live, work and travel in New York State — have a safe, efficient, balanced and environmentally sound transportation system.” Find more at:

NYSTA: New York State Thruway Authority. The public authority that operates the 570-mile tolled highway system in New York State. Find more at:

OCDOT: Onondaga County Department of Transportation. County Department that provides managerial engineering and technical expertise for 808 miles of County roads. Find more at:

PIP: Public Involvement Plan. A document created by SMTC that outlines the anticipated public outreach and involvement activities associated with a specific planning study.

Road diet: A project that removes travel lanes from a roadway so that this space can be utilized for other uses or travel modes. Find more at:

RTC: The William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center. Located on the north side of the City of Syracuse, the RTC provides access to Amtrak passenger rail service, intercity bus service, and local Centro bus service.

SAC: Study Advisory Committee. A committee formed of SMTC member agencies and other interested parties that provides technical and procedural guidance for a specific SMTC planning study.

SMTC: Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council. The MPO for the Syracuse region, including Onondaga County and portions of Madison and Oswego counties.

SOCPA: Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency. Joint city-county agency that provides a variety of land use and comprehensive planning services as well as data collection and mapping for municipalities within Onondaga County.

SOV: Single Occupancy Vehicle. A vehicle carrying only one person.

TDM: Transportation Demand Management. Programs designed to reduce demand for transportation through various means, such as the use of transit and of alternative work hours. (FHWA)

TIP: Transportation Improvement Program. Document prepared by a metropolitan planning organization that lists projects to be funded with FHWA/FTA funds for the next one- to three-year period. (FHWA)

TOD: Transit-Oriented Development. An approach to commercial and residential construction that promotes transit ridership, creates a pedestrian-friendly environment, and enhances a neighborhood’s character, typically by creating a mix of land uses within a walkable radius of a transit station/stop.

Transit Hub: The Centro Transit Hub at the corner of Salina Street and Adams Street in downtown Syracuse. All Centro bus routes in the Syracuse area pass, originate at and return to the Hub.

Travel demand model: A computer model that can be used to predict the amount, type, and location of travel that residents will undertake now and in the future, based on inputs such as population and economic forecasts, the geographic dispersion of people and jobs, and a description of the regional transportation system.

TTI: Travel Time Index. The ratio of travel time during peak periods to the time necessary to make the same trip at free-flow speeds, often used as a measure of roadway congestion.

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 planning process. (FHWA) The UPWP lists all of the planning activities, including ongoing activities and individual studies that the MPO will undertake in a year.

V/C: Volume-to-Capacity ratio. A measure of congestion that compares the average traffic volume on a facility to the capacity of that facility.

VMT: Vehicle Miles Traveled. The total number of miles traveled by all vehicles within a defined region (for example, the SMTC MPA or a single town) for a defined period of time (typically a single day or an entire year). VMT may be estimated using a travel demand model or extrapolated from a sample of existing traffic volume counts.