Acceptance: agreement to the terms of an offer.

Accountable Executive: the person who interacts with the board and executive leadership on plans, policies, purchasing decisions and daily operations that impact safety under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Safety Management System model.

ADA complementary paratransit: comparable “origin to destination” transportation service required by the ADA for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route transportation systems.  The U.S. DOT requirements for this service are detailed in 49 CFR Part 37 Subpart F.  The service is required to complement, or supplement, the fixed route service.

Advisory Board: a group of appointed or elected individuals who provide input on how an organization can better serve the community.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: A federal law that prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation (Civil Rights Division of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)).

Automatic vehicle location (AVL): technology that tracks the current geographic location of fleet vehicles.  AVL technology is used to assist in dispatching, maintaining schedules, and reporting vehicle activities. It can be used to see where each of the vehicles are throughout a service area.

Bus driver or operator: a person who safely operates and navigates the bus, collects fares, helps passengers (including those with disabilities), answers questions, performs vehicle inspections, maintains route schedules and trip logs, communicates with dispatchers and traffic controllers, and troubleshoots incidents and emergencies.

Bus operations manager: a manager that supervises drivers, dispatchers and other staff, oversees the operation of operations budget, manages operations staff hiring, retention and discipline, and implements policies.  In smaller systems, the operations manager may also be responsible for managing the transit agency budget.

Capital assets: in the context of transit asset management, refers to vehicles, other equipment, and facilities.

Chief Safety Officer: typically oversees key safety functions and must report directly to the Accountable Executive for all safety concerns under the FTA’s Safety Management System model.

Cognizant Federal Agency: for the purposes of indirect costs, the Federal agency responsible for reviewing, negotiating, and approving an organization’s cost allocation plans or indirect cost proposals.  This is generally whichever federal agency provides the most funding to an organization.

Competitive procurement: formal procurement methods required for purchases that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (48 CFR Subpart 2.1) or the State-specified threshold. Examples include sealed bids and competitive proposals.

Competitive proposals: A competitive procurement process in which proposals are publicly solicited (through a request for proposals), and a contract is awarded, generally, to the responsible offerer whose proposal is the most advantageous when price and other factors are considered.

Coordination: allows service providers to leverage all of the resources in a community to increase mobility for everyone.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act: signed into law on March 27, 2020, the CARES Act provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  FTA provides CARES Act funding to help the nation’s public transportation systems respond to the pandemic.

Customer Service Representative: a person who assists passengers with questions and needs (fare and route information, directions, etc.), refers customers to an appropriate person for additional assistance, and may perform reception duties. 

DBE goal: refers to goal for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation in contracting opportunities.

DBE liaison officer: the individual responsible for the implementation of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

Defensive driving: preventing accidents regardless of conditions or the actions of others.

Demand responsive service: A transit mode comprised of passenger cars, vans or small buses operating in response to calls from passengers or their agents to the transit operator, who then dispatches a vehicle to pick up the passengers and transport them to their destinations [FTA National Transit Database (NTD)].

Demand responsive system: any system of transporting individuals which is not a fixed route system (U.S. Department of Transportation Americans with Disabilities Act regulatory definition). Also commonly referred to as demand response system. As described in the FTA ADA Circular, demand responsive systems encompass a wide variety of service types, including traditional dial-a-ride service, taxi subsidy service, vanpool service, route deviation service, and complementary paratransit.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE): a for-profit small business owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual, certified by a state’s Unified Certification Program.

Dispatcher: staff who coordinate needs of riders with vehicle availability, communicate with passengers, drivers and maintenance staff, ensure buses arrive on time to locations, alert drivers to delays, driving conditions, and traffic pattern changes.

Dispatcher supervisor or manager:  a person who supervises and trains dispatch staff, prepares driving assignments and records of trips.  In smaller organizations, the operations manager may serve as the dispatcher supervisor.

Environmental Justice: established by Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, intended to  avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations; ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process; and prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.

Equal Employment Opportunity: refers to statutes and regulations that prohibit employment discrimination and provide employees and job applicants with protections and remedies against employment discrimination.

Fixed route system: operates along a prescribed route according to a fixed schedule.

FTA Circulars: guidance to provide grantees with direction on program specific issues and statutory requirements.

Governing board: members are elected or appointed to fixed terms and have the authority to give the final opinion on matters concerning the organization.

