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Common Acronyms Used with Commercial Wheelchair Vans

Learn more about the mobility industry and commercial vehicles.
Learn more about the mobility industry and commercial vehicles.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act —
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government’ programs and services. Further rules were developed that outlined requirements for wheelchair lifts and ramps in commercial vehicles used for wheelchair transport.

AE: Accessibility Enhanced
AE is another way of describing a vehicle with modifications designed specifically for wheelchair access. AE vans are typically converted for access using aftermarket mobility equipment, such as a wheelchair lift, ramp or specialty seating. AE is synonomous with WAV.

ANSI: American National Standards Institute —
The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. ANSI standards are commonly used in the manufacture of automobiles and commercial vans.

APTA: American Public Transportation Association —
The American Public Transportation Association is a nonprofit group of approximately 1,500 public and private sector member organizations that promotes and advocates for the interests of the public transportation industry in the United States. Public transit agencies are required to provide a certain level of paratransit wheelchair accessible service.

CDL: Commercial Driver License —
There are three classes of CDLs that determine the kinds of vehicles you’re permitted to drive: Class A, Class B, and Class C. CDL classification is also determined by the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and other specific requirements. Not all commercial wheelchair vans require the driver to have a CDL license.

CTAA: Community Transportation Association of America —
Founded in 1989, the Community Transportation Association of America’s (CTAA) members see mobility as a basic human right. They are a national, professional nonprofit membership association of organizations and individuals committed to removing barriers to isolation and to improving mobility for all people.

FHV: For Hire Vehicle —
For Hire Vehicles is a relatively newer term used to describe different classes of transportation services, such as: Taxi Liveries, Black Cars, Luxury Limousines, and High Volume For-Hire Services like Uber and Lyft. In most major US cities, taxi cab and high volume for-hire services must adhere to a city approved vehicle licensing program and also provide for a certain level of wheelchair accessibility.

FMCSA: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration —
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has safety regulatory oversight of commercial van operations and for-hire operators of small passenger-carrying vehicles that engage in interstate commerce.  Motor carriers are subject to regulatory oversight when their vehicles are used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers if the vehicle is designed or used to transport 9 to 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation.  

FMVSS: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards —
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) are U.S. federal regulations specifying design, construction, performance, and durability requirements for motor vehicles and regulated Automobile safety-related components, systems, and design features.

NCAL: National Center for Assisted Living —
T​he National Center for Assisted Living (N​CAL) is the assisted living voice of the American Health Care Association​ (AHCA). NCAL is dedicated to serving the needs of the assisted living community through​ n​a​tional advocacy, education, networking, professional development, and quality initiatives. NCAL’s state ​a​ffiliates​ work to create local education, advocate on behalf of assisted living providers, and provide the direct, ongoing support.​​​

NAFA: National Fleet Management Association —
NAFA is the world’s premier not-for-profit association for professionals who manage fleets of sedans, law enforcement vehicles, trucks, buses, as well as a wide range of military and off-road equipment for organizations. The NAFA Institute & Expo is a yearly event where new technology and equipment is displayed by multi-national vendors and the industry’s largest commercial van upfitters.

NEMT: Non-Emergency Medical Transportation —
Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) includes transportation services offered to patients and healthcare consumers who face extraordinary barriers getting to their medical appointments. NEMT is widely known to serve Medicaid beneficiaries. Commercial vehicles equipped with wheelchair lifts are commonly used with NEMT services.

NEMTAC: Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission —
NEMTAC is dedicated to ensuring safe medical transportation. Its development activities cover a broad scope, ranging from high-quality customer care, safe vehicle operations, life safety and ethical business practices. NEMTAC offers the only national accreditation program designed to enhance and promote the quality of care in America’s medical transportation system. Obtaining accreditation signifies that they have met the NEMT industry standards of excellence.

NHTSA: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration —
Dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety, NHTSA works daily to help prevent crashes and their attendant costs, both human and financial. The agency strives to exceed the expectations of the American public through its core values of Integrity, Service, and Leadership. By enforcing vehicle performance standards and partnerships with state and local governments, NHTSA reduces deaths, injuries and economic losses from motor vehicle crashes.

NMEDA: National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association —
NMEDA is the certifying body for the nationally recognized Quality Assurance Program (QAP™). Established in 1989, they are a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association serving the mobility industry in the US and Canada. NMEDA provides members with education and training programs, and advocates for wheelchair van mobility dealers and vehicle upfitters before Congress, state legislatures and federal regulatory agencies. Working with a NMEDA QAP dealer ensures that a client’s mobility needs are met by experienced, knowledgeable industry professionals upholding the highest quality standards in every vehicle conversion and installation.

NTEA: National Truck Equipment Association —
NTEA, also known as The Association for the Work Truck Industry, represents more than 2,100 companies that manufacture, distribute, install, sell and repair commercial vans and trucks, truck bodies, van and truck equipment, trailers and accessories. NTEA provides in-depth technical information, education, and member programs and services, and produces The Work Truck Show.

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer —
An Original Equipment Manufacturer, or OEM, is a company that manufactures and sells its products or parts directly to a buyer. OEMs commonly operate in the automobile, truck, SUV, van and commercial vehicle industries. The term ‘aftermarket’ is typically applied to any other alternative replacement part and generally not endorsed by a manufacturer, such as: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.  

PASS: Passenger Assistance, Safety and Sensitivity (Training) —
CTAA’s Passenger Assistance, Safety and Sensitivity (PASS) driver training program is the recognized industry standard when it comes to ensuring that wheelchair passengers are transported in the most safe, sensitive and careful manner possible. Learn more about PASS Training.

TLC: Taxi and Limousine Commission (NYC) —
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), created in 1971, is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating New York City’s Medallion (Yellow) taxi cabs, for-hire vehicles (community-based liveries, black cars and luxury limousines), commuter vans, and paratransit vehicles. 

VFH: Vehicle for Hire —
Vehicle for Hire, synonymous with For Hire Vehicles (FHV), is descriptive of the VFH industry whereby a vehicle is used to transport a passenger or small group of passengers for compensation on a single trip basis. Many local cities and municipalities have passed legislation to regulate the operation of vehicles for hire and what is also referred to as rideshare and high-volume services. In the Washington CD area, a newly reorganized Department of For-Hire Vehicles is now aligned with the mission to regulate the vehicle-for-hire industry to provide safe, affordable and accessible transportation. Its agency duties include regulating taxis, limousines, private vehicle operators, digital dispatch services and payment service providers. In New York City, Lyft, Uber and Via are rideshare companies that currently hold high-volume for-hire service licenses. 

WAV: Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle —
A WAV is another generic acronym used to describe any vehicle with modifications made specifically for wheelchair passengers and/or drivers. The “WAV Industry” is often used in a business sense to describe the entire wheelchair van market that includes consumer and commercial vans. A WAV can be an ambulette, conversion van, pickup truck, full-size van with a lift, handicap accessible minivan, SUV with a ramp, NEMT van, cutaway minibus or paratransit van — just to name a few.