A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



See Fee-Simple Acquisition


One of several options to accomplish all or part of the Purpose and Need of the project


A major street, primarily used by through traffic, usually with unlimited access to adjacent streets

At-Grade Crossing

Where two transportation facilities intersect at the same elevation (e.g. highway-rail grade crossing)


Belt Railway Company of Chicago (BRC)

Operates the largest intermediate switching terminal railroad in the United States, allowing it to interchange with every railroad serving the Chicago rail hub


Combined Design Report (CDR)

Final deliverable for projects where the corridor or location is predetermined due to the design of the proposed project; typically includes: existing conditions, major design features, right-of-way requirements, estimate of costs, alternatives analysis, recommended alternative and public involvement documentation

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS)

An interdisciplinary approach that seeks effective, multimodal transportation solutions by working with stakeholders to develop, build and maintain cost-effective transportation facilities which fit into and reflect the project’s scenic, economic, historic, and natural surroundings—its “context”

Community Advisory Group (CAG)

Generally consists of community leaders, residents and organizations that represent the views of constituencies within and adjacent to the project study area with responsibilities that include providing input to the study process and consensus at key project milestones

Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)

Administers all aspects of Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports

Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program

A public-private partnership to implement 70 transportation projects, at an estimated cost of $3 billion, aimed at reducing rail and motorist congestion, improving passenger rail service, enhancing public safety, promoting economic development, creating jobs, improving air quality and reducing energy use in the Chicagoland area


Design Approval

Final endorsement of study documents and findings by IDOT


Environmental Assessment (EA)

A concise NEPA document that meets the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) minimum requirements and describes the Purpose and Need for the project, alternatives under consideration and an assessment of potential environmental impacts

Environmental Impacts

The collective effects of an alternative on air, land, water, wildlife, humans or any other component of the environment

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Required by NEPA for projects that may have significant environmental impacts and is the document that assures that planners, engineers and environmental scientists have studied appropriate alternatives and that citizens are fully aware of the environmental, social, cultural and economic effects of all alternatives


Feasibility Study

Typically prepared to assess whether or not a proposed improvement warrants further study or additional funding for Phase I engineering costs

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

A division of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) responsible for providing financial resources and technical assistance to state and local governments for constructing, preserving and improving the National Highway System (NHS)

Fee-Simple Acquisition (FSA)

Purchase of all rights and interest in a piece of land by IDOT

Freight and Passenger Rail Facilities

Freight rail facilities include track, structures, signals, yards and other related facilities; passenger rail facilities are the same but also include stations, park and ride facilities and related amenities

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

Issued when environmental analysis and interagency review during the Environmental Assessment process finds a project to have no significant environmental impacts


Grade Separation

Where one roadway or railroad passes over another at a different elevation, instead of an at-grade crossing


Highway-Rail Grade Crossing

An at-grade crossing of a highway and rail line


Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)

State government agency responsible for administering funding, planning, designing, building and maintaining state-supported transportation infrastructure, including highways, transit, rail and airports


A term connoting the physical underpinnings of society at large, including, but not limited to, roads, bridges, transit, water and waste systems, public housing, sidewalks, utility installations, parks, public buildings and communications networks


General area where two or more roadways join or cross, includes the roadway and roadside facilities used for traffic movements




Location Drainage Study (LDS)

Investigation of existing drainage patterns and identification of the general type, size and location (including right-of-way requirements) of all drainage facilities needed to accommodate local conditions and design requirements


Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21)

The latest Federal highway bill which will modernize and reform our current transportation system to help create jobs, accelerate economic recovery and build the foundation for long-term prosperity;  MAP-21 focuses the highway program on key outcomes, such as reducing fatalities, improving bridges, fixing roads and reducing congestion, in order to ensure that taxpayers are receiving the most from their money


National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Federal law governing the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Environmental Assessments or Categorical Exclusions

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)

Federal law requiring federal agencies to act as responsible stewards of our nation’s resources when their actions affect historic properties



Peak Hour

60-minute period during which the largest volume of travel is experienced; further classified as weekday A.M. peak hour, weekday P.M. peak hour or weekend peak hour

Permanent Easement (PE)

IDOT acquires perpetual use of the property to construct or maintain facilities such as underground drainage pipes, but ownership is retained by the original property owner

Phase I Study

First part of any engineering study that identifies the Purpose and Need, alternatives, environmental impacts and a preferred alternative for final design (Phase II) and construction (Phase III) with help from stakeholder input

Preliminary Engineering

First stage in project development characterized by design and project planners conducting early project-level planning and developing an overall design concept

Problem Statement

Generally describes a particular situation in which an expected level of performance is not being achieved and will list one or more important factors causing or contributing to the unacceptable performance

Public Hearing

A presentation by project representatives of the project’s Purpose and Need, alternatives, environmental impacts, acquisition process and IDOT’s procedures for receiving both oral and written inputs from the public

Public Meeting

An opportunity for the public to learn about the project, speak with project representatives and provide input

Purpose and Need

Incorporates detailed technical analysis and public involvement findings to date to define the purpose of the project and the need for the improvements



Right-of-Way (ROW)

Strips of land over which facilities such as highways, railroads and power lines are built

Runway Protection Zone (RPZ)

An area off the runway end used to enhance the protection of people and property on the ground


Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

Federal transportation law enacted in 2005 that guides and funds the various programs that affect the nation’s transportation system; replaced by MAP-21


Any person who may potentially be affected by a project and has a stake in its outcome; includes elected officials, property owners, business owners, special interest groups and motorists who travel through the study area

Stakeholder Involvement Plan (SIP)

A blueprint for defining methods and tools to educate and engage all stakeholders in the decision-making process for a project; Provides the framework for achieving consensus and communicating the decision-making process between the general public, public agencies and governmental officials to identify transportation solutions for the project


Temporary Easement (TE)

IDOT acquires use of the property for a defined length of time to construct improvements, but ownership is retained by the original property owner