USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

I - Glossary

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I - Glossary

British thermal unit (Btu): The amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit (F) at or near 39.2 degrees F and 1 atmosphere of pressure.

Certificated airport: An airport holding an operating certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 14, Chapter 1, Part 139 allowing it to serve scheduled or unscheduled air carrier aircraft designed for more than 30 passengers.

Commuter rail: Urban passenger train service for short-distance travel between a central city and adjacent suburb. Does not include rapid rail transit or light rail transit service.

Container: A box-like device used to store, protect, and handle a number of packages or items as a unit of transit that can be interchanged between trucks, trains, and ships without rehandling the contents.

Controlled right-of-way: Lanes restricted for at least a portion of the day for use by transit vehicles and other high occupancy vehicles (HOVs).

Demand responsive: Transit service provided without a fixed route and without a fixed schedule that operates in response to calls from passengers or their agents to the transit operator or dispatcher. Service is usually provided using cars, vans, or buses with fewer than 25 seats.

Directional route-miles: The mileage in each direction over which public transportation vehicles travel while in revenue service. Directional route-miles are a measure of the facility or roadway, not the service carried on the facility such as the number of routes or vehicle-miles. Directional route-miles are computed with regard to direction of service, but without regard to the number of traffic lanes or rail tracks existing in the right-of-way.

Dry-bulk carrier (water): A ship with specialized holds for carrying dry cargo such as coal, grain, and iron ore in unpackaged bulk form.

Enplanements: The total number of revenue passengers boarding aircraft.

Exclusive right-of-way: Lanes reserved at all times for transit use and other high occupancy vehicles (HOVs).

Ferryboat (transit): Vessels that carry passengers and/or vehicles over a body of water. Generally steam or diesel-powered, ferryboats may also be hovercraft, hydrofoil, and other high-speed vessels. The vessel is limited in its use to the carriage of deck passengers or vehicles or both, operates on a short run on a frequent schedule between two points over the most direct water routes other than in ocean or coastwise service, and is offered as a public service of a type normally attributed to a bridge or tunnel.

Full container ship: Ships equipped with permanent container cells, with little or no space for other types of cargo.

Heavy rail: An electric railway with the capacity to transport a heavy volume of passenger traffic and characterized by exclusive rights-of-way, multi-car trains, high speed, rapid acceleration, sophisticated signaling, and high-platform loading. Also known as subway, elevated (railway), or metropolitan railway (metro).

Light rail: 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.

Major arterial highway: A major highway used primarily for through traffic.

Metric ton: 1,814 pounds (2,000 pounds multiplied by 0.907).

Minor arterial: In rural areas, roads linking cities and larger towns. In urban areas, roads distributing trips to small geographic area but not penetrating identifiable neighborhoods.

Minor collector highway: In rural areas, routes that serve intracounty rather than statewide travel. In urban areas, streets that provide direct access to neighborhoods and arterials.

Mixed right-of-way: Lanes used for general automobile traffic.

Motor bus: A rubber-tired, self-propelled, manually steered bus with fuel supply onboard the vehicle. Motor bus types include intercity, school, and transit.

Natural gas distribution pipeline: Smaller than transmission pipelines and maintained by companies that distribute natural gas locally (intrastate). Distribution pipeline systems are analogous to networks of lesser roads and residential streets that people travel after getting off the freeway.

Natural gas transmission pipeline: Analogous to a major freeway, it is the main interstate transportation route for moving large amounts of natural gas from the source of production to points of distribution. Transmission pipelines are designed to move large amounts of natural gas from areas where the gas is extracted and stored to the local distribution companies that provide natural gas to homes and businesses.

Principal arterial highway: Major streets or highways, many of multilane or freeway design, serving high-volume traffic corridor movements that connect major generators of travel.

Short ton: 2,000 pounds.

Tanker: An oceangoing ship designed to haul liquid bulk cargo in world trade.

Ton-mile: The movement of one ton of cargo the distance of one statute mile.

Trackage rights: The authority of one railroad to use the tracks of another railroad for a fee.

Trolley bus: Rubber-tired, electric transit vehicle, manually steered and propelled by a motor drawing current, normally through overhead wires, from a central power source.

Unlinked passenger trips: The number of passengers who board public transportation vehicles. A passenger is counted each time he or she boards a vehicle even if on the same journey from origin to destination.

Vanpool: Public-sponsored commuter service operating under prearranged schedules for previously formed groups of riders in 8- to 18-seat vehicles. Drivers are also commuters who receive little or no compensation besides the free ride.

Vehicle-miles traveled (highway): Miles of travel by all types of motor vehicles as determined by the states on the basis of actual traffic counts and established estimating procedures.