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Coping With Construction: Resources

Glossary of Useful Terms


Glossary of Useful Terms

Access: An access is a way or means of entering or leaving a location.

Arterials: Designated "principal" or "minor," these roadways may run for many miles across the city and county. Posted speed limits are generally in the middle ranges, 35 to 45 miles per hour, with access provided at grade. Traffic signals are often used to regulate the flow of vehicles along arterials. Access is managed, although movement to adjacent property along arterials is sometimes allowed depending upon the character of the area and the uses being served.

Bid/Let: To bid or let is to offer a price for a construction job. This is a competitive process by which construction companies submit "bids" to the City to construct a project. Bids are awarded to the lowest responsible, responsive bidder that meets the specification requirements. "Let" is a synonym for "Bid."

Capacity: Capacity is the volume of vehicles the road was designed to carry; it can also be applied to transit or bicycle/pedestrian paths.

Capital Improvement Program: This is an annually updated document approved by the City Council that describes the City's transportation, flood control, and park improvements, along with other capital projects and expenditures programmed for the next six years.

Comprehensive Plan: This is a planning document that comprises the city and county's policies and vision for long-term development over a 25-year timeframe. The document establishes a vision for growth while considering land use, social and economic outlooks, transportation, and environmental issues. Updates are usually made every five years and coincide with an extensive public input effort.

Collectors: These streets serve as links between local streets and the arterial system. They provide both access and traffic circulation within residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Moderate to low traffic volumes are characteristic of these streets.

Design: Design is the engineering process that occurs before a project can be built. During the design phase, a project's detailed configuration and construction requirements are determined, and technical specifications, drawings, and cost estimates are produced.

Design Engineer: This is the person or firm responsible for designing a project.

Functional Classifications: These are road classifications that indicate how the roadway is intended to be used and the relative importance of a roadway to the neighborhood, community, and region. Functional classifications include interstate, expressway, arterial, collector, and local street.

Grade: The word grade has three possible definitions: (1) Elevation. "At-grade" means at ground level. (2) To shape or reshape an earth road by means of cutting or filling. (3) A roadway's rate of ascent or descent.

Grade Intersection: This is an intersection where all roadways join or cross at the same level.

Grade Separation: This structure provides for highway, bicycle, or pedestrian traffic to pass over or under another highway or railroad tracks.

Grading: The word grading has two possible definitions: (1) Construction of the earthwork portion of the Highway. (2) Planing or smoothing the surface of various parts of a roadbed.

Level of Service (LOS): Level of Service (LOS): LOS is a qualitative rating of the effectiveness of a roadway in serving traffic, in terms of operating conditions such as traffic flow, using an alphabetical scale from A to F, with A being the best (free flow) and F being the worst (stopped traffic).

Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO): The MPO is a policy-making board made up of representatives from local government and transportation authorities who review transportation issues and develop transportation plans and programs for the metropolitan area. The Lincoln MPO is responsible for developing the Long-Range Transportation Plan, which is covered in the Mobility and Transportation sections of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan.

Local Streets: Local streets typically have a low amount of traffic with a high level of access to the properties along them. An example would be a residential street with a driveway for each of its houses.

Local Traffic: Local traffic is traffic that begins or ends (has an origin or destination) within a specified area.

Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP): An LRTP is a plan developed by the Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization that extends out over a 20-year horizon. The LRTP acts as the official guide for spending federal and state transportation funds expected to be available in Lincoln and Lancaster County. It is integrated into the Lincoln-Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan.

Median: The median is the portion of a divided roadway separating the traveled ways for traffic in opposite directions.

Minor Arterials: This functional class serves trips of moderate length and offers a lower level of mobility than principal arterials. This class interconnects with, and augments, principal arterials; distributes traffic to smaller areas; and contains streets that place some emphasis on land access. These are characterized by moderate to heavy traffic volumes.

Principal Arterial: This is the functional class of street serves the major portion of through-traffic entering and leaving the urban area and is designed to carry the highest traffic volumes. Included in this class are fully controlled access facilities and partially controlled access facilities. For other principal arterials, the concept of service to abutting land is subordinate to serving major traffic movements.

Project Inspector: The site representative for the City, responsible for issuing instructions and drawings to the contractor's representative. This title is also sometimes called the project observer, field representative, or field engineer.

Project Manager: The PM is the person or firm responsible for planning, coordinating, and controlling a project from inception to completion, meeting the project's requirements and ensuring completion on time, within cost, and to required quality standards. Often, there is a City PM and a consultant PM. There may also be design PM and a construction PM.

Right-of-Way (ROW): ROW is the land (usually a strip) acquired for or devoted to roadway or rail transportation purposes.

Traffic Calming: Traffic calming is the measures taken to reduce the negative effects of vehicles, and improve conditions for walking or bicycling. A familiar example is the orange barrels with the warning to stop for pedestrians.

Through-traffic: Through-traffic is traffic that passes through a specified area, without beginning or ending within the area.

Traffic Control Devices: Traffic control devices are signs, signals, markings, and devices used to regulate, warn, or guide traffic.

Traffic Control Plans: These are the overall plans for traffic control during construction. These plans are formulated during the final design phase or during project construction.

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP): The TIP is an intermediate-range planning document that reflects the transportation expenditures programmed over the next five years. Project details are provided in the TIP, such as the general project description and costs, the funding source, and the funding year.

Volume: Volume is the number of vehicles that actually pass through a given mile of road; it can also be applied to transit or bicycle/pedestrian paths.

Volume-to-Capacity (V/C) Ratio: V/C is the ratio of traffic volume (number of vehicles) on the roadway to the roadway's vehicle capacity; it is used to calculate level of service.

Superintendent: The superintendent is a representative of the contractor who is responsible for executing a construction project.

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Coping With Construction: Resources