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Transportation Acronyms

Transportation planners and engineers have a wide variety of acronyms that they use in technical speech and documents. The following list is not exhaustive, but should be a helpful resource to those who have a question about the meaning of a particular acronym.

AADT – Annual Average Daily Traffic (the average daily traffic on a given road segment in a given year)
AASHTO – American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
AAWDT – Annual Average Weekday Traffic (the average weekday traffic on a given road segment in a given year)
ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act
ADT – Average Daily Traffic (sometimes used in place of ‘AADT’)
APTA – American Public Transit Association
B/C – Benefit/Cost (typically followed by ‘analysis’ or ‘ratio’)
BGMPO – Burlington–Graham Metropolitan Planning Organization
BMP – Best Management Practice
B/P – Bicycle/Pedestrian
BST – Bituminous Surface Treatment (also known as ‘chipseal’)
BTS – Bureau of Transportation Statistics
CADD – Computer Aided Drafting and Design
CAMPO – Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
CBD – Central Business District
C–D – Collector–Distributor Road (separated lanes for merging and weaving within a freeway interchange)
CE – Categorical Exclusion (an exclusion from the environmental analysis process for certain categories of projects)
CEQ – Council on Environmental Quality (federal agency with power to regulate the environmental analysis (NEPA) process)
CFR – Code of Federal Regulations
CMAQ – Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (funding program for projects that mitigate congestion and/or improve air quality in areas designated as ‘nonattainment’ or ‘maintenance’ for air quality)
COE – US Army Corps of Engineers (see also ‘USACE’)
COLTS – County of Lee Transit System
CTN – Chatham Transit Network
CTP – Comprehensive Transportation Plan (long-range multimodal plans developed and adopted cooperatively by NCDOT and local counties/municipalities in RPO areas)
DBE – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
DCHC – Durham–Chapel Hill–Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization
DEIS – Draft Environmental Impact Statement
DENR – North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
EA – Environmental Assessment (a limited environmental analysis performed as part of NEPA to determine whether a full Environmental Impact Statement is necessary)
EEP – NCDOT Ecosystem Enhancement Program
EIS – Environmental Impact Statement (environmental analysis conducted for NEPA ; see also ‘DEIS’ and ‘FEIS’)
EPA – US Environmental Protection Agency
ESC – North Carolina Employment Security Commission
FAA – Federal Aviation Administration
FAMPO – Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
FEIS – Final Environmental Impact Statement
FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
FHWA – Federal Highway Administration
FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FONSI – Finding of No Significant Impact (potential outcome of environmental analysis/NEPA process)
FRA – Federal Railroad Administration
FTA – Federal Transit Administration
FY – Fiscal Year (for TARPO, these run from July 1 to June 30)
GIS – Geographic Information Systems (for computer-based mapping)
HCM – Highway Capacity Manual
HOT – High Occupancy/Toll lanes (lanes for free use by carpools/transit vehicles and tolled use by single-occupancy vehicles)
HOV – High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (lanes reserved for exclusive use by carpools and transit vehicles)
ICC – Interstate Commerce Commission (responsible for regulating railroads)
ILT – North Carolina Interagency Leadership Team (group of leadership representatives from various state and federal regulatory agencies that oversee coordination between these agencies)
ISTEA – Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (federal transportation authorization passed in 1991; has since been superseded – see ‘SAFETEA–LU’)
ITS – Intelligent Transportation Systems
KTRPO – Kerr–Tar Rural Planning Organization
LOS – Level of Service (method of grading service provided by a specific transportation facility)
LRRPO – Lumber River Rural Planning Organization
LRTP – Long Range Transportation Plan (long-range cost-constrained plans developed and adopted by MPOs; RPOs do not currently develop LRTPs)
MBE – Minority Business Enterprise
MCRPO – Mid–Carolina Rural Planning Organization
MCTC – Moore County Transportation Committee
MCTS – Moore County Transit System
MOU – Memorandum of Understanding
MPO – Metropolitan Planning Organization (TARPO shares borders with four MPOs: Capital Area (Raleigh), Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Burlington-Graham, and Fayetteville Area)
