A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | MN | O | P | Q | RSTUV | W | X | Y | Z



  1. Airport Investment Area – A UGPM Area that depicts the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and the surround area.
  2. Agricultural Buffer - Requires that a buffer be provided between new non-agricultural development adjacent to agricultural land.
  3. Agricultural Protection Zoning (also called Agricultural Districts) - Designates areas where agriculture is the preferred land use based on various criteria. Regulations may set large minimum parcel sizes (e.g.> 10 acres), design criteria, and review procedures to ensure compatibility.
  4. Annexation – The incorporation of land area into the jurisdiction of an existing city with a resulting change in the boundaries of that city.
  5. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Federal legislation passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. In addition to other public and private facilities, the act requires all transportation facilities and services must be accessible to individuals with physical handicaps.
  6. Areas – See UGPM Areas.
  7. Arterial – A moderate or high-capacity road or street that allows major traffic movements between major points in an urban area. These roads allow for speeds faster than collector and local streets and accommodate greater volumes of traffic. Arterial roads are immediately below a highway level of service.
  8. Atlanta Fifty Forward – A two-year visioning initiative based on open-house style forums centered around critical topics that impact metro Atlanta now and will continue to impact it for decades.


  1. Brownfield – An area that was previously used for industrial purposes. These usually pose environmental challenges to new developments and must be cleaned up before they can be redeveloped.
  2. BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) – Innovative transit service that mimics rail service. BRT is generally thought of as a fixed guide-way transit concept that operates in an exclusive right of way and loads passengers at stations that are similar to rail stations. The people mover between concourses at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is an early example of the BRT concept.


  1. Charrette – A meeting to resolve a problem or issue. Within a specified time limit, participants work together intensely to reach a resolution.
  2. City Planning – An activity or profession of determining the future physical arrangement and condition of a community, also referred to as town planning or urban planning. It involves an appraisal of the current conditions, a forecast of future requirements, a plan for the fulfillment of these requirements, and proposals for legal, financial, and construction programs to implement the plan.
  3. Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA) – Federal legislation that establishes acceptable levels of certain criteria pollutants. Regional transportation plans and transportation improvement programs must demonstrate conformity to the air quality attainment plan that serves as a blueprint outlining how a region will demonstrate attainment of the air quality standards by a particular year.
  4. Cluster/ Open Space Zoning - Commercial, residential or mixed use development in which a significant portion of the site (e.g. 40% or greater) is set aside as undivided, permanently protected open space, while the buildings (houses, shops, etc) are clustered on the remainder of the property.
  5. Collector – Roads that collect traffic from local streets and connect them to the arterial network. These roads can accommodate more traffic volume at faster speeds than local streets.
  6. Community Activity Centers – A UGPM Place that depicts areas which are smaller than Regional Centers, but serve a similar function operating as destinations for employment, shopping and entertainment.
  7. Community Choices – The Community Choices Program is an Atlanta Regional Commission quality growth initiative that provides cities and counties with tools, technical assistance and resources to help them create communities that best fit their unique visions.
  8. Community Improvement District (CID) – A self-taxing district, established by the appropriate local government but usually managed by a private board, which generates revenue to implement a variety of projects and programs. Roadway improvements and shuttle services are generally the emphasis of CIDs.
  9. Complete Streets – Design and operation of streets that enable safe access for all users of any age or ability, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and transit users.
  10. Complete Communities - Neighborhoods or districts that have interconnected transit and commercial environments with a diversity of housing types, services and amenities.
  11. Comprehensive Plan – a 20-year plan by a county or municipality covering such county or municipality and including three components: a Community Assessment, a Community Participation Program, and a Community Agenda. The comprehensive plan must be prepared pursuant to the local planning requirements for preparation of comprehensive plans and for implementation of comprehensive plans, established by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in accordance with O.C.G.A. 50-8-7.1(b) and 50-8-7.2.
  12. Conformity – A process in which transportation plans and spending programs (i.e. the RTP or TIP) are reviewed to ensure that they are consistent with federal clean air requirements and contribute to attainment of air quality standards.
  13. Congestion Management System – A systematic process for managing congestion by providing information on transportation system performance and finds alternative ways to alleviate congestion and maximize the efficiency of the transportation system.
  14. Conservation Design Development - Developers concentrate homes on a small portion of the developable land, leaving a large part of the site in its natural state. Incorporates greenways and trails throughout the site.
  15. Conservation Easement - Legal agreement a property owner makes to restrict the type and amount of development that may take place on his or her property. A partial interest in the property is transferred to a qualified non-profit, land trust, or governmental entity either by gift or purchase, in exchange for potential tax savings. As ownership changes, the land remains subject to the easement restrictions.
  16. Conservation Lease - Landowners receive regular rent payments and technical assistance for maintaining their property in its natural state.
  17. Conservation Subdivision (also known as Cluster Subdivision) - Residential or mixed-use development in which a significant portion of the site is set aside as undivided, permanently protected open space, with houses clustered on the remainder of the property. The development plans must meet certain criteria specified in the ordinance.
  18. Crossroads Communities – A UGPM Place that depicts central points within large undeveloped areas that have potential to emerge as a growth area for limited non-residential and mixed use development.
    Current Use Valuation of Conservation Use Property (CUVA): A reduction in property taxes through the dedication of land to a qualified use (i.e. agriculture, farming, environmentally critical, etc).
  19. Congestion Management System – A systematic process for managing congestion by providing information on transportation system performance and finds alternative ways to alleviate congestion and maximize the efficiency of the transportation system.


