Study Glossary

Terms used throughout the Virginia Transit Equity and Modernization Study


The number of passengers getting off a transit vehicle for a given stop or route; the opposite of boardings.


Refers to the extent of one’s ability to reach goods, services, jobs, and activities using transit.


Features of a bus stop including a shelter, bench, and distinguishable transit sign.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This civil rights law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in different areas of public life, including transportation. The law ensures that those with disabilities have the same opportunities as abled persons.

Bike and pedestrian accommodations

Amenities implemented to accommodate bike and pedestrian use such as bike lanes, pedestrian crosswalks, and pedestrian heads and signals.


The number of passengers getting on a transit vehicle for a given stop or route; the opposite of alightings.

Bus stop

A place where passengers have the ability to board or alight from the bus, usually identified by a sign.

Demand response

A type of transit service in which individual passengers contact an agency and request transportation from a specific location to another specific location at a certain time. Demand response service does not follow a fixed route but travels throughout the community transporting passengers according to their specific requests.


To treat every person exactly the same.


Shared and just distribution of benefits and burdens when planning and delivering transit service.

Equity emphasis areas (EEAs)

Designated areas within the Commonwealth identified as having a need for transit access based on income, age, disability status, racial minority status, Hispanic or Latino origin, and limited English proficiency, population density and existing transit service provided to the area.

Fixed route

Transit service where vehicles run on a regular, scheduled route with specific stops and no deviation.


The basic physical systems of a transit service such as roads and bus stops.


To treat all people fairly and free of opportunity barriers by systemic design.


Smaller, flexible transportation services that generate routes dynamically based on based on trip requests in real-time.


Creating and utilizing innovative best practices related to transit planning, operations, and user experience.


The ability to utilize and leverage at least two transportation modes to complete a trip.


A flexible and scheduled service where smaller, low-capacity vehicles bridge critical gaps for those who are unable to utilize mass-transit services, frequently serving the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Rider advocacy council (RAC)

An organization of riders of a specific transit system that advocate for service that is frequent, reliable, safe, and fair for riders in a specific geographic locality.


Those who utilize transit systems as a mode of transportation.


Freedom from harm resulting from unintentional acts or circumstances.


A dedicated transit facility designed to accommodate multiple vehicles where several routes converge to permit transfer between routes.

System engagement

Public outreach and engagement efforts made by transit agencies to riders and populations within their service area.  

Title VI

A title of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that ensures that no person in the United States will be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The transportation planning regulations, issued in October 1993, require that metropolitan transportation planning processes be consistent with Title VI.

Transit agency

An entity that oversees and manages a transit system.

Transit electrification

The process of replacing transit buses that use fossil fuels (diesel, gasoline, and natural gas) with zero-emission buses that use electric-drive propulsion systems.

Transit operator

The individual who drives transit vehicles and/or manages day-to-day transit service.

Transit-disadvantaged community

A community that has historically experienced barriers to accessible transit service.


Populations who historically have not been included in decision-making processes.


Populations who currently have limited access to transit service.

Vulnerable Populations Index (VPI)

Census Block Groups with a need for transit access based on income, age, disability status, racial minority status, Hispanic or Latino origin, and limited English proficiency; population density, and existing transit service

Zero emissions bus (ZEBs)

A vehicle that releases no tailpipe emissions from the onboard source of power.

Zero fare

Transit served that is funded fully by other means than riders.