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Glossary of Terms for the Thriving Communities Program

This page provides definitions for key terms related to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Thriving Communities Program.

Term Definition
Areas of Persistent Poverty

An area of persistent poverty is a county with 20 percent or more of the population living in poverty over the 30 years preceding the date of enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (November 15, 2021) as measured by the 1990 and 2000 decennial census and the most recent Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates. Alternatively, data to support eligibility may also be from any census tract with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent as measured by the 2013-2017, five-year data series available from the American Community Survey of the Census Bureau.

Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) 

An Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) is the person authorized to submit applications on behalf of the organization via The AOR is authorized by the E-Biz point of contact in the System for Award Management. The AOR is listed on the SF-424.

Capacity Building Activities designed to improve the ability of an organization to design and implement the necessary technical, financial, business, data analysis, and management skills of grantees to access Federal funding, meet Federal requirements, undertake statewide and metropolitan long-range planning and programming activities, and implement other activities that broadly support project development and delivery. This includes developing long-term community capacity to sustain partnerships and engage non-governmental partners, leadership and workforce development, and program evaluation. 
Community-Based Organization The term "community-based organization" means a public or private nonprofit organization of demonstrated effectiveness that (A) is representative of a community or significant segments of a community; and (B) provides educational or related services to individuals in the community.
Disadvantaged Community
  1. Any Tribal land or any territory or possession of the United States and
  2. Those census tracts (a) experiencing disproportionate effects (as defined by Executive Order 12898); (b) that contain areas of persistent poverty as defined in 49 U.S.C. section 6702(a)(1); (c) that are historically disadvantaged as defined by DOT’s mapping tool for Historically Disadvantaged Communities; or (d) other federally designated community development zones.
Equitable Development Equitable development is a development approach for meeting the needs of all communities, including underserved communities through policies and programs that reduce disparities while fostering livable places that are healthy and vibrant for all. The website serving as the Federal government’s central portal for searching and applying for Federal financial assistance throughout the Federal government. Registration on is required for submission of applications to prospective agencies unless otherwise specified in this NOFO.
Historically Disadvantaged Community Any Tribal land or any territory or possession of the United States, or certain census tracts in the top 50% (75% for resilience) in at least four of the following categories: transportation access, health, environmental, economic, resilience, and equity disadvantage. For more information, see Federal Tools to Determine Disadvantaged Community Status.
Location-Efficient Housing Housing that benefits from being located in communities near work, schools, services, and amenities and has accessibility to public transportation networks.
Meaningful Public Involvement A process that proactively seeks full representation from the community, considers public comments and feedback, and incorporates that feedback into a project, program, or plan when possible. The impact of community contributions encourages early and continuous public involvement and brings diverse viewpoints and values into the decision-making process. This process enables the community and agencies to make better-informed decisions through collaborative efforts. 
Place-Making A multi-faceted and collaborative approach to the planning, design, and management of the public realm to re-activate or co-create active, accessible, and inviting public spaces that promote the well-being of people. 
Planning Efforts that support inclusive public participation and community engagement in developing and implementing a range of activities to identify, assess, and evaluate community needs, including but not limited to environmental reviews, data and mapping visualization, market and mobility studies, health and safety impacts, and climate vulnerability assessments. Planning assistance may involve developing or designing for a program or project that aligns with the goals of the DOT Strategic Plan.
Rural For the purposes of this NOFO, rural jurisdictions are those outside of Urbanized Areas with populations below 50,000. See U.S. Census Bureau resources on Rural America and Maps of Urbanized Areas. A list of Urban Areas for the 2010 Census is available in the Federal Register.
Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) A statewide prioritized listing/program of transportation projects covering a period of 4 years that is consistent with the long-range statewide transportation plan, metropolitan transportation plan, and TIPs, and required for projects to be eligible for funding under title 23 U.S.C. and title 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53.
Technical Assistance Programs, processes, and resources that provide targeted support, knowledge, or expertise to a community, region, organization, or other beneficiary to help them access and utilize Federal funding to develop, analyze, design, and deliver transportation plans and projects.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) A prioritized listing/program of transportation projects covering a period of 4 years that is developed and formally adopted by an MPO as part of the metropolitan transportation planning process, consistent with the metropolitan transportation plan, and required for projects to be eligible for funding under title 23 U.S.C. and title 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53.