  1. Density – The number of dwellings, buildings, or uses per acre of land.
  2. Developing Suburbs – A UGPM Area that depicts the outer edge of suburban development (generally post-1970s) where conventional suburban development patterns are present, but not set.
  3. Developing Rural – A UGPM Area that depicts the outer edge of the region where little or no development has taken place, but where there is development pressure.
  4. Development of Regional Impact (DRI) – A development project, regardless of the mix of land uses, which is likely to have impacts to the transportation network and environment beyond the limits of the jurisdiction in which it is being constructed.
  5. Downzoning – Reducing the number of homes that can be built per acre per site.


  1. Easements with a Wetland Mitigation Bank - A landowner may offer wetlands on their property to a mitigation bank for protection and/ or restoration.
  2. Entertainment, Recreation and Cultural Districts – A UGPM Place that depicts the major stadiums, concert venues, parks and recreational areas within the region.
  3. Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – Documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 whenever federal funds are used on transportation project. The purpose of an EIS is to review and study all impacts the project will have on its surroundings. The EIS must also identify mitigation strategies for the generated impacts. For lower impact projects, an Environment Assessment (EA), which is a less detailed environmental document, may be required instead.
  4. Environmental Justice – The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, educational level, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws. Environmental justice seeks to ensure that minority and low-income communities have equal access to public information relating to human health and environmental planning, regulations and enforcement. Also, it ensures that no population, especially the elderly and children, are forced to shoulder a disproportionate burden of the negative human health and environmental impacts of pollution or other environmental hazards.
  5. Established Suburbs – A UGPM Area that depicts areas of the region of conventional suburban development (generally post-1970) characterized by strip commercial development, single-family subdivisions, and office in limited locations.


  1. Facility – The means by which a transportation mode is provided. For example, sidewalks are a facility serving the walking mode, a roadway is a facility serving the driving mode and a heavy rail line is a facility serving the transit mode.
  2. Feasibility Study – A detailed investigation and analysis conducted to determine the financial, economic, technical, or sensibility of a proposed project.
  3. Fifty Forward – See Atlanta Fifty Forward.
  4. Findings – A list of agreed upon issues and opportunities to be addressed in the Regional Development Plan.
  5. Flood Hazard or Floodplain Overlay - Typically administered as a zoning overlay district to control development on land that is susceptible to flooding. The floodplain is divided into the floodway and the floodway fringe. Floodplain regulations may prohibit development in the floodplain or may designate acceptable placement and design.
  6. Focus Group – A form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members.
  7. Food Desert – An area with limited availability of food that is needed to maintain a healthy diet.


