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Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) Federal law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities.  The legislation requires public entities and public accommodations to provide accessible accommodations for people with disabilities.
AM Peak Period The time period in the morning when the greatest demand for transportation occurs. The AM Peak Period is typically from approximately 7:00 AM to approximately 9:00 AM. The "peak hour" falls within the peak period.


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CEQ Council on Environmental Quality coordinates Federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives. CEQ was established within the Executive Office of the President as part of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)
Commuter Rail A transit mode that is an electric or diesel propelled railway for urban passenger train service typically operating between a central city and adjacent suburbs.


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Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) A transit rail vehicle powered by one or more on-board diesel engines.


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EIS Environmental Impact Statement is a document required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for certain actions "significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." An EIS is a tool for decision making that quantifies a broad range of impacts - from environmental to economic to transportation - resulting from implementation of the proposed action, and it usually lists one or more alternatives that may be chosen. For passenger rail projects, a Tier 1 EIS focuses on broad corridor and service level issues, while a Tier 2 EIS focuses on the details of a specific project or action.
Environmental Justice Environmental Justice refers to the fair treatment of minority and low-income populations in environmental decision-making. Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, February 11, 1994 requires all federal agencies to ensure that their programs, policies, and activities do not result in disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental impacts on minority and low-income populations.


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FRA Federal Railroad Administration is the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that administers financial assistance programs and regulates the operation and safety of freight and passenger rail throughout the United States.


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HSR High Speed Rail is a type of intercity passenger rail service that generally operates in excess of 110 mph, and in Europe and Asia, at speeds as high as 220 mph. Amtrak's Acela HSR service can reach speeds of 150 mph.
HSIPR High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail is a federal program that is designed to fund strategic investments in passenger rail corridors that connect communities across the country.


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Interlocking An arrangement of signal apparatus and track structures that enable a train to safely move from one track to another, and  prevent conflicting train movements on the impacted tracks.


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Maglev A method of propulsion that uses magnetic levitation to propel vehicles with magnets rather than using a locomotive.
Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Metropolitan Planning Organization is a federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organization for a metropolitan area that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities
Mode Refers to a means of transportation (auto, bus, rail, air, pedestrian, bicycle, etc.).


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National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is the Federal legislation that established national policies and goals for the protection of the environment.  It requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of major federal projects or decisions, to share information with the public, to identify and assess reasonable alternatives, to identify appropriate measures to mitigate potential impacts, and to coordinate efforts with other planning and environmental reviews taking place. This process often involves the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment.
NEC (Northeast Corridor) The Northeast Corridor is the existing rail transportation spine of the Northeast region, anchored by Washington Union Station in the south, Pennsylvania Station New York in the center, and Boston South Station in the north. Amtrak, commuter rail agencies, and freight rail operators currently use the NEC to transport people and goods.
NOI Notice of Intent is a formal notice published in the Federal Register by the federal lead agency stating that an environmental impact statement will be prepared for a proposed project.


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One-seat ride Travel from one destination to another that does not require a transfer to another train.


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PM Peak Period The time period in the afternoon or evening when the greatest demand for transportation occurs. The PM Peak Period is typically from approximately 4:00 PM to approximately 6:00 PM. The "peak hour" falls within the peak period.
Positive train control (PTC) A combination of fixed and in-cab signal technology that monitor and enforce train movements along tracks and, if required, can override driver/engineer control to ensure compliance with signal rules regarding train speed and stopping.
PRIIA Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act (PRIIA) of 2008 reauthorized federal funding for intercity passenger rail (through Amtrak), and established several new programs to fund the planning and implementation of passenger rail and high-speed rail in designated corridors around the country. It also authorized creation of the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission to develop recommendations for future investment in the Northeast Corridor and to assist Amtrak and the Northeast Corridor states in developing a new model for allocating the costs of rail operations on the Northeast Corridor.
PRCIP Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan - a PRCIP is an effort managed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to define and plan for upgrades to passenger rail corridors. Completion of a PRCIP is a precondition of further Federal investment in engineering and construction of the recommended improvements. A PRCIP consists of two key activities: preparation of a Service Development Plan (SDP), which is focused on passenger rail service planning and alternatives analysis; and preparation of an environmental analysis of the alternatives conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related laws and regulations. The outcome of the PRCIP is an alternative or set of alternatives that best and most reasonably addresses the underlying transportation challenge.
Purpose and Need A statement of Purpose and Need is the fundamental starting point of a transportation planning effort, and provides, at a minimum, a description of the transportation challenges and opportunities faced in the markets to be served by the proposed service, based on current and forecasted travel demand and capacity conditions. The Purpose and Need is required as part of a NEPA environmental review.


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ROD Record of Decision is a document issued by a federal agency following completion of an Environmental Impact Statement describing a decision and the agency's compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
ROW Right Of Way is a legal right of passage over a defined area of real property. In transit usage, the corridor along a roadway or railway alignment that is controlled by a transit or transportation agency/authority


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SDP Service Development Plan is a detailed plan for proposed intercity passenger rail service. The SDP defines the purpose and need for service improvements, analyzes alternatives, defines the proposed improvements, and evaluates the operational, network and financial impacts of the proposed changes.
Spine An existing and operational rail corridor.  For NEC FUTURE, the NEC Spine is the existing rail corridor between Washington DC and Boston MA.
State of Good Repair The condition in which existing physical assets, individually and as a system, a) are functioning as designed within their expected useful lives; and b) are sustained through regular maintenance and normalized replacement programs.


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Tier 1 EIS
A Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement reviews the broad corridor-wide impacts of a proposed transportation improvement. Also known as a programmatic environmental review, a Tier 1 EIS addresses likely environmental effects in the entire corridor relating to the type of service(s) being proposed, including alternative cities served, geographical route alternatives, service levels and frequencies, and choice of operating technologies.


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Vision A creative plan for the future focusing on goals established by a group. In transportation, a vision looks beyond immediate transportation solutions and plans the framework and methods for attaining future transportation goals.