Words/Phrases to Know

Refers to a person’s ability to reach any destination or activity center throughout the region through multiple mobility modes, for example, walking, biking, transit or personal vehicle.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) protects all individuals with disabilities by prohibiting discrimination and ensures equal opportunity in everything from employment to use of public transit.

Refers to a person’s heavy or singular reliance on private automobiles to get to and from destinations. When there are limited transportation options available in a region, then most people will decide to drive private automobiles. Automobile dependency increases traffic congestion and air polluting emissions.

A bus-based public transportation system that uses large, modern buses that can operate in dedicated bus only lanes or in mixed-traffic lanes. BRT buses have a variety of convenient features, including station-level boarding to enhance boarding accessibility, real time bus arrival information, and off-board fare collection. BRT systems have specialized, modern BRT stations where passengers can buy tickets and wait for their specific bus in a comfortable and safe station atmosphere.

Centralina Regional Council, formerly known as Centralina Council of Governments, is the greater Charlotte area council of governments. Centralina is a regional governing body that serves the local governments and the residents of the region by dealing with issues and needs that cross city, town, county and even state boundaries. Tools used to address these issues may include communication, planning, policymaking, coordination, advocacy and technical assistance.

Passenger trains that operate along railroad tracks and offer scheduled regional services often between a central metropolitan hub and the adjacent suburbs.

The CONNECT Beyond region is a diverse region made up of rural counties with small towns, suburban counties with regional cities, and a metropolitan area - the City of Charlotte. This region includes 12 counties across 2 states, encompasses over 5,000 square miles and is home to approximately over 2.6 million residents. The CONNECT Beyond region includes Anson County, Cabarrus County, Cleveland County, Gaston County, Iredell County, Lincoln County, Mecklenburg County, Rowan County, Stanly County, and Union County in North Carolina and the areas of Lancaster County and York County in South Carolina that are within the Rock Hill-Fort Mills Area Transportation Study planning boundaries.

A regional mobility initiative that is being led by the Centralina Regional Council for our 12-county region. CONNECT Beyond will create a bold regional transit vision and develop implementation strategies that will guide the future development of our region’s transit system and services.

a three-year regional visioning and planning process for the 14-county greater Charlotte region that was led by the Centralina Regional Council. CONNECT Our Future developed a Regional Growth Framework to guide future growth and development in our region. CONNECT Our Future identified ten growth priorities for our region and five of these growth priorities were directly related to regional transportation, public transit, and coordinated land-use development. Learn more about CONNECT Our Future by visiting www.connectourfuture.org.

A transit service where passenger trips are generated by calls from passengers or their agents to the transit operator, who then dispatches a vehicle to pick the passengers up and transport them to their destinations. The vehicles do not operate over a fixed route or on a fixed schedule; a vehicle may be dispatched to pick up /drop off several passengers at en route to multiple destinations; and typically have many origins / many destinations, many origins – one destination, one origin – many destinations, or one origin – one destination.

Environmental sustainability is about embracing practices that curb resource consumption and pollution in order to protect our finite and precious natural resources and the natural environment.

To provide for the individual needs of residents based on their unique circumstances, so that all members of a community have fair access to a service or benefit.

Transit services that operate on a regular set schedule and follow a predetermined route making stops at certain assigned bus stops or transit stations. Fixed-route transit services include local buses, bus-rapid transit, light rail, and commuter rail.

Means the ability to bypass traffic and avoid delay by operating in exclusive or semi- exclusive rights of way, faster overall travel speeds due to wide station spacing, frequent service, transit priority street and signal treatments, and premium station and passenger amenities. Speed and schedule reliability are preserved using transit signal priority at at-grade crossings and/or intersections. High levels of passenger infrastructure are provided at transit stations and station communities, including real-time schedule information, ticket machines, special lighting, benches, shelters, bicycle parking, and commercial services. HCT modes include services such as light rail, bus rapid transit, express bus or commuter rail. Source

The Center for Neighborhood Technology developed the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index that provides a more nuanced view of housing affordability within a community and region. While traditional housing affordability measures consider a home affordable if its price is less than 30 percent of a family’s income, the H+T Affordability Index goes a step further considering the transportation cost related to the home’s location, including the cost of commuting and other daily travel needs. Using the H+T Affordability Index, a home is considered affordable if the cost of housing and transportation combined do not exceed 45 percent of a family’s income.

rural communities and suburban areas that are connected to the through a highly efficient, modern regional transit system. Transit-supportive development will help these rural communities and suburban areas become transit villages, which are areas that have a vibrant downtown, mixed-used activity centers, walkable neighborhoods with a variety of housing options, and green space community amenities for the public to enjoy.