Head of Agency: the person with final responsibility for all operations, who directs senior staff, leads meetings, represents the agency to all stakeholders, carries out board vision and policies, and ensures that quality and fiscal goals are met. Known in some organizations as the Executive Director or Chief Executive Officer.

Independent Cost Estimate (ICE): the first price/cost analysis required in every procurement process, developed to establish a reasonable price range for the goods or services being procured.

Indirect costs: costs that are shared among all departments or programs in an organization. Also referred to as overhead.

Information accessibility: printed materials must be made available, upon request, in a format that is accessible to the person making the request, such as large print, Braille, sign language interpretation, or electronic files that can be read by screen reading technology. 

Joint procurement: refers to more than one agency collaboratively going through a competitive procurement that addresses the needs of all of the agencies involved. 

Legislation: statutory law.

Lift: on a transit vehicle, a lift is a mechanical platform that raises from the ground to the vehicle so a person using a wheelchair or otherwise not able to climb stairs to board and alight the vehicle. Standards for the vehicle lift are found in 49 CFR Part 38, Section 38.23(b).

Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons: persons for whom English is not their primary language, with limited ability to speak, understand, read or write English.

Local match: funds that are required to cover to part of the cost of grant-funded costs. For FTA grants, referred to as non-federal share and can include state funding.

Maintenance supervisor or manager: a person who supervises and trains maintenance staff, manages work schedules, prioritizes repair projects, reviews completed work, leads staff meetings, and prepares and delivers maintenance reports.

Master Agreement: the official FTA document containing FTA and other cross-cutting federal requirements applicable to the FTA recipient (i.e., the state for Section 5311) and its grant agreement. 

Mechanic: a person who diagnoses and repairs problems with bus equipment, including electrical, hydraulic, engine, mechanical, brake, and/or other specialized systems.

Micro-purchase: a procurement method allowed for purchases that do not exceed the micro-purchase threshold in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (48 CFR Subpart 2.1).

Mission statement - a statement that identifies why an organization exists.

Mobility device: a device that is designed to assist an individual with disabilities with locomotion. Examples include wheelchairs, canes, crutches, and walkers. Also called mobility aid.

Mobility management: an approach to designing and delivering transportation services that starts and ends with the customer. Common components include partnerships between multiple agencies and organizations; a customer-driven, market-based approach that provides customers with a variety of transportation options through individualized trip planning; and one-stop travel information and trip planning centers that provide information on available transportation options and coordinate requests for transportation services.

Multi-year financial plan: a financial plan that allows management to anticipate future year costs and apply for funding accordingly.

National Public Transportation Safety Plan (NPTSP): the plan to improve the safety of all public transportation systems that receive Federal financial assistance under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53. The plan guides the national effort in managing the safety risks and safety hazards within our nation’s public transportation systems. It establishes performance measures to improve the safety of public transportation systems that receive federal financial assistance. FTA released the National Public Transportation Safety Plan in 2017. 

National Transit Database (NTD): FTA database that records the financial, operating and asset condition of transit systems.

Net project cost: For FTA operating grants, net project costs are calculated by subtracting fares from the total project cost.

Non-federal share: non-federal funds that are required to cover to part of the cost of federal grant-funded costs. Commonly referred to as local match.

Nondiscrimination: prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

Offer: a promise, in response to a solicitation, to provide goods or services according to specified terms and conditions in exchange for material compensation.

Office manager: a person who manages agency workflow and schedules, performs bookkeeping, plans events, procures office equipment repair and supplies, and may supervise support staff.

On-time performance: rate of vehicle runs completed as scheduled.

Period of performance: time span during which a grant project’s costs are funded by federal grant funds.

Piggybacking: an assignment of existing contracts rights to purchase supplies, equipment, or services to another agency.

Procurement: making a purchase or awarding a contract.

Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP): PTASP means the documented comprehensive agency safety plan for a transit agency that is required 49 CFR Part 673. FTA released the final rule in July 2018 on the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) requirements for Section 5307-funded urban transit systems.

Ramp: on a transit vehicle, refers to a mechanical platform that slopes from the passenger entrance to the curb or street so that riders using wheelchairs can roll on and off of the vehicle, and riders who are otherwise not able to climb stairs can more easily board and alight the vehicle. Standards for the vehicle ramp are found in 49 CFR Part 38, Section 38.23(c).

Route deviation service:  A system that permits user-initiated deviations from routes or schedules [Section 37.3 of Appendix D to 49 CFR Part 37]. Transit service that operates along established routes that typically have designated stops.  Between these stops, vehicles deviate (depart) from an established route to pick up or drop off riders within a defined off-route service area [FTA ADA Circular, Section 7.5.4].

