Alongside our main charge of educating, equipping, protecting, and celebrating those who bike, walk, or use transit, GObike continues to work with community members and institutional partners, like the NFTA, Local Initiative Support Corporation New York (LISC NY) the City of Buffalo, to advance eTOD. That’s Equitable Transit-Oriented Development, or in other words, advocating for the construction of affordable housing, services, retail, entertainment, and multi-modal amenities immediately adjacent to Metro Rail and Bus stations.

This kind of real estate development can make our city more equitable by giving people living near transit access to daily needs and amenities. This in turn gives more people opportunities to live close to transportation options and makes our community more resilient when snowstorms shut down car travel by putting more services within walking distance of where we live. It also makes our city more economically vibrant by easing the need to own and maintain a personal car in order to get to work.

It’s this advocacy work, alongside all our advocacy work, that needs your support. In order to be a vocal supporter of building a more sustainable, healthy, and resilient city and region, you may run into some jargon and lingo! Check our our acronym and vocabulary list to aid you with more effective communication with policy makers and your neighbors and friends.

Here’s a link to a LIVE doc. Our team will be adding terms to it through the year, so bookmark either or both. Let’s make 2023 a year of action!


ADA Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

BUDC Buffalo Urban Development Corporation

BURA Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency

CDFI Community Development Financial Institution

CMAQ Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant program

CNU Congress for New Urbanism

DL&W Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Terminal

DOT Department of Transportation (NYSDOT, USDOT)

DPW Department of Public Works, Parks & Streets (City of Buffalo)

EIS Environmental Impact Statement (State or Federal)

FOIL Freedom of Information Law

FTA Federal Transit Administration

GBNRTC Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council

LISC Local Initiatives Support Corporation (a CDFI)

MPO Metropolitan Planning Organization

M/WBE Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

NEPA National Environmental Policy Act

NFTA Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

NOI Notice of Intent

OSP Office of Strategic Planning (City of Buffalo)

PILOT Payment In Lieu Of Taxes

PIP Public involvement plan

PPS Project for Public Space

RFP Request for Proposals

RFQ Request for Qualifications

SGR State of Good Repair

SHPO New York’s State Historic Preservation Office (often pronounced ship-bo)

TDM Transportation demand management

TERM Transit Economics Requirement Model

TIP Transportation improvement program

VMT Vehicle miles traveled

WSP William Sale Partnership (consultant)



Affordable housing Housing is considered “affordable” if the cost of the housing is less than 30% of the household income. Affordable housing is typically defined as housing that is affordable to those with a household income at or below the median area income
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 the ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

Definition from ADA National Network

Appraisal gap the difference between the fair market value determined by the appraiser and the amount you agreed to pay for the home
Block group a Census Block Group is a geographical unit used by the United States Census Bureau which is between the Census Tract and the Census Block
Buffalo Billion New York State has committed $1 billion investment in the Buffalo [LINK]
Buffalo Urban Development Corporation Buffalo Urban Development Corporation is the City of Buffalo’s not-for-profit development agency, reclaiming distressed land and buildings for future development.
Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) is a public benefit corporation that was formed by an act of the New York State Legislature in 1966. Its corporate purpose includes the general planning and operation of various urban renewal programs designed to prevent or eliminate blight and deterioration in the City of Buffalo.
capital wealth in the form of money or other assets owned by a person or organization or available or contributed for a particular purpose such as starting a company or investing
Capital budget the municipal capital budget is the City’s plan to purchase, build, maintain, repair and replace assets including infrastructure
Capital stack refers to the layers of capital that go into purchasing and operating a commercial real estate investment

Also: complex capital stack

Census tract census tracts are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of a county or statistically equivalent entity
Citizens Budget Commission a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization pursuing constructive change in the finances and services of New York City and State
Citizens Planning Council Citizens Planning Council is a group of appointed citizens that makes capital budget recommendations to the Mayor’s Office based upon capital budget requests from City departments, not-for-profit institutions, and the community.
Complete Streets Complete Streets is an approach to planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining streets that enables safe access for all people who need to use them, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant program Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991. Part of this approach was the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program. The CMAQ program was implemented to support surface transportation projects and other related efforts that contribute air quality improvements and provide congestion relief.
Congress for New Urbanism CNU is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization located in Washington, DC.
Department of Transportation the New York State Department of Transportation is the department of the New York state government responsible for the development and operation of highways, railroads, mass transit systems, ports, waterways and aviation facilities in the U.S. state of New York; USDOT, NYSDOT, Erie County DOT
dissimilarity index measures the percentage of a group’s population that would have to change residence for each neighborhood to have the same percentage of that group as the metropolitan area overall
Environmental Impact Statement State / Federal
environmental remediation the removal of pollution or contaminants from water (both ground water and surface water) and soil
Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) an approach to development that shares the benefits of transit and creates transit-centered neighborhoods for residents of all income levels

responds to the desires of existing communities and is intended to avoid displacement of current residents

From City of Buffalo RFQ: “The City and NFTA envision an equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD), with affordable and/or mixed-income housing units, an activated 1st floor, and vibrant streetscapes and public spaces that will complement the surrounding residential area.”

equitable joint-venture a joint venture bringing together partners with specific equity goals
exaction a concept in US real property law where a condition for development is imposed on a parcel of land that requires the developer to mitigate anticipated negative impacts of the development
Federal Transit Administration An agency, within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), that provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems
Freedom of Information Law Article 6 Section 89 of New York State Public Officer’s Law, provides the public right to access to records maintained by government agencies with certain exceptions
Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council The Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Erie and Niagara Counties.
Green Code See “Unified Development Ordinance” below.
light rail rapid transit light-rail transit (LRT) is rapid transit that operates electric-powered single cars or short trains on fixed rails
Historic tax credit programs Rehabilitation of historic buildings may qualify for a New York State tax incentive:

Incentives are administered by NYSHPO.

