Some of you have requested that we put up a glossary to help assist those less familiar with the many enigmatic acronyms that transit wonks like to use.  Transitspeak is complex, but fortuntely, the STB staff delivered and we now have a new Seattle Transit Glossary, which can be accessed from the sidebar at the bottom of ‘Best Reference Posts.’

Long hours were put into the making of this glossary, but even after about a hundred proofreads, the possibility is still there that we missed a few acronyms or terms you’re dying to know about.  If that’s the case or you find anything wrong (broken links, misplaced definitions,etc.), please let us know.

29 Replies to “New Glossary Added”

    1. Appreciated, but thank Oran, he contributed a considerable portion as well.

  1. Awesome! The biggest reference I’ve seen other blogs complain about, though, are the Link line alternative references, as in B9T, etc.

  2. Missing:
    Skoda: Czec manufacturer of Tacoma Link’s streetcars.

    INEKON: Czec manufacturer of the Seattle Streetcar trams. Design produced under License from Skoda.

    Oregon Iron Works: Portland based streetcar manufacturer. Most likely source of First Hill line streetcars. Producer of all future Portland Streetcar trams. Tram design produced under license from Skoda.

    1. Gordon, what have you heard about the new streetcars? Do you know if ST or the city are looking at “buying local” instead of “international”? I would hope that for the First Hill line that we go in with Portland to negociate a really good price on the streetcars since they’re also planning a major expansion. I thought we did that same thing for the SLU line when we bought the 3 streetcars along with Portland.

      1. From speaking with folks at one of the open houses … the plan is to contract with Oregon Iron Works (United Streetcar) for the 3-5 streetcars needed for the First Hill Line. Oregon Iron Works (United Streetcar) product is essentially the same product as Inekon produced for the SLUT.

        Speaking to Oregon Iron Works (United Streetcar) a while back, I asked them if they would be able to produce the 5-segment version of the Skoda/Inekon tram. They said that there was no reason why they could not … as their license allowed them to do so. My concern when looking at the plans for the First Hill line is that they have not considered longer trams in their plans. Being able to extend the tram fleet by two segments would increase capacity at a lower cost than buying more individual vehicles. However, the plans for the line do not take this into consideration at the planned streetcar stops.

        Of note:
        Like Alstom’s Citadis (very very very successful line of trams) … the Skoda/Inekon/Oregon Iron Works (United Streetcar) design allows for customization of the exterior furnishings … this is why the SLUT trams look a bit different from Tacoma Link/Portland Streetcar/Washington DC Streetcar/etc …

        Oregon Iron Works (United Streetcar) will be producing the 7 or so streetcars for Tuscon as well as a number of other cities that are starting up streetcar service.


        Oregon Iron Works (United Streetcar):
        Inekon Trams:

      2. Two reasons to go with OIW trams are the possibility of a joint order with another city. The other is the trams qualify for federal funding that requires the majority of the vehicle to be built in North America.

  3. North Link: extension from UW to Northgate and eventually Lynnwood.

    South Link: extension of line from SeaTac south to Federal Way and possibly Tacoma

    1. It seems that Mr. Niles is still fighting light rail. John, if you want to help build better transit, why not help us stop the much larger boondoggles, like the viaduct tunnel?

      If transit activists waste all their time opposing each others’ project as less than the best, then all we’ll ever get built is freeways.

      I don’t see PITF as a pro-bus forum, any more than Kemper Freeman is pro-bus. Let’s not give him any free advertising.

      1. Yes, you’re right Brent. Better yet, let’s burn all the books that contain information not suited to the party line.

      2. I don’t really see Mr. Niles as a lost cause. He and others who share his views can be useful support for projects rail advocates agree are a good idea. He can also be helpful on issues where both he and rail advocates oppose a particular project.

        Since he makes his arguments in a respectful way he should be engaged in a respectful way. If you disagree with him argue ideas and opinions.

        As for putting PITF in the glossary I don’t really see the need as I don’t think I’ve really seen the acronym before now.

      3. Mike, Chris and Brent,

        While PITF might not belong in the glossary, the individuals behind it such as Emory Bundy and Jerry Schneider ought to be listed.

        They did much to affect the state of public transport in the Puget Sound region today.

        And though I think none of it was positive, and I have serious questions as to their real intent and where their financial backing comes from, I’ll keep that opinion to myself.

  4. I’m surprised I don’t see Crush Load (I see that in comments more than I see SRO)

  5. Signalized, signal priority, queue jumping, signal pre-emption. Could all go into one paragraph about signaling. Bus bulbs. Pantogram (?, that thing above a train that’s not a trolley wire).

    Actually, what would be ideal is a few paragraphs on different themes, putting together the terminology related to that theme. For instance, signaling as above, train types, bus types (Gillig is an X type bus, New Flyer is a Y), etc. Then people could read it and it would answer their future questions as well as their current ones.

    This glossary is really appreciated, thanks so much for it.

  6. One reason for selecting OIW is their cars qualify for various Federal grants and for fleet commonality with Tacoma and the SLU line.

  7. ETB: Electric Trolleybus, a type of electric bus that is powered by connecting trolley poles to two overhead wires. Seattle is one of six remaining cities in America to use ETBs and has the third largest fleet.

    That should read North America, right? But then you would need to include Mexico so the stat would still be wrong.

  8. Could you please add entires for the following:

    Kemper Freeman

    Bus Zone


    (The last two are rather Seattle-centric, IMHO)

    1. Some historical items should be added.

      BNSF’s predecessors:
      GN for Great Northern Rwy, north to Vancouver, BC and east from Everett over Stevens Pass to St Paul via northern MT
      NP for Northern pacific Rwy, south to Portland, and east from Auburn over Stampede Pass to St Paul via central MT
      SP&S for Spokane, Portland and Seattle, north from Portland to Vancouver, WA, thence east along the north bank of the Columbia to Pasco and thence to Spokane on a now mostly abandoned ROW. BNSF uses the old NP line Pasco to Spokane

      PSN for Puget Sound Navigation, aka “The Black Ball Line”, predecessor of Washington State Ferries.

      Stone and Webster, operators of Seattle’s streetcar system for several decades

      1. Well, we have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise there will be too many little-used terms and it’ll be hard to read. I don’t think the historical railways need to be abbreviated, as it’s unlikely somebody would write GP or NP without the full name in the same message or nearby.

  9. You should make the glossery using MediaWiki. Then people could just make their own changes and y’all would hardly have to worry about it. I’ve made wikis before, and it would be the best way to organize this project, I feel. I’d help if you’re interested.

Comments are closed.