Refers to changes in the social position and economic status of a family that occur between one generation (parents) and the next (their children).

The process of regulating how land will be used and what types of developments, such as residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, cultural, and entertainment development can be built in a specific area. Land use planning helps to regulate the allowable density and development styles that are implemented within a community.

A high capacity transit service provided by electric trains running along fixed route tracks.

Mixed-use development incorporates a blend of development use types, such as residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, cultural, entertainment in a specific area. Mixed-use development helps to create pedestrian-friendly areas and livable communities where residents can live, work, shop and play.

Major transit centers that act as main connection points in the total mobility network. A mobility hub is a multimodal public transit station that provide connection between various transportation options. Mobility hubs are located in pedestrian-friendly areas that usually have a variety of mixed-use development including employment, housing, recreation, and shopping. Transit-supportive development typically occurs around mobility hubs, which means that compact, walkable, mixed-use development usually occurs within a ¼ to ½ mile radius of the “mobility hub” public transit station.

Having access to various quality modes of transportation, which allow people to efficiently get to key destinations, such as home, work and entertainment venues. Quality transportation options are convenient, affordable and safe. Mobility is the ability to move about freely and easily.

Multimodal accessibility refers to a person’s ability to reach any destination or activity center throughout the region through multimodal means beyond a single occupancy vehicle and may include modes such as walking, biking, e-scooter, transportation network companies, local bus, light rail, bus rapid transit, and commuter rail.

A public transportation system that includes a variety of transit modes like commuter rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, and local buses. Having a variety of transit modes in a regional public transportation system allows transit providers to best serve a diverse region and meet the needs all different types of transit riders.

The Project Team will conduct a performance analysis for all urban fixed-route transit services in the CONNECT Beyond region. During this analysis, the Project Team will use and evaluate performance metrics such as transit riders per hour, transit riders per mile, cost per transit rider, and miles per passenger trip to see how the performance and productivity of the region’s transit services has changed over the past five years. These performance metrics will also by compared against national benchmarks and transit systems in similar cities.

A community design concept that focuses on creating environments designed to be enjoyed by residents and visitors. Placemaking is about creating places for meaningful community interactions, such as lively public squares or community parks. To truly utilize placemaking principles in community design planning, it is important for communities to have a variety of housing and transportation options.

A three-phase engagement series led by the Centralina Council of Governments that involved local, state, and federal elected officials; local government staff, planners, and transportation professionals; economic development organizations; educational institutions; major employers; and the general public from eight counties to discuss their aspirations, concerns, values, and interests around mobility needs, transportation, and public transit in the region. The insights garnered from the Regional Transit Engagement Series are now being used to inform the CONNECT Beyond Project, which is a planning initiative led by the Centralina Regional Council to develop a regional transit vision for the region.

Residents and visitors in the CONNECT Beyond region will have access to quality public transportation options that will allow them to easily travel anywhere within the region using convenient, affordable and safe public transportation services.

A long-term, collaborative plan that includes a regional transit vision along with implementation strategies that will guide future transportation and transit projects in the CONNECT Beyond region. This regional transit plan is intended to be used by CONNECT Beyond’s regional partners to guide individual planning efforts and capital investment projects.

A system that is made up of multiple modes of public transit (such as local buses, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail or bus rapid transit) that offers transportation services throughout our region. A modern, highly efficient regional transit system allows transit riders to easily access key destinations throughout the region using convenient, affordable and safe public transportation services.

The NC Rural Center classifies rural counties as counties that have “an average population density of 250 people per square mile or less.” The CONNECT Beyond region has four counties that would be considered as rural counties based on these metrics. Those rural counties are Anson County, Cleveland County, Lancaster County and Stanly County. The rural county is the CONNECT Beyond region could be categorized as urban-adjacent rural areas, because of their proximity to suburban and urban areas.