Infill development the rededication of land in an urban environment, usually open-space, to new construction
Joint venture a joint venture is a combination of two or more parties that seek the development of a single enterprise or project for profit, sharing the risks associated with its development
“Just Streets” Paper forthcoming from Jalonda Hill, director of Colored Girls Bike Too
Land use the term used to describe the human use of land. It represents the economic and cultural activities (e.g., agricultural, residential, industrial, mining, and recreational uses) that are practiced at a given place
Lead Federal Agency a lead agency is appointed to supervise the preparation of required reporting or process where more than one State or Federal agency is involved. e.g. an environmental impact statement or a complex environmental assessment requiring multiple agencies
Metropolitan Planning Organization By federal law, an MPO is designated by each state’s governor for every urban area in the United States of America with at least 50,000 residents. MPOs devise solutions to regional transportation  problems, which involves addressing land use, air quality, energy, economic development, and commerce.
Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises The Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program (MWBE) is for businesses owned by women and/or minorities in New York State. Any business that is owned, operated, and controlled primarily by women or minority group members is eligible. The program prioritizes these businesses for procurement.
mixed-income development refers generally to residential settings in which housing is affordable to individuals and families with different income levels
Mobility justice The Untokening core organizing committee uses “mobility injustice” to name the intersectional unsafeties and attacks that people from marginalized groups experience in public spaces such as streets, transit systems, and the governance processes that lay claim to regulate those spaces. Per Untokening, “marginalized groups” includes Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, people with disabilities, immigrants, trans people, queer people, women, and youth.
National Environmental Policy Act was signed into law on January 1, 1970. NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions
Notice of Intent a written notification to the regulatory agency or division that an activity is intended; a Notice of Intent may mean a notice that an environmental impact statement will be prepared and considered.
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority a New York State Public Benefit Corporation created to provide transportation services including bus, light rail, paratransit, and aviation services to Erie and Niagara Counties.
NFTA-Metro Rail expansion a planned expansion to link established and emerging activity centers along the existing Metro Rail line in Buffalo with existing and emerging activity centers in Amherst and Tonawanda and provide a fast, reliable, safe, and convenient transit ride.

parcel in real estate, a parcel of land (a lot or plot) is a tract owned or meant to be owned by some owner(s); parcels owned by private parties are subject to a periodic property tax payable by the owners to local governments such as a county or municipality
“Pencilling out” a colloquialism used to describe whether or not a project has or is able to secure enough funding or income to be sustainable
predatory investment Dr. Taylor “predanomics”
predevelopment relating to, existing, or occurring before the start of development especially of a real estate project; this phase may include definition of development costs, loans, meetings, community agreements, etc.
Pro forma an analysis projecting how a property or development will perform financially for the long term
Public involvement plan a framework for organizing public involvement within a required planning process
Public benefit corporation a corporation created to generate social and public good, and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner
Quality of life includes wealth, employment, the environment, physical and mental health, education, recreation and leisure time
“Race for Place” City of Buffalo initiative supporting talent attraction and our modern workforce through the creation of innovative and attractive environments

Rails-to-Trails path a rail trail is a shared-use path on railway right of way
Request for Proposals a request for proposal is a document that solicits proposal, often made through a bidding process, by an agency or company interested in procurement of a commodity, service, or valuable asset, to potential suppliers to submit proposals; in real estate, an RFP may announce a project, describes it, and solicits bids from qualified developers or contractors to complete it
Request for Qualifications a request for qualifications is a step sometimes used in the formal process of procuring a product or service by a government agency. It is typically used as a screening step to establish a pool of vendors that are then qualified, and thus eligible to submit responses to a request for proposals
safety Policing and ticketing are punitive and oftentimes extractive measures intended to produce “safety”
small-scale developers developers who work on smaller-scale, incremental approaches to neighborhood and community-based development
streetscape the natural and built fabric of the street, including: sidewalks, planters, street trees, benches, signage, etc.
syndication a real estate syndication is when a group of investors pools together their capital to jointly purchase a large real estate property.
taking a taking is when the government seizes private property for public use; a regulatory taking is an appropriation or diminution of private property rights by a governmental regulation which exceeds the government’s legitimate police power (e.g. zoning) and for which the owner may seek compensation
traffic calming physical design and other measures put in place on existing roads to reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists
Transportation improvement program Each metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is required to develop a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)—a list of upcoming transportation projects—covering a period of at least four years
Transit-Oriented Development an approach to development that focuses land uses around a transit station or within a transit corridor.  TOD occurs within a five to seven minute walk of a transit station, which is about ¼-mile.
Transit-Oriented Development Plan a plan including a mix of commercial, residential, office and entertainment centered around or located near a transit station
Transportation demand management the application of strategies and policies to reduce travel demand, or to redistribute this demand in space or in time
Unified Development Ordinance (“The Green Code”) City of Buffalo’s form-based zoning code
Universal design the design of buildings, products or environments to make them accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors
Urban design the design of towns and cities, streets and spaces. It is the collaborative and multi-disciplinary process of shaping the physical setting for life, often including engineering, architecture and planning professions
Urban renewal a program of land redevelopment claiming to promote opportunities by clearing out of blighted areas to attract investment. It is controversial for its displacement and destabilization of low-income residents, including BIPOC communities and other marginalized groups
Workforce development initiatives that educate and train individuals to meet the needs of current and future business and industry
workforce participation goals for hiring minority- and women-owned businesses in New York, including establishing workforce participation rates broken down by race and gender.