Glossary
A
Accessible – As defined by FTA, a site, building, facility, or portion thereof that complies with defined standards and that can be approached, entered, and used by persons with disabilities.
Accessible Service – A term used to describe service that is accessible to non-ambulatory riders with disabilities. This includes fixed-route bus service with wheelchair lifts or paratransit service with wheelchair lift-equipped vehicles.
Accidents per 100,000 Miles – Measures vehicle accidents reported (Bus, Light Rail, TRE and Paratransit) per 100,000 miles of actual fixed route mileage. Management’s objective is to reduce this ratio.
Calculation = [(Vehicle Accidents / Actual Mileage) * 100,000]
Accounting Basis – DART uses the accounting principles and methods appropriate for a government enterprise fund. Financial statements are prepared on the accrual basis of accounting under which revenues and expenses are recognized when earned or incurred.
Accrual Method of Accounting – An accounting method that measures the performance and position of a company by recognizing economic events in the period they occur regardless of when cash transactions occur (i.e., recognize revenue in the period in which it is earned rather than when the cash is received and recognize expenses when incurred rather than when cash is paid).
ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) – This federal act requires changes to transit vehicles, operations, and facilities to ensure that people with disabilities have access to jobs, public accommodations, telecommunications, and public services, including public transit.
ADA Paratransit Service – Non-fixed-route paratransit service utilizing vans and small buses to provide pre-arranged trips to and from specific locations within the service area to certified participants in the program.
Administrative Ratio – Measures administrative costs as a percentage of direct operating costs. It is management’s objective to reduce this ratio. Administrative costs include (but are not limited to) executive management, finance, purchasing, legal, internal audit, human resources, marketing, board support, and administrative services. Administrative revenues include (but are not limited to) advertising revenue.
Calculation = [(Administrative Costs – Administrative Revenues) / (Direct Costs + Start-up Costs)]
Ambulatory Disabled – A person with a disability that does not require the use of a wheelchair. This would describe individuals who use a mobility aid other than a wheelchair or have a visual or hearing impairment.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009. ARRA included appropriations and tax law changes totaling approximately $787 billion to support government-wide efforts to stimulate the economy. Goals of the statute include the preservation or creation of jobs and the promotion of an economic recovery, as well as the investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure providing long-term economic benefits.
Arbitrage – Investment earnings representing the difference between interest paid on bonds and the interest earned on the investments made using bond proceeds.
Average Fare (calculated by mode) – Represents the average fare paid per passenger boarding on each mode of service during the period.
Calculation = (Modal Passenger Revenue – Commissions & Discounts) / (Modal Passenger Boardings)
Average Weekday Ridership – The average number of passenger boardings on a weekday. This measurement does not include ridership on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.
B
Balanced Budget – A budget in which projected revenues equal projected expenses during a fiscal period.
Bond Refinancing/Refunding – The redemption (payoff) and reissuance of bonds to obtain better interest rates and/or bond conditions. This results in the defeasance of the earlier debt. See also Defeasance.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – BRT combines the quality of rail transit and the flexibility of buses. It can operate on exclusive transitways, High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, expressways, or ordinary streets. A BRT system combines intelligent transportation systems, technologies, transit signal priority (TSP), cleaner and quieter vehicles, rapid and convenient fare collection, and integration with land use policies.
C
Capital – Funds that finance construction, renovation, and major repair projects or the purchase of machinery, equipment, buildings, and land.
Capital Expenditure – A cost incurred to acquire a new asset or add capacity/improve the functionality of an existing asset or extend the useful life of an existing asset beyond its original estimated useful life. The asset will have an expected life of one or more years and a value of $5,000 or more.
Car Mile or Vehicle Mile – A single bus, rapid transit car, light rail vehicle, or commuter rail car traveling one mile.
CAFR – Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. It includes audited financial statements, financial notes, and related materials.
Certified Riders – Passengers who have been deemed eligible for Paratransit services because their disability inhibits them from functionally accessing fixed route services. Eligibility is determined in accordance with the criteria outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
CMAQ – Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality. A federal program to fund transportation projects that will contribute to the attainment of national ambient air quality standards.
Complaints per 100,000 Passengers – Modal quality ratio that measures the number of service complaints per 100,000 passenger boardings (or per 1,000 boardings for Paratransit). Management’s objective is to reduce this ratio.
Calculation = [(Service Complaints Received / Modal Passenger Boardings) * 100,000]
Cost per Revenue Mile – Efficiency ratio that measures the cost of providing a revenue mile of service. This measurement is based on fully loaded costs and excludes operating revenues. Management’s objective is to reduce this ratio.
Calculation = [Total Operating Expenses / Revenue Miles]
Crimes against persons – Monitoring provides an overview of patron safety by detailing the frequency of crimes that occur on the DART system. Management’s objective is to reduce this ratio.