  1. Greyfield – A term used to describe formally vibrant retail and commercial shopping sites that suffer from lack of reinvestment and have been made obsolete by newer, larger and better designed malls or shopping sites. These areas usually contain high vacancy rates, empty parking lots, poor tenant mix, and underutilized real estate.
  2. Green Communities – A voluntary certification program for jurisdictions in the 10-county Atlanta Region to encourage local governments to become more sustainable.
  3. Greenfield – A land area where there has been no prior construction or development activity on the site.
  4. Greenspace – Land that is intentionally undeveloped for the purpose of preservation or conservation of a community or region’s natural or historic character. This land may also be left undeveloped for the sake of recreational, ecological, environmental, aesthetic, or agricultural interests.


  1. Heavy Rail – A passenger transit service which utilizes separate right-of-way rail lines either below or above ground, such as MARTA’s rail system. The term ‘heavy’ refers to the number of passengers the trains can carry, and not the weight. Heavy rail trains typically carry more passengers than light rail but fewer than commuter rail.
  2. High Occupancy Toll Lanes (HOT) – Lanes generally used by multi-occupant vehicles such as buses, carpools, vanpools or vehicles with three or more occupants, but made available to single-occupant vehicles for a fee.
  3. High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (HOV) – Lanes dedicated for exclusive use by multi-occupant vehicles such as cars with two or more occupants, buses, carpools and vanpools. In Georgia, it is legal for motorcycles and alternatively fueled vehicles (such as electric cars) to use HOV lanes.
  4. Hillside Development Overlay - Used to protect areas with steep slopes by encouraging development to respect the constraints and challenges of the topography. May include standards that limit densities based on steepness of slope and suitability of soil, etc.
  5. Historic District Ordinance - Protects places, districts, sites, buildings and structures having a special historic, cultural or aesthetic interest or value.
  6. Historic Preservation Easement - Historic preservation easements can be used to protect a historic landscape, battlefield, traditional cultural place or archaeological site. Under the terms of an easement, a property owner grants a portion of, or interest in, their property rights to an organization whose mission includes historic preservation.


  1. Implementation Priorities – Measures to achieve the desired development patterns for regional Areas and Places of the UGPM.
  2. Implementation Program – The overall strategy for achieving the regional vision and for addressing the regional findings.
  3. Industrial and Logistics Areas – A UGPM Place that depicts the major intermodal freight facilities and major logistics centers of the region.
  4. Infill Development – Refers to the reuse or change of use of a previously developed parcel or group of parcels, or the intensification of use or change of use by remodeling or renovating an entire structure.
  5. Infrastructure – The basic facilities such as roads, water and sewer lines, schools, power plants and communication systems on which the continuance and growth of a community depends.
  6. Intermodal – Places where interconnectivity exists between various types of transportation. These locations may provide access to multiple types of transportation and allow you to transfer from one form of transportation to another. For example, an intermodal station may service air, rail, road, and waterway transportation.


