Expanded Public Transport Glossary: Terms and Organizations at a Glance

26 Apr, 2021

The digitalization in public transport makes it necessary to grapple with new systems or terms. From APC to Validator: The following overview aims to provide decision-makers and professionals in transportation with an overview of the jumble of terms in modern transportation. Additionally, you’ll get to know the most influential organizations in the public transport industry such as UITP, ITxPT, and APTA.


Terms and Definitions
Organizations in Public Transport

Terms and Definitions in Public Transportation

Digital technologies significantly contribute to improving the operations and services of transportation companies. Both transportation companies and passengers benefit from resulting optimizations in operations, real-time services, new revenue streams, etc. However, before companies and operators reach their end goal—the digital world—they must overcome the technological challenges along the way. First, we will explain to you the most common terms related to public transportation and digitalized vehicles and then show you where to start in order to digitalize your fleet.


Public Transport (PT) includes high-capacity, short- to medium-range means of passenger transportation like buses, subways, and streetcars, operating on fixed routes at fixed intervals. Contrasts with individual and long-distance transport.

Multimodal Mobility

Multimodal mobility encompasses all means of transportation to get from A to B, including classic modes like buses and trains, as well as sharing offers like car, scooter, and bicycle.


PTA stands for “Public Transport Authority”. PTAs either contract out bus route operations to other companies (PTO) or carry out the route operations themselves.


Public Transport Operators (PTO) are operators of bus and rail vehicle fleets contracted by public transport authorities (PTA).


ITCS stands for “Intermodal Transport Control System”. It is a computer-based operations control system that plans, controls, and monitors the entire operation on board public transport vehicles. It is used in particular to manage the following areas: communication between vehicle and control center, computer-aided operation, dynamic passenger information in vehicles and at stops.


A Multiple-Application Driver Terminal (MADT) is a board computer connected to ITCS providing essential data such as current line, daily line planning, and driver management, ensuring accurate information display at the right time and in the right place.


A Passenger Information System (PIS) provides live data to passengers at bus stops and in vehicles, including route information, arrival/departure times, delays, and obstruction reports. Offers indoor advertising for additional revenue.


Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) refers to optical room surveillance systems in public transport vehicles used for passenger safety and detecting crime and vandalism.


An automated passenger counting system (APC) precisely determines vehicle and route utilization, allowing optimizations in vehicle capacity and scheduling.


Vehicle Communication Gateway (VCG) is a router that establishes the connection between the control center and the vehicle.


On-board ticket validator for payments, supporting various methods like EC, credit card, and smartphone payments, in addition to classic paper tickets.


Communication unit connecting end users in the network and transmitting data on board a public transport vehicle.

Read also: The Ethernet Switch and its Role in Buses and Trains

Organizations in Public Transportation

Without them, public transportation might not be as we know it today. Get to know some of the most influential organizations in the public transport industry such as UITP, ITxPT, and APTA, and discover how they are shaping the mobility of tomorrow.


Die UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics), founded in 1885, is the largest international network for professionals in public transportation. It is the only global organization that brings together all stakeholders and modes of public transport. With over 1,900 members from more than 100 countries, it includes public transport authorities, operators, policymakers, research institutions, as well as suppliers and service providers in the public transport sector.

UITP sees itself as the ‘global advocate for public transport’ and a ‘passionate champion of sustainable urban mobility’. The association promotes innovations across all public transport modes: buses, subways, commuter trains, regional trains, and waterborne transport. By supporting the entire sector, UITP continuously works towards enhancing the quality of life and economic prosperity in urban areas worldwide.

Since 2021, TRONTEQ is a proud member of UITP, aiming to get closer to public transport customers and users to gain a deeper understanding of public transport use cases and improve its IP networking solutions based on Ethernet technology.

For more information about UITP, visit uitp.org.


The Organization ITxPT (Information Technology for Public Transport) was established in 2013 and emerged from the European Bus System for the Future (EBSF) project. ITxPT operates internationally as an independent nonprofit association with a strong connection to UITP, as the latter is among its founding members.

ITxPT’s main goal is to develop an open IT architecture for public transport and other mobility services based on standards and best practices. The primary advantage of implementing the ITxPT standard is interoperability, enabling seamless integration of systems and devices from different providers. The ITxPT architecture allows for a gradual expansion of system functionalities, fostering competitiveness among IT suppliers and manufacturers in the industry by offering standardized products and services. Increasingly, ITxPT compliance is being cited as a criterion for public tenders in the public transport sector.

Since 2019, TRONTEQ has been a Principal Member of ITxPT and actively participates in ITxPT working groups. TRONTEQ provides fully standardized M12 Ethernet switches capable of connecting any modern on-board IP system.

For further information about ITxPT, visit itxpt.org.


The Association of European Metropolitan Transport Authorities (EMTA) was founded in 1998 to create a platform for exchange among the responsible authorities for urban transport in the most important European cities. Currently, EMTA consists of 31 authorities from 19 European countries. As a nonprofit organization, its main purpose is to support authorities responsible for public transport as decision-making bodies in infrastructure policy matters, as well as in sustainable and intelligent mobility.

Members include public transport authorities from most major European cities, from Manchester to Thessaloniki, from Lisbon to Helsinki.

For more information about EMTA, visit emta.com.


The Association of German Transport Companies (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen, VDV) is the industry association for public transport, representing over 630 companies involved in public passenger transport (ÖPV) and rail freight transport. Originally founded in 1949 as the Association of Public Transport Companies (VÖV), this Cologne-based organization has a long history. Approximately 500 volunteer experts from various fields are engaged in six general and 20 specialist committees, focusing on planning, legal matters, economics, marketing and communication, personnel management, pricing and sales, as well as technical issues related to public passenger transport. The association’s activities are complemented by the VDV Academy, which nurtures future leadership for public passenger and rail freight transport.

For more information about the VDV, please visit vdv.de.


The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association comprised of over 1,500 organizations from the public and private sectors. The APTA, as we know it today, was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Washington, DC.

APTA is the sole association in North America that represents all forms of public transportation, including buses, paratransit, commuter rail, subways, light rail, ferry services, as well as intercity and high-speed trains. APTA deals with all aspects of the industry: transportation systems, vehicles, equipment, as well as traffic-related products and services.

TRONTEQ is a proud member of APTA.

For more information about APTA, please visit apta.com.


The French Group of Regional Authorities for Transportation (Groupement des Autorités Régionales du Transport, GART) was established in 1980, a time when, for most French citizens, the car was practically the only means of transportation available. Officials and technicians joined forces to fundamentally change public transportation policies by founding this association. To this day, GART continues advocating for the development of public transport and alternative modes of transportation to reduce reliance on cars.

For the association’s members, GART serves as a resource center, empowering them to play a more significant role as mobility providers. It provides a platform for exchange, best practices, innovations, and discussions to shape the mobility of the future. Lastly, GART acts as a voice for the authorities organizing mobility at the national and European levels, defending their interests against state institutions, the European Union, and the media.

For more information about GART, visit gart.org.

Related Resources

Digitalization in Public Transport

Discover the role of Ethernet switches in driving digitalization of public transport vehicles.

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The ITxPT Standard

With ITxPT, public transport operators can benefit from simplified handling of their vehicle systems.

EN50155 Approval Logo

The E-mark in Public Transport

The E-mark ensures that road vehicles and their installed components adhere to stringent safety and environmental standards.

Our products are fundamental for the digitalization in public transport. ROQSTAR M12 Ethernet Switches provide the network infrastructure for e-ticketing, passenger counting systems (PCS), dynamic passenger information (DPI) and closed-circuit television (CCTV).


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