Calculation = [Crimes Against Persons/Total Incidents]
Crimes against property – Monitoring provides an overview of the safety of our customer’s property. Management’s objective is to reduce this ratio.
Calculation = [Crimes Against Property/Total Incidents]
D
Debt Service – The payment of interest and the repayment of principal on long-term borrowed funds according to a predetermined schedule.
Debt Service Coverage – The measure of the Agency’s ability to meet debt service payments. It is a ratio of cash flows to debt service requirements. See also External Coverage Ratio and Internal Coverage Ratio.
Defeasance of Bonds – The redemption of older higher-rate debt prior to maturity usually with replacement by new securities bearing lower interest rates.
Demand Responsive – Paratransit passengers call to request service; therefore, that service is provided on demand, and is considered to be demand responsive, rather than scheduled service. In addition, DART provides some non-traditional demand responsive service that may not be Paratransit related, such as DART OnCall.
Depreciation – Expiration in the service life of fixed assets, other than wasting assets, attributable to wear and tear, deterioration, action of the physical elements, inadequacy, and obsolescence. The portion of the cost of a fixed asset, other than a wasting asset, charged to expense during a particular period.
E
Enterprise Fund – Gives the flexibility to account separately for all financial activities associated with a broad range of government services. It establishes a separate accounting and financial reporting mechanism for services for which a fee is charged. Revenues and expenses of the service are segregated into a fund with financial statements separate from all other activities.
Express Bus or Route – A suburban or intercity route that operates a portion of the route without stops or with a limited number of stops.
External Coverage Ratio – The ratio of gross sales tax revenues to annual debt service. DART standards (and the financial markets in general) require that this ratio be at least two.
F
Farebox Recovery Ratio – The proportion of operating cost that is generated by passenger fares.
Calculation = [Modal Farebox Revenue / Modal Operating Expense]
Farebox Revenue – All revenue from the sale of passenger tickets, passes, or other instruments of fare payment.
Fares – The amount charged to passengers for use of various services.
FAST Act – Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act – FAST Act was signed into law in December 2015 to provide funding for surface transportation.
FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency – An agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This agency provides grant money to transit systems under the Freight Rail Security Grant Program and other such programs.
FTA (Federal Transit Administration) – The FTA is the federal agency that helps cities and communities provide mobility to their citizens. Through its grant programs, FTA provides financial and planning assistance to help plan, build, and operate bus, rail, and paratransit systems.
Fiscal Year – DART’s fiscal year is from October 1 through September 30 of the following year.
Fixed-Route Service – Service that operate according to fixed schedules and routes (for DART that service is bus, light rail, commuter rail, and streetcar).
Formula Grant – Allocations of federal funding to states, territories, or local units of government determined by distribution formulas in the authorizing legislation and regulations. To receive a formula grant, the entity must meet all the eligibility criteria for the program, which are pre-determined and not open to discretionary funding decisions.Formula grants typically fund activities of a continuing nature and may not be confined to a specific project. Common elements in formulas include population, proportion of population below the poverty line, and other demographic information.
Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) – The Federal Transit Administration uses a FFGA to provide financial assistance for new start projects and other capital projects. The FFGA defines the project, including cost and schedule, commits to a maximum level of federal financial assistance (subject to appropriation), covers the period of time for the project, and helps to manage the project in accordance with federal laws and regulations. The FFGA assures the grantee of predictable federal financial support for the project while placing a ceiling on the amount.
Full-Time Equivalent – A measurement equal to one staff person working a full-time work schedule for one year (2,080 hours).
Fund Balance – The difference between a fund’s assets and liabilities (also called Fund Equity). Often this term refers to moneys set aside or earmarked for future needs. DART uses “reserves” as well as “funds” to ensure resources are available for anticipated and unanticipated needs. See Funds and Fund Balances at the end of the Twenty-Year Financial Plan portion of this document for yearly amounts, and Board-adopted financial policies regarding funds and reserves in the preceding pages of this Reference section.
G
General Operating Account – The operating account that is used to account for all financial resources and normal recurring activities except for those required to be accounted for in another fund.
Grants – Monies received from local, federal, and state governments to provide capital or operating assistance.
H
Headway – The time span between service vehicles (bus or rail) on a specified route.
I
Internal Coverage Ratio – A ratio which has a numerator of gross sales tax revenues plus operating revenues plus interest income less operating expenses, and a denominator of annual debt service on long-term debt. DART standards state the goal that this ratio be at least one—i.e., total revenues less operating expenses should be at least as great as total annual debt service.
L
Labor Expenditure – The cost of wages and salaries (including overtime) to employees for the performance of their work.
Line Item – An appropriation that is itemized on a separate line in a budget or financial plan.