  1. Land Acquisition - Fee Simple Acquisition: Land is sold at its fair market value.
  2. Land Acquisition - Outright Donation: A donation by a landowner of all interest in property.
  3. Land Acquisition - Bequest - Landowner retains ownership until death.
  4. Land Acquisition - Donation with Retained Life Estate - Landowner donates land during their lifetime, but has lifetime access.
  5. Land Lease: Short- or long-term rental of land.
  6. Landscaping Buffer - Requires planting landscaped areas to mask unattractive land uses, to provide visual and sound barriers between incompatible uses, increase aesthetic values, and protect water quality.
  7. Large Lot Zoning - Zoning districts with very large minimum lot size requirements (at least 5 acres) that limit development density in areas where preservation is desired.
  8. Lifelong Community – A place where individuals can live throughout their lifetime. They ensure a high quality of life by providing a full range of options to residents, such as housing, transportation options, healthy lifestyles, expanded information and access to services.
  9. Light Rail – A passenger transit service which generally operates within a city and its suburbs. The term ‘light’ refers to the number of passengers the trains can carry, and not the weight. Light rail trains typically carry fewer passengers than heavy rail and commuter rail. They don’t share tracks with commuter rail or freight trains, but sometimes share right-of-way with automobiles. Because of their design, light rail systems typically operate at lower speeds and feature closely spaced stops.
  10. Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) – Investment policy study for activity and town centers to create communities and corridors where we can live, work, and play. The results can maximize growth by utilizing such practices as mixed-use development and higher densities concentrated around transportation facilities and employment centers. 
  11. Low Impact Development - Encourages environmentally-friendly ways to develop. Manages stormwater, by collecting and draining or evaporating it onsite, rather than routing it into a typical stormwater collection system. LID techniques include bioretention, permeable pavers, tree box filters, rain barrels, disconnected downspouts, narrower streets, infiltration swales, rooftop meadows, bioretention cells and rain gardens.


  1. Major Retail Districts – A UGPM Place that depicts the major concentrations of retail and commercial uses in the region.
  2. Maturing Neighborhoods – A UGPM Area that depicts the older neighborhoods (generally pre-1970) that include both single- and multi-family development, as well as commercial and office uses at connected key locations.
  3. Metropolitan Area Planning and Development Commission (MAPDC) – A designation under O.C.G.A. 50-8-82 that is cumulative with Regional Commission authority and supersedes any conflicts. The Atlanta Regional Commission is the only MAPDC in the State of Georgia.
  4. Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) – A federally required planning body responsible for transportation planning and project selection in its region. The governor designates an MPO in every urbanized area with a population of 50,000 or more people. The MPO is responsible for developing the RTP and TIP in its jurisdiction.
  5. Mitigation Land Banks - Mitigation banking is the restoration, creation, enhancement or in exception circumstances, preservation of wetlands for the express purpose of providing compensation for unavoidable wetland losses in advance of development actions, when such compensation cannot be achieved at the development site or would not be environmentally beneficial.
  6. Mixed-Use Development – The planning practice of allowing more than one type of use in a building or set of buildings. This can mean several different combinations of residential, commercial, industrial, office, institutional, or other land uses.


  1. Nonattainment Area – An urbanized area which does not meet federal air quality standards defined in the Clean Air Act.


  1. Public Information Open House – A meeting designed to introduce and interact with the public on a specific project or development. The information provided during these meetings is intended to inform you about the current concepts and provide additional details on how the project will move forward. The public also provides information to the planners on the project or development.
  2. Performance Measures – Indicators of how well the transportation system is performing with regard to such things as average speed, reliability of travel, and accident rates. The data that is gathered is used as feedback in the decision-making process.
  3. Performance Standards – Minimum and exceptional levels of performance expected of all actors in implementing the recommendations of the Regional Development Plan.
  4. Performance Standards – Minimum – Essential activities to undertake for consistency with the Regional Development Plan.
  5. Performance Standards – Excellence – Desirable activities to undertake for consistency with the Regional Development Plan.
  6. Places – See UGPM Places.
  7. PLAN 2040 – the Atlanta region’s long-range plan for land development and transportation needs. It will guide growth from metro Atlanta through the year 2040, addressing not only land use and transportation issues, but environmental, economic, housing and human services challenges as well.
  8. Preferential Assessment for Agricultural and Forestry Property -Gives tax relief to qualified owners of farm and forest property who have long-term plans to continue these uses.
  9. Public Hearing or Meeting – A public gathering for the express purpose of informing and soliciting input from interested individuals regarding transportation issues.
  10. Public Recognition and Notification - Recognizes good stewards in a public manner rewarding them for their dedication to land conservation practices. Also notifies landowners of important resources on their properties.
  11. Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) - An agreement in which a landowner sells the right to develop his property to a qualified non-profit, land trust, or governmental agency. An easement is placed on the property permanently protecting the property from development.