MTIP – Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (developed by MPOs in coordination with the STIP)
MUTCD – Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
NAAQS – National Ambient Air Quality Standards (used to determine attainment and nonattainment areas)
NADO – National Association of Development Organizations
NCARPO – North Carolina Association of Rural Planning Organizations
NCDOT – North Carolina Department of Transportation
NCHRP – National Cooperative Highway Research Program
NCPTA – North Carolina Public Transit Association
NEPA – National Environmental Policy Act (federal law requiring analysis of environmental impacts of transportation projects)
NHS – National Highway System (a designated set of major roadways of national importance)
NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NPDES – National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
NPS – National Park Service
NTSB – National Transportation Safety Board
O–D – Origin–Destination survey/study/data (information about where traffic is coming from and going to)
O&M – Operations and Maintenance (can refer to transit or highway modes; sometimes shown as ‘M&O’)
OMB – Office of Management and Budget (federal agency)
OPT – Orange Public Transportation
OUT – Orange Unified Transportation board
PDEA – NCDOT Project Development and Environmental Analysis Branch
PE – Preliminary Engineering (including planning, environmental analysis, and design)
PE – Professional Engineer
PTRPO – Piedmont Triad Rural Planning Organization
PWP – Planning Work Program (document showing MPO/RPO budget and tasks/deliverables for given fiscal year)
RFP – Request for Proposals
ROD – Record of Decision (documents decision made at end of EIS process)
ROW – Right-of-Way (sometimes shown as R/W)
RPO – Rural Planning Organization (for example, Triangle Area RPO)
RTAC – Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (policy board for RPO)
RTCC – Rural Technical Coordinating Committee (technical staff committee of RPO)
SAFETEA–LU – Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (current federal transportation authorization law, passed in 2005, replacing TEA–21)
SEIS – Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (used when changes are necessary to a previously approved FEIS)
SEPA – State Environmental Policy Act (similar to NEPA, but part of state law)
SHPO – State Historic Preservation Officer
SOV – Single-occupancy Vehicle
SPOT – NCDOT Strategic Planning Office of Transportation (responsible for coordinating project prioritization process and development of STIP)
STIP – Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (document showing projects planned for funding within next 6-7 years, developed by NCDOT)
STP – Surface Transportation Program (one of the major federal funding programs identified in SAFETEA–LU)
TAC – Transportation Advisory Committee (policy board of MPO or RPO; see also ‘RTAC’)
TARPO – Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization
TCC – Technical Coordinating Committee (technical staff committee of MPO or RPO; see also ‘RTCC’)
TDM – Travel Demand Management (methods to reduce the demand for transportation infrastructure, such as transit, carpooling, teleworking, and flexible work hours)
TEA–21 – Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (federal transportation authorization law passed in 1998; has since been superseded by SAFETEA–LU)
TIP – Transportation Improvement Program (see also ‘STIP’)
TJCOG – Triangle J Council of Governments (host agency for TARPO staff)
TPB – NCDOT Transportation Planning Branch
TRB – Transportation Research Board (a program of the National Academy of Sciences)
TSM – Transportation System Management (or Transportation Supply Management; methods for improving the efficiency and operations of the transportation system, such as signal timing improvements, access management, and ramp metering)
TWLTL – Two-way Left Turn Lane (or Center Turn Lane)
USACE – US Army Corps of Engineers (see also ‘COE’)
USC – United States Code
USDOT – United States Department of Transportation
USFS – United States Forest Service
USFWS – United States Fish and Wildlife Service
VPD – Vehicles per Day (see also ‘AADT’)
WBE – Women’s Business Enterprise
WRC – North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
3–C – Continuing, Cooperative, and Comprehensive planning process (federal requirements for MPO planning processes)
3–R – Highway Resurfacing, Restoration, and Rehabilitation
4–R – Highway Reconstruction, Resurfacing, Restoration, and Rehabilitation

For more information, or to learn about an acronym not listed here, please contact Matt Day at

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