Frequently Asked Questions
We have heard a lot of questions about the terminology being used in the Mobility Element. This page was created as a reference to help explain the words and phrases that may sound unfamiliar.
Additional information can be found on our Resources page and in our Street Features Glossary that we released earlier this year during our first round of public meetings.
Accessibility: Accessibility is the ability to reach destinations. While mobility focuses on how you are getting somewhere, accessibility emphasizes where you are going and incorporates land use aspects within transportation planning. Accessibility is the goal of a good transportation system with the end result of increasing the ease of traveling to desired destinations such as jobs, recreation, and other resources.
Active Transportation: consists of pedestrians and bicyclists. Active transportation refers to an interconnected system of pedestrians and bicyclists that are better integrated with and more likely to use public transit.
Alignment: identifies the general location of a current or future roadway.
Bicycle-Enhanced Network (BEN): The proposed BEN is a network of streets that will receive treatments that prioritize bicyclists. This network is a subset of the 2010 Bicycle Plan and will supplement the system.
Bike Boulevard: A roadway that motorists may use, but that prioritizes bicycle traffic through the use of various treatments to slow motorists and enhance the bicycle level of service. Directional signage, bicycle amenities, and other enhancements are most often used together.
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans): State agency responsible for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the State highway system (includes interstate and state highways)
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): CEQA was enacted in 1970 to protect the environment by requiring public agencies to analyze and disclose the potential environmental impacts of proposed land use decisions. Any public or private project with potential adverse effects upon the environment is subject to CEQA and must be reviewed by decision makers and the public. For more information, visit the California Natural Resources Agency page on CEQA Guidelines.
Capacity: Capacity is the measure of a transportation facility’s ability to accommodate a moving stream of people or vehicles in a given period of time.
Complete streets: Also known as living streets, complete streets are designed to be safe and comfortable for road users of all modes, ages, and abilities. This includes: pedestrians, public transit vehicles and riders, bicyclists, and motorists. Read more about complete streets in our blog post.
Complete Streets Networks: A layering of different street networks based on mode of transportation, with each layer  incorporating complete streets principles. The concept of Complete Streets Networks is being utilized in this update of the Mobility Element. Read more about it in our blog post.
Enhanced Complete Street System: Is a network of major streets that facilitate multi-modal mobility within the citywide transportation system. This system consists of four networks: Pedestrian-Enhanced Districts (PEDs), Bicycle-Enhanced Network (BEN), Transit-Enhanced Network (TEN), and the Vehicle-Enhanced Network (VEN). The four proposed networks work together as a layered network of complete streets.
Environmental Impact Report (EIR): An environmental impact report is a document that describes and analyzes the significant environmental effects of a project and discusses ways to mitigate or avoid these effects (California Code of Regulations §15362). An EIR is required under CEQA if an initial study indicates that a proposed project may cause one or more significant effects on the environment.
“First-mile, last-mile” solutions: A term used in transportation planning to illustrate the hurdle of getting people to and from a transportation hub and their final destination. An example of a first/last-mile solution in the city of Los Angeles is the DASH system in Downtown. It connects people from Union Station to their workplace and vice versa on their commutes home. Another solution could be compact, foldable bikes that can easily be brought onto buses, rail, or trains. First and last mile solutions encourage the use of public transport by offering easy ways to connect people to and from their final destinations. See the City’s 2009 “Maximizing Mobility in Los Angeles” for more information about first-mile, last-mile solutions in LA.
General Plan: The policy foundation for all growth and land development in a jurisdiction. The City of Los Angeles General Plan consists of the Framework Element, eight additional elements, and 35 Community Plans forming the Land Use Element. The Mobility Element will replace the City’s 1999 Transportation Element.
Geographic Information System (GIS): A collection of computer hardware, software, and geographic data for capturing, storing, manipulating, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.
Goods movement: The transport of for-sale products from their manufacturing origin to their final destination where they will be sold. Moving goods can involve many different types of transport such as airplanes, cargo ships, trains, and trucks.
