The Glossary

I try to keep this blog as accessible as possible, but not every term I use is self-explanatory. Some are technical or legal terms, some are just inside jokes. This is a partial listing of terms it’s good to be able to refer to when reading.

Act 44 (2007)

  • A transportation funding package negotiated and enacted by the Pennsylvania Legislature and Governor Ed Rendell.  Collapsed when tolls on Interstate 80, the Act’s central new revenue source, were not permitted by the Federal Government.

Act 89 (2013)

  • A transportation funding package negotiated and enacted by the Pennsylvania Legislature and Governor Tom Corbett.


  • SEPTA’s City Transit Division, encompassing all regular city bus and trolley routes (1-89 and letters), Broad Street Subway, and the Market-Frankford Subway-Elevated.


  • SEPTA Regional Rail


  • SEPTA’s Suburban Transit Division, encompassing suburban bus and trolley routes (101+), and the Norristown High Speed Line.  Can be further subdivided into the Victory Division (a/k/a the Red Arrow Division), based at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, and the Frontier Division based in Norristown.

Turnpike of Anger, the

  • The New Jersey Turnpike/I-95 north to New York.

Turnpike of Shame, the

  • The Delaware and Maryland Turnpikes/I-95 south to Washington, DC.

Turnpike of Loathing, the

  • The Pennsylvania Turnpike/I-76 west to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

Urban Fractal, the

  • The set of walkable/transit-oriented places that can be easily accessed from the city center without a car, and form a coherent economic sphere around a city. For Philadelphia, this includes: most of the City of Philadelphia itself, excluding parts of the Far Northeast and Far Northwest; about half of Delaware County; the Main Line out to Paoli; the Borough of West Chester; other parts of Montgomery, Bucks and Chester Counties around Regional Rail stations; the City of Camden; the PATCO towns out to Haddonfield and the River Line towns; the City of Trenton; Claymont, Wilmington, and Newark.

    The term “Urban Fractal” comes from the concept of self-similarity in mathematics, and speaks to the idea that for connected walkable places, the street-level and block-level dynamics should be approximately the same, no matter where in the metropolitan area they are situated, or the political entity governing them. More specifically, it refers to a map of such places bearing passing resemblance to a graph of the Mandelbrot set.

If you ever have a question about a term I use that does not appear in this list, ask in comments, and I will reply directly and also list an entry here for future reference.

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