Safety-sensitive: Under FTA Drug and Alcohol regulations, safety-sensitive functions include operating a revenue service vehicle, including when not in revenue service; operating a nonrevenue service vehicle that requires CDL; controlling dispatch or movement of a revenue service vehicle; maintaining (including repairs, overhaul and rebuilding) a revenue service vehicle or equipment used in revenue service; carrying a firearm for security purposes.

Sealed bids: A competitive procurement process in which bids are publicly solicited through an invitation for bids, and a firm fixed price contract (lump sum or unit price) is awarded to the responsible bidder whose bid, conforming to all the material terms and conditions of the invitation for bids, is lowest in price.

Section 5307: FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Program under the FAST Act.

Section 5310: FTA’s Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program under the FAST Act.

Section 5311: FTA’s Formula Grants for Rural Areas funding program under the FAST Act.

Section 5339: FTA’s Bus and Bus Facilities Program under the FAST Act.

Securement area or station: on a transit bus, a designated location for riders using wheelchairs, equipped with a securement system. Standards for the securement area are found in 49 CFR Part 38, Section 38.23(d).

Securement device, equipment or system: on a transit bus, equipment that is used to secure a wheelchair against uncontrolled movement during transport.  Standards for securement equipment are found in 49 CFR Part 38, Section 38.23(d).

Service animal: any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing animal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items (U.S. Department of Transportation definition; U.S. Department of Justice has a different definition).

Service availability: a general measure of the distribution of routes within a transit provider’s service area, such as the percentage of all residents in the service area are within walking distance to a route, or the maximum distance between stops.

Small purchase: a procurement method allowed for purchases that do not exceed the simplified acquisition threshold in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (48 CFR Subpart 2.1).

Sole source: a noncompetitive procurement method used when supplies or services are available from only one source.

Solicitation: a purchasing entity's request for offers, including a telephone request for price quotations, an invitation for bids, or a request for proposals.

Spare ratio: the total number of spare vehicles available for fixed-route service divided by the total number of fixed-route vehicles required for peak service, typically expressed as a percentage.

State of good repair: the condition in which a capital asset is able to operate at a full level of performance.

State management plan: a document that describes the state’s policies and procedures in administering an FTA grant funded program, including the state’s objectives, policies, procedures, and administrative requirements.   

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) - a statewide prioritized listing/program of transportation projects covering a period of four years that is consistent with the long-range statewide transportation plan, metropolitan transportation plans, and metropolitan area Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs)

Strategic planning: a deliberative, disciplined effort to produce decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it.  It is commonly used by private and public entities to actively guide future activities and direction, rather than simply having to react to what may occur.

Subrecipient: recipient of FTA funding that is award by FTA to the state or other direct recipient, who then awards the funds to other entities.  For the Section 5311 program, eligible subrecipients include local governments, tribes, transit authorities, and private nonprofit organizations that provide rural public transportation.

Super Circular: 2 CFR Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations that apply to federal grants and agreements.

Title VI: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Transit amenities: include items of comfort, convenience, and safety that are available to the general riding public, such as benches, shelters, signage, and trash receptacles.

Transit development plan: short-range plan that reviews and updates a transit agency's goals, evaluates the existing conditions and needs, and identifies ways to meet near-term and long-term needs and goals.

Transportation advisory committee: formally appointed group that typically advise local elected officials on transportation needs within the community. Committee members speak on behalf of their stakeholder groups to give feedback as to whether the transit system is providing appropriate service for the community.

Transportation manager or director: a person who is responsible for fleet operations, provides oversight and management on transportation initiatives, coordinates agency activities and functions, manages budgets, hires, trains, supervises, and schedules transportation staff.

Unified Certification Program (UCP): the state-level entity responsible for certifying eligible firms as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).  

Value statement: describes core beliefs and principles that guide an organization.

Vehicle assignment: refers to how vehicles are assigned to routes.

Vehicle headway: a measure of the frequency of fixed route service, typically expressed as the amount of time between two vehicles traveling in the same direction on a given route.

Vehicle load: a measure of the level of crowding on a vehicle, typically expressed as the ratio of passengers to the total number of seats on a vehicle.      

Vision statement: a view of an organization at its future best.                                                                                                   

Wheelchair: a mobility aid belonging to any class of three- or more-wheeled devices, usable indoors or outdoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered.

Updated November 23, 2020