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Acronyms: Learning transportation lingo

Below are links to a pair of documents containing glossaries of the acronyms and phrases used by various transportation agencies.

This first one is a pdf file that is part of the current Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for Santa Cruz County, which is located on the website of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC).

This second one is a page from the website of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC). It has the advantage that many of the acronyms or phrases are linked to sites that provide detailed information relevant to the listed phrase.

So if you'd like to know what “TAMC”, or “STIP” or “RTIP” means, you've come to the right place. Just click on either of the above links. If you want to understand what's going on, it's helpful to learn the language.

A list of related websites, with descriptions

If you have suggestions for additions to this list, please let us know by clicking here.

  • The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC, or simply RTC) is the primary transportation agency for Santa Cruz County. They set priorities for major transportation projects in our county, and pursue funding for those projects. There are twelve members of the Commission: (a) Each of the five County Supervisors; (b) a representative from each of the four incorporated cities in the County; and (c) three representatives from the Transit District. Each commissioner has an alternate who may attend in the commissioner's place. The Commission meets twice per month, usually on the first and third Thursday of each month. Whether you're interested in highways, or rail-related issues, or major projects involving pedestrians and bicycles, here is the place to start. Both commissioners and agency staff are knowledgeable and helpful sources of information. The commission office is in Santa Cruz, at 1523 Pacific Avenue—above the Chefworks.

  • The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) is Monterey County's counterpart to the SCCRTC. Their high-quality website has lots of useful information, well-worth checking out.

  • The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (SCMTD, or METRO) operates and maintains Santa Cruz County's highly used bus system. Visit this site for anything bus-related.

  • Bratton Online is Bruce Bratton's weekly opinion column, where he reports on (and offers opinions on) hot local topics, many of which are transportation-related. Our co-chair Paul Elerick is one of his regular contributors. As Bruce quotes (from Mark Twain, 1894): “It were not best that we should think alike; it is the difference of opinion that makes horse races.” This is where you'll find the news and commentary about the latest controversies.

  • Caltrans is the state agency responsible for highway, bridge, and rail transportation planning, construction and maintenance. This site is for Caltrans District 5, which includes Santa Cruz County.

  • The American Public Transportation Association is a large organization that is a strong advocate for public transportation nation-wide. Their news releases appear regularly. This is a site worth frequent monitoring.

  • The State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) promotes transportation practices that advance environmental sustainability and equitable economic development, while maintaining high standards of governmental efficiency and transparency. Keep an eye on this one—it features short articles, with up-to-date commentary on current thinking.

  • The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is an excellent resource, not only for Rails to Trails, but also Rails with Trails, a topic that relates directly to our plans for the Santa Cruz Branch Line rail corridor. Here is the relevant page of their website.

  • RideSpring is a Santa Cruz based, award-winning web service that facilitates carpooling and transportation modes that avoid the use of the single-occupant automobile. Founded in 2005 by Paul McGrath, it contracts with employers both within the County and elsewhere, and rewards employees for getting to work by means other than the SOV. It currently has contracts with the City of Santa Cruz, the Palo Alto based law firm of Cooley Godward Kronish, the nationwide law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, SAP, the national law firm of Fenwick & West, LLP, and most recently Gap, Inc. in San Francisco. RideSpring promises to be an effective means to reduce our carbon footprint.

  • The Sightline Institute (formerly Northwest Environment Watch) is a not-for-profit research and communication center—a think tank—based in Seattle. It was founded in 1993 by Alan Durning. Sightline's mission is to bring about sustainability—a healthy, lasting prosperity grounded in place. It is reknowned for its “well-documented independent research and cogent, accessible analysis”.

  • Ecology Action, based in Santa Cruz, has been “Achieving community and environmental excellence through partnership and innovation since Earth Day 1970”. It's a large organization, with numerous beneficial projects underway throughout California. They are now located in the former Santa Cruz Sentinel building in downtown Santa Cruz at 877 Cedar Street, a building that has been extensively remodeled to transform it into a state-of-the-art Green Building.

  • The Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club is one of our participating organizations.

  • Mission: Pedestrian, was founded in 1997 by a small group of Mission Street neighbors with the immediate goal of getting Caltrans to restripe Mission Street crosswalks. (They succeeded.) Mission Pedestrian is another of our participating organizations. They now work more broadly to enhance pedestrian-related infrastructure.

  • Friends of the Rail & Trail, yet another of our participating organizations, has worked to accomplish the public acquisition of the 32-mile Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line, and to see that a pedestrian and bicycle trail is constructed adjacent to the tracks.

  • Founded in 1991, People Power is Santa Cruz County's premier bicycle advocacy organization, promoting bicycle use and other modes of human-powered transportation. People Power is another of our participating organizations.