  1. Quality Community Objectives (QCO) – Objectives that further elaborate statewide goals based on growth and development issues identified in local and regional plans throughout the state.



  1. Redevelopment Corridors – A UGPM Place that identifies transportation corridors, often major commuter routes, which may have high concentrations of aging commercial and retail space.
  2. Regional Centers – A UGPM Place that have 10,000 jobs or more in approximately four square miles and attract people from around the region for employment, shopping and entertainment.
  3. Region Core – A UGPM Area that depicts the major economic, cultural and transportation hub that is densest in terms of employment, residential and cultural offerings with the most developed transit service in the region.
  4. Regional Commission (RC) – Any commission established under O.C.G.A. 50-8-32 (effective July 1, 2009). The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the Regional Commission for the 10-county metro Atlanta area that includes Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale Counties.
  5. Regional Development Plan (RDP) – This plan outlines policies that guide regional decisions in key areas such as sustainable growth, transportation, water supply and air quality.
  6. Regional Employment Corridors – A UGPM Area that depicts the densest development outside of the Region Core and are generally located around or adjacent to the major transportation corridors of the region.
    Regional Town Centers – A UGPM Place that depicts larger traditional Town Centers.
  7. Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) – A multimodal set of transportation projects and initiatives developed by an MPO for its urbanized area. It is required by the federal government and must cover a minimum of 20 years and be updated at least every third year in air quality nonattainment area (five years for attainment areas), be fiscally constrained and must also demonstrate conformity with applicable federal air quality standards.
  8. Regionally Important Resources (RIR) – Natural and cultural resources area identified throughout the region and include areas of conservation and/ or recreational value; historic and cultural resources; and areas of agricultural and/ or scenic value.
  9. Registry Programs - A way to reward and encourage the voluntary protection of land by private landowners. A non-binding agreement enrolls the landowners in the registry. In return, they receive technical assistance and information regarding conservation practices particular to their land.
  10. Right of Way – Land acquired by a government entity that is used for roadway, sidewalks, rail, and the buffer between transportation infrastructure and private property.
  11. Riparian Buffer - Required strips of land (from 25 to 150 feet in width) along both banks of streams and rivers be set-aside from development and left in their undisturbed, natural state as a vegetative barrier. These buffers protect water quality by slowing and filter stormwater run-off before entering the stream.
  12. Rural Areas – A UGPM Area that depicts the outer edge of the region where little or development has taken place and where there is little development pressure.


  1. Scenic Byway Designation - Designates segments of scenic roads for special protection measures. Measures may include litter control, sign regulations, design guidelines, land use controls or other measures intended to maintain the rural character of the roadway. Measures are described in a corridor management plan that must be approved by the State Department of Transportation.
  2. Scenic Corridor - Protects scenic views by requiring land uses to complement rather than detract from the scenic experience.
  3. Single-Occupant Vehicle (SOV) – A private vehicle, such as an automobile, SUV or light truck which contains only the driver.
  4. Smart Growth – Economically viable and environmentally sustainable development that stresses balanced, inclusive community planning.
  5. Sprawl – Movement of people from the central city to the suburbs or rural areas. Concerns associated with sprawl include loss of farmland and open space due to low-density land development, increased public service costs, and environmental degradation as well as other concerns associated with transportation.
  6. Stakeholder – Individuals and organizations involved in or affected by the transportation planning process. Can include federal/state/local officials, MPOs, transit operators, freight companies, shippers, and the general public.
  7. State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) - A staged, multi-year, statewide, intermodal program of transportation projects, consistent with the statewide transportation plan and planning processes as well as metropolitan plans, TIPs, and processes.
  8. Station Communities – A UGPM Place that depicts the are ½ to 1 mile around existing and planned high capacity transit stations.
  9. Streetscape – The overall character, design quality, and particular physical elements that occupy the ground level and sidewalk area. Streetscape elements may include the paving materials, curbs, landscaping, lighting, and street furniture.
  10. Sustainable Development – Development that maintains or enhances economic opportunity and community well-being while protecting and restoring the natural environment upon which people and economies depend. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


