What Is Rail~Volution?

What Is Rail~Volution?

calhoun_bikers_webAs a learning network, Rail~Volution brings together people, like you, who are passionate about building livable communities with transit.

A Movement.

A Network.

An Event.

Rail~Volution is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that is the intersection of transit, livable communities and transit-oriented development. Whether an established expert or a new professional Rail~Volution can help you: jumpstart a project with fresh ideas for both public and