The NC Rural Center classifies suburban counties as counties that have “an average population density between 250 and 750 people per square mile.” The CONNECT Beyond region has seven counties that would be considered as suburban counties based on these metrics. Those suburban counties are Cabarrus County, Gaston County, Iredell County, Lincoln County, Rowan County, Union County, and York County.

The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” For this Project, we are concerned with three areas of sustainability: environmental sustainability, sustainable development and sustainable investments

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Source

Sustainable investments refer to investment that are sustainable for the region’s transit providers, keeping in mind ways to fund the completion but also long term costs to operate new or improved transit systems or services.

A holistic approach that looks at how different transportation options can be combined and work seamlessly together to best meet the mobility needs of our region’s residents and visitors. Each user has different mobility needs and often users combine transportation modes to accomplish a trip. A total mobility network looks at how an individual could use and combine various mobility modes to get to and from key destinations. Using a total mobility network approach, transit planners can examine ways to improve first and last last-mile connections in order to encourage people to use transit services, as well as evaluate what kind of transportation solutions are needed in what areas to best meet the varying mobility needs of our region’s residents and visitors.

Measures a transit rider’s ability to easily use more than one mode of transportation for a single trip. For example, if a regional transit system offers good connectivity, it may be easy for a transit rider to take a short walk from their home to the closest light rail station, then take the light rail to their designated stop. At that designated station, the transit rider may easily board the streetcar and then take the streetcar to a stop that is located one block from the transit rider’s office. This example illustrates good connectivity between different transit services that are part of the larger regional transit system.

A transit planning tool that helps CONNECT Beyond understand the region’s varying transit needs and then plan or refine transit services to match the potential transit demand of a certain area.

Transit-oriented development, which is often called TOD, is about encouraging compact, mixed-use development within a ¼ to ½ mile radius of public transportation stations to create more sustainable, livable, and walkable communities.

A composite of demographic factors that indicate the likelihood that residents in an area will be to use public transit, the factors are minority, low-income, disability those 18 years of age or younger, those 64 years of age or older, and zero auto household car ownership

The number of transit trips taken on public transit.

Transit service performance measures are intended to assess the effectiveness of transit operations in achieving the adopted service provision goals, and help identify whether performance improvement actions taken to enhance performance and productivity are effective.

Transportation choice describes the variety of transportation options, such as driving a private automobile, taking public transit, riding a bike, walking, or using a ride share service, available to residents and visitors within a region. When there are several modes of transportation available within a region, then residents and visitors are more likely to not choose to drive a private automobile, but rather choose to take public transit, walk, bike, or use a ride share service.

Strategies that are implemented to manage travel demand in order to improve mobility and reduce traffic congestion during peak daily travel times. There are various different strategies, but some popular ones include: enhanced pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, encouraging rideshares and carpooling, public information campaigns to promote public transit services, employer pass programs for public transit, flex-time work schedules, and restrictive parking measures. The goal of these strategies is to reduce the number of vehicles, especially single-occupancy vehicles, traveling along key roadways during peak travel times.

The foundational structures and systems that support our transportation system. Transportation infrastructure includes roads, railways, bridges and tunnels, and rail and bus stations and operations and maintenance centers.

A business model that offers prearranged rides or car rentals for a fee, utilizing an online application (app) via a mobile device to connect passengers or automobile renters with drivers/car owners. Examples include Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar. Source

Travel patterns generally describe an individual’s journey in terms of how many trips area taken, where the trips start and end, the mode use to make the trip, and trip purpose.

The NC Rural Center classifies urban counties as counties that have “an average population density that exceeds 750 people per square mile.” The CONNECT Beyond region has one county that would be considered an urban county based on these metrics. That urban county is Mecklenburg County, which includes the metropolitan area of the City of Charlotte.

When growth occurs in a decentralized, spread-out development pattern around a central metropolitan area. Sprawling growth patterns accelerates land use consumption by rapidly converting open space and rural land into suburban and urban development. A recent study by Smart Growth America found that the greater Charlotte region is the fifth most sprawling large metropolitan area with a population of more than one million residents in the United States.

Housing that is affordable to workers and close to their jobs. Housing is considered ‘affordable’ if an individual or family spends no more 30% of their income on housing costs.