  1. Tax Allocation District (TAD) - A designated area in which improvements, usually related to infrastructure or environmental problems, are carried out by a local government in order to make a site viable for development. The local government typically issues bonds to pay for the improvements, and the added tax revenues that the project eventually generates are used to pay off the bonds. Know as tax increment financing (TIF) around the U.S. The term “tax allocation district” is specific to Georgia.
  2. Tax Incentives - Estate Tax, Income Tax, Property Tax - There may be income, estate, and property tax benefits for donating land, donating a conservation easement, or selling the property as a “bargain sale” at below market value. The amount and type of tax benefits depends on a variety of factors, including the legal tool used to protect the land, the value of the donation, the landowner’s income level and the total amount of the estate.
  3. Town Centers – A UGPM Place the depicts smaller traditional municipal core areas, which often reflect a local sense of civic identity, and may or may not be an employment center for a county.
  4. Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) - A transfer of development rights enables landowners in an area planned to remain as open space “sending zone” to sell their development rights for use in “receiving” areas of the community where higher density development is acceptable or desirable. Buying these additional development rights allows developers in the “receiving” areas to build at a higher density than would otherwise be allowed.
  5. Transit Circulator – A bus or other vehicle on a route designed to move people within an activity center. It can take on a number of forms, such as shuttle bus, monorail, trolley or other mode of transportation. It is intended to eliminate the need for the use of a car within an activity center.
  6. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) – A strategy of planning land use and organizing development to allow people to easily use public transit or other alternative means of transportation to get to places where they live, work and play. This generally involves concentrating a higher density mix of residential and commercial development in areas near transit stops or routes.
  7. Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) – The first three to five years of a Regional Transportation Plan. Must include specific funding for the projects as well as the project schedule form preliminary engineering to construction.
  8. Transportation Management Association (TMA) – Organizations that address the transportation needs of a particular service area. TMAs are often started as public-private partnerships in response to business concerns with mobility or accessibility. TMAs may provide vanpool or carpool formation, transit discounts, bicycle and pedestrian programs or shuttle services.
  9. Travel Demand Management (TDM) – Low cost ways to reduce demand by automobiles on the transportation system, such as programs to promote telecommuting, flextime and ridesharing.


  1. UGPM – Unified Growth Policy Map, which also serves as the Regional Development Map of the Regional Development Plan.
  2. UGPM Areas – A classification of the predominant land use patterns throughout the Region.
  3. UGPM Places – A classification that reflects concentrated uses that have generally defined boundaries and provide greater detail within Areas.
  4. University District – A UGPM Place that depicts the area around the major universities and colleges within the region.
  5. Urbanized Area – Term used by the United States Census Bureau to define the limits of urban and suburban development around a core city and which, in total, has a population in excess of 50,000. The urbanized boundary is used to define the jurisdiction of a MPO.


  1. Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) – On highways, a measurement of the total miles traveled by all vehicles in the area for a specified time period.
  2. Village Centers – A UGPM Place that depicts areas similar to Town Centers, but are developed at a smaller scale.
  3. Wellness Districts – A UGPM Place that depicts the area located around major hospitals within the region.
  4. Wetland Mitigation - Promotes wetland protection by requiring activities that may damage wetlands to be located on upland sites to the greatest degree practicable as determined through a permitting process.


  1. Zoning – A set of regulations and standards relating to the nature and extent of uses of land and structures. For example, land that is zoned residential can be used for single family housing or multiple family housing units, such as apartments, duplexes, or townhomes.
© 2016 Atlanta Regional Commission   |   40 Courtland Street NE - Atlanta, GA 30303   |   404.463.3100   |