Linked Trip – A single one-way trip without regard for the number of vehicles boarded to make the trip. For example, a commute from home to work achieved by boarding a bus to a train, and then taking another bus after leaving the train, represents one linked trip. See also Unlinked Trip.
M
Maintenance Expenditure – Expenditures for labor, materials, services, and equipment used to repair and service transit and service vehicles and facilities.
Major Capital Transit Investment Program – A federal grants program providing capital assistance for new fixed guideway, extensions of existing fixed guideway, or a corridorbased bus rapid transit system. This program includes New Starts, Small Starts, and Core Capacity projects.
Mean Distance Between Service Calls – Quality ratio that measures the average number of miles a vehicle operates before a service call occurs. Management’s objective is to increase this ratio.
Calculation = [Total Miles Operated / Total # of Service Calls]
N
New Starts Program – A federal program which provides funding for fixed guideway transit projects which utilize and occupy a separate right-of-way or other high occupancy vehicle.
O
Obligations – Funds that have been obligated/committed to a specific purpose but have not yet been expended.
Off-Peak – Non-rush hour time periods.
On-Time Performance – Quality ratio that measures how often a service is on time (i.e., at a designated pick-up spot within a predetermined timeframe). The timeframe differs based on mode and frequency of service. Bus Operations currently uses 59 seconds early and 4 minutes and 59 seconds late. Light rail uses 1 minute early and 4 minutes late. Commuter rail uses 5 minutes late as required by FRA. Paratransit uses 20 minutes early and late.Management’s objective is to increase this ratio.
Calculation = [(# Scheduled Trips Sampled – # of Times Early or Late) / Total # of Scheduled Trips Sampled]
Operating Budget – The planning of revenue and expenditures for a given period of time to maintain daily operations.
Operating Expenses – Includes the expenses required to operate DART’s revenue services, and general mobility projects. Operating expenses do not include the cost of road improvements or the staff costs associated with DART’s capital programs.
Operating Revenues – Includes the revenues obtained from the farebox, special events service, advertising, signboard rentals, leases, pass sales, operating grants, shuttle services, other and other miscellaneous income. Operating revenues do not include sales tax revenue, interest income, or gain on sale of assets.
P
Paratransit Service – Any transit service required by the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), generally characterized by pre-arranged curb-to-curb service provided by accessible vehicles.
Passenger Canceled Trips Ratio – Measures the percentage of times that Paratransit users schedule a trip, then cancel the trip. Total scheduled trips include actual trips made, cancellations, and no-shows.
Calculation = [# of Canceled Trips / Total # of Scheduled Trips]
Passenger Mile – A single passenger traveling one mile.
Passenger No-Show Ratio – Quality measurement for Paratransit service that measures the number of times a Paratransit user makes a reservation and does not show-up for the ride. This measurement is different from a cancellation. Management’s objective is to reduce this number so that other trips can be scheduled in that timeframe. Users can lose the ability to access the Paratransit system if they have an excessive number of no-shows.
Calculation = [# of No Shows / Total # of Scheduled Trips]
Passengers per Hour – Actual – The total number of Paratransit passengers actually carried, divided by the total hours of revenue service. Management’s objective is to increase this number.
Calculation = [Actual Passenger Boardings / Revenue Hours]
Passengers per Hour – Scheduled – The total number of Paratransit passengers scheduled per hour of revenue service. Management’s objective is to increase this number.
Calculation = [Scheduled Passenger Boardings / Revenue Hours]
Passengers per Mile – Effectiveness ratio that measures route productivity by comparing the number of passenger boardings to the number of revenue miles. Management’s objective is to increase this ratio.
Calculation = [Passenger Boardings / Revenue Miles]
Peak Period – Morning or evening rush hour.
Percentage of Trips Completed – Quality measurement for Paratransit service that measures the number of times DART completes a scheduled passenger pick-up. Management’s objective is to increase this ratio.
Calculation = [(# of Actual Trips – # of Trips Missed) / # of Actual Trips]
Principal – The amount borrowed, or the amount still owed on a loan, separate from the interest.
R
Reduced Fares – Discounted fares for children elementary through middle school, seniors and non-Paratransit disabled with valid ID; high school fares are applicable on bus and rail on Monday through Friday only; college/trade school valid on bus and rail with a DART Student ID.
Repurchase Agreement – A money-market transaction in which one party sells securities to another while agreeing to repurchase those securities at a later date.
Reserves – DART uses “reserves” as well as “funds” to ensure resources are available for anticipated and unanticipated needs. See Funds and Fund Balance at the end of the TwentyYear Financial Plan portion of this document for yearly amounts, and Board-adopted financial policies regarding funds and reserves in the preceding pages of this Reference section.
Revenue Bond – A bond on which debt service is payable solely from a restricted revenue source (or sources)—for example sales tax revenues.