Green streets: Streets that incorporate environmentally-friendly design or infrastructure. Examples of green street measures are permeable paving and native plant landscaping, which can both help  conserve water and reduce urban runoff without sacrificing aesthetic quality.
Lead Agency: The primary public agency responsible for managing and carrying out a project. (The City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning is the Lead Agency in the Mobility Element Update project)
Livable neighborhood: The concept that a neighborhood that meets the needs and desires of its residents, businesses, and visitors. Factors impacting livability include safety, affordability, health, access, sustainability, diversity, or businesses. A livable neighborhood is often described as a neighborhood that kids can play safely in or where people enjoy spending time in their local community.
Mitigation Measure: If a proposed project is subject to CEQA, mitgation measures are proposed to eliminate, avoid, rectify, compensate for, or reduce that effect on the environment.
Mobility: Mobility is the ability to move around. It takes into consideration how people are getting from place to place (i.e. walking, biking, bus, auto, etc) and how fast.  In general, improving mobility improves accessibility.
Mode share: Also called mode split, refers to the number or percentage of travelers using a certain mode of transportation.
Multi-modal transportation: Refers to a transportation system that considers various modes or ways of getting around (public transit, walking, biking, car, etc.)
Non-Motorized Transportation: Refers to modes of travel such as walking and biking. (also includes equestrians)
Notice of Preparation (NOP): A Notice of Preparation is a document stating that an EIR will be prepared for a particular project. It is the first step in the EIR process (14 California Code of Regulations §15082). The NOP includes a description of the project, location indicated on an attached map, probable environmental effects of the project.
Pedestrian-Enhanced Districts (PEDs): The proposed PEDs are areas where pedestrian improvements are prioritized relative to other roadway users. These areas may be located near schools, transit stations, areas of high pedestrian activity, areas with high collision frequency, or other placemaking opportunity areas.
Performance metrics: Standards and measurements for performance results. In transportation planning, the most commonly used performance metrics measure vehicle throughput and delay (congestion).
Regional Transportation Plan (RTP): A plan to meet the region’s long-term mobility needs by connecting transportation and land use policy decisions. The RTP is prepared by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), which is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) of this region.
Right of way (ROW): The legally granted access that a roadway or other transportation facility can use. It is important to note that the right of way can extend beyond the asphalt in a street and can also include non-street land such as former railroad lines.
Sensitive receptors: A term from the Environmental Protection Agency that refers to areas with occupants more susceptible to the adverse effects of exposure to toxic chemicals, pesticides, and other pollutants. Sensitive receptors include (but are not limited to) hospitals, schools, daycare facilities, elderly housing and convalescent facilities.
Single-occupancy vehicle: A private car that is being used to transport only one person, the driver.
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG): SCAG is a Joint Powers Authority and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for this region. Their main task is to develop a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Federal Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP) every four years. These documents identify transportation priorities for the region.
Street classifications: Arterial – Major streets that are very wide with multiple lanes; Non Arterial – Local streets that are not very wide. These are the type of streets that usually run through neighborhoods. Learn more about street classifications here.
Streetscape: The visual appearance, physical forms, and character of a street. Examples of streetscape elements include roadways, medians, sidewalks, street furniture, crosswalks, signs, open space, and landscaping, among many other factors. View common street features in our Street Features Glossary.
Transit-Enhanced Network (TEN): The proposed TEN will improve existing and future bus service on arterial streets by prioritizing improvements for transit riders.
Transportation Demand Management (TDM): Strategies that influence long-term travel behavior. The aim of TDM is to improve mobility and decrease negative impacts such as traffic congestion and air pollution. TDM strategies can include: ride-sharing, providing commuter subsidies, promoting walking and biking, and encouraging flexible work schedules.
Transportation System Management (TSM): Strategies that make better use of the existing transportation system by improving signalization, re-striping lanes for turning vehicles, or providing real-time traffic information. TSM strategies aim to increase efficiency and capacity in the short-term.
Vehicle Enhanced Network (VEN): The proposed VEN consists of enhancements, on a select group of streets, to prioritize the efficient movement of motor vehicles.
Walkable neighborhood: A neighborhood in which people can safely and easily walk to a variety of local destinations and resources.