September 29


My friend Bob listened to a conversation between me and another traffic engineer (Bryant Ficek).  He likened the part of our conversation where we were talking about a specific engineering project to the scene in the Godfather where Michael Corleone says "excuse me while we discuss this in Italian" (I am sure I botched Bob's rendition of the movie's quote).  That dovetails nicely with the Roadguy's Blog post at the Star Tribune (Baby, don't forget my number: A county-road conundrum) that laments some of our industry's confusing jargon.

In the spirit of trying to demistify what we do, here is the best I could do in coming up with traffic engineering jargon from A to Z (any candidates for j, k, x, y, or z out there?):

AADT = Annual Average Daily Traffic

BPR = Bureau of Public Roads (precursor to FHWA)

CSAH = County
State Aid Highway

DBE = Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

EAW = Environmental Assessment Worksheet

FHWA = Federal Highway Administration

GIS = Geographic Information Systems

HCM = Highway Capacity
(by Transportation Research Board)

ITE = Institute of Transportation Engineers



LOS = Level of Service (as defined in HCM)

MUTCD = Manual of
Uniform Traffic Control Devices

NCHRP = National
Cooperative Highway Research Program

OSHA = Occupational Safety
and Health Administration

PE = Professional Engineer (licensed by state)

Queue = Length of line of cars waiting at an intersection  

RGU = Responsible Government Unit

SJR = Signal Justification Report

TH = Trunk Highway

US/DOT = United States Department of Transportation

VMT = Vehicle Miles Traveled

WIM = Weigh-in Motion





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    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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