Revenue Car Miles – Total miles operated by LRT or TRE trains in revenue service multiplied by the number of cars operated as part of each train. Power consumption and maintenance requirements are driven by the number of car miles operated. As a result, one area of management focus is to optimize the number of cars operated per train based on ridership and Board-adopted loading standards.
Calculation = Sum for all trips of [# of Revenue Train Miles operated * # of cars in thetrain]
Revenue Miles or Hours – Measures the number of miles, or hours, that a vehicle is in revenue service (i.e., available to pick up passengers) and includes special events service. This measure does not include “deadhead miles” which are the miles between the bus maintenance facility and the beginning and/or end of a route.
Reverse Commute – City-to-suburb commute. This phrase refers to the fact that most riders commute from the suburbs to the city.
Ridership – For the total system, this is the total number of passengers boarding a DART vehicle. Transfers are included in total ridership and passenger boarding counts (e.g., if a person transfers from one bus to another bus or from a bus to rail, this is counted as two passenger boardings). Fixed route ridership counts passenger boardings (including transfers) for bus, light rail, streetcar, and commuter rail only. See also Unlinked Trip.
S
Sales Taxes for Operating Expenses – Measures the amount of sales taxes required to subsidize operations. 100% minus this percentage is the amount of sales taxes available for capital and road improvement programs. Management’s objective is to reduce this ratio.
Calculation = [(Operating Expenses – Operating Revenues – Interest Income) / Sales Tax Revenues]
Scheduled Miles Per Hour – Represents the average overall speed of the modal service as reflected in the schedule, with stops and recovery time included. This value reflects both the composition of the service (i.e., express and local routes for bus mode) and the
efficiency of the schedule (e.g., reducing recovery time in the schedule improves average speed).
Calculation (for bus) = [Scheduled Miles / Scheduled Hours]
Calculation (for rail) = [Scheduled Train Miles / Scheduled Train Hours]
Service Hours – Paratransit service hours are also known as revenue hours. They are calculated from the time of the first passenger pick-up until the time of the last passenger drop-off. Travel time to and from the garage is not included.
Service Levels – Also known as Telephone Service Factor (TSF), measures the response to calls within a specified period. This measurement is being used to monitor the effectiveness of the main call center (CI: 214-979-1111) within 1 minute, the response to Paratransit scheduling issues within 1 minute, and the response to Where’s My Ride inquiries within 2 minutes.
Calculation = (# of Calls Answered) / (# of Calls Received Within the Specified Time Period)
Start-Up Costs – Costs associated with the implementation of a major new light rail, commuter rail, or streetcar expansion that are incurred prior to the service implementation (e.g., vehicle and system testing).
State of Good Repair (SGR) – Capital investment in infrastructure maintenance in order to improve the condition of current transit facilities and provide safe, reliability service.
Subscription Service – Paratransit passengers traveling at least three times per week to the same location at the same time can be placed on “subscription service.” This service is “automatically” scheduled for the passenger, and it is not necessary for the passenger to call and schedule the service.
Subsidy per Passenger – Efficiency ratio, which measures the tax subsidy required for each passenger boarding for a mode or combination of modes. Management’s objective is to reduce this ratio.
Calculation = [(Operating Expenses – Operating Revenues) / Passenger Boardings]
T
Total Vehicle Miles – The sum of all miles operated by passenger vehicles, including mileage when no passengers are carried.
Transit Asset Management (TAM) – Measurement of the condition of capital assets such as equipment, rolling stock, infrastructure, and facilities.
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) – Mixed-use development of residential, commercial, and retail uses within walking distance of a transit station or bus route.
Transit Signal Priority – Transit signal priority either gives or extends a green signal to public transit vehicles under certain circumstances to reduce passenger travel times, improve schedule adherence, and reduce operating costs.
TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) – A program administered by The U.S. Department of Transportation for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure that are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region with regards to fostering economic development.
U
Unlinked Trip – A trip involving a single boarding and alighting from a transit vehicle. For example, a commute from home to work achieved by boarding a bus to a train, and then taking another bus after leaving the train, represents three unlinked trips. See also Linked Trip.
V
Vanpool – Consists of a group of 5 to 15 people who regularly travel together to work (typically 30 miles or more roundtrip) in a DART-provided van.
Vehicle Revenue Mile – Vehicle mile during which the vehicle is in revenue service (i.e., picking up and/or dropping off passengers.
Y
Yield to worst – The lowest yield that you can earn from a bond when holding to maturity, absent a default. It is a measure that is used in place of yield to maturity with callable bonds. As callable bonds can be bought back before their stated maturity date, yield to maturity does not provide an accurate picture of what an investor can expect to earn. Yield to worst allows apples to apples comparisons of bonds with varying call features and coupon payments.
Z
Zero Denials – A Federal mandate that in effect states that a provider cannot systematically deny Paratransit trips on an on-going basis.