Book iconNew technology inevitably leads to new jargon and acronyms. This page provides guidance on the terms we are using in our work on new transport technologies. We will expand this list over time.

Email us at to suggest refinements, or other terms and acronyms that could be added to this page.

Aviationplane icon

Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B)

A cooperative surveillance technology, in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked. The information can be received by air traffic control ground stations as a replacement for secondary radar. It can also be received by other aircraft to provide situational awareness and allow self separation.

Required navigation performance (RNP)

A type of performance-based navigation (PBN) that allows an aircraft to fly a specific path between two 3D-defined points in space. RNAV and RNP systems are fundamentally similar. The key difference between them is the requirement for on-board performance monitoring and alerting. A navigation specification that includes a requirement for on-board navigation performance monitoring and alerting is referred to as an RNP specification. One not having such a requirement is referred to as an RNAV specification.


An automated border processing system being introduced by the New Zealand Customs Service. It is a secure and simple system that performs the customs and immigration checks normally made by a Customs Officer when a traveller arrives in or departs from New Zealand. Passengers must hold an ePassport.

Read more about SmartGate on the New Zealand Customs Service web site(external link)

Terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS)

The actual systems in current use are known as ground proximity warning system (GPWS) and enhanced GPWS. TAWS aims to prevent "controlled flight into terrain" (CFIT) accidents.

Traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS)

An aircraft collision avoidance system designed to reduce mid-air collisions between aircraft. It monitors the airspace around an aircraft for other aircraft equipped with a corresponding active transponder, independent of air traffic control, and warns pilots of the presence of other transponder-equipped aircraft which may present a threat of mid-air collision.

Unmanned aircraft system (UAS)

An unmanned aircraft system (UAS), commonly known as a drone or previously known as Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and also referred to as an unpiloted aerial vehicle and a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard.

Read more about Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on our website

Land TransportRoad vehicles icon

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)

Systems developed to automate/adapt/enhance vehicle systems for safety and better driving. Safety features are designed to avoid collisions and accidents, by offering technologies that alert the driver to potential problems, or to avoid collisions by implementing safeguards and taking over control of the vehicle. Adaptive features may automate lighting, provide adaptive cruise control, automate braking, incorporate GPS/traffic warnings, connect to Smartphones, alert driver to other cars or dangers, keep the driver in the correct lane or show what is in blind spots. In Section 6 on Page 32 of the ITS Action Plan discusses ADAS.

Electronic stability control (ESC)

A computerised technology that improves a vehicle's stability, by detecting and reducing skidding. When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help "steer" the vehicle where the driver intends to go. Braking is automatically applied to wheels individually, such as the outer front wheel to counter over steering, or the inner rear wheel to counter under steering. Some ESC systems also reduce engine power until control is regained.

Road user charges (RUC)

Almost everyone using New Zealand’s roads contributes towards their upkeep. Most road users pay levies in the prices of their fuel. Others, such as drivers of light diesel vehicles and diesel-powered heavy vehicles like trucks, pay through road user charges (RUC) based on distance, weight and the type (including axle configuration) of vehicle.

Read more about RUC on NZ Transport Agency's website(external link)

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Automatic Identification System (AIS)

An automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites. When satellites are used to detect AIS signatures, the term Satellite-AIS (S-AIS) is used. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

Electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS)

A computer-based navigation information system that complies with International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations and can be used as an alternative to paper nautical charts. The Section 4.8 of the ITS Action Plan on geospatial mapping refers to ECDIS.

Multimodal Transportfreight icon

Global navigation satellite system (GNSS)

A satellite navigation system with global coverage. Examples include the United States Global Positioning System (GPS)(external link) and the Russian GLONASS(external link). The European Union plans to launch Galileo(external link) while China plans to launch BeiDou-2(external link).

ISO TC 204

A technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) responsible for the standardisation of information, communication and control systems in the field of urban and rural surface transportation, including intermodal and multimodal aspects thereof, traveller information, traffic management, public transport, commercial transport, emergency services and commercial services in the intelligent transport systems (ITS) field.

Read more about ISO TC 204(external link)

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)

Systems in which information, data processing, communication and sensor technologies are applied to vehicles (including trains, aircraft and ships), transport infrastructure and users.

Satellite-based Augmentation System (SBAS)

A system that supports wide-area or regional augmentation, through the use of additional satellite-broadcast messages. Such systems are commonly composed of multiple ground stations, located at accurately-surveyed points. The ground stations take measurements of one or more of the GNSS satellites, the satellite signals, or other environmental factors, which may impact the signal received by the users. Using these measurements, information messages are created and sent to one or more satellites for broadcast to the end users. This is one method of improving a navigation system's attributes, such as accuracy, reliability, and availability, through the integration of external information into the calculation process. SBAS examples include the United States Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)(external link) and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS)(external link). Section 4.7 of the ITS Action Plan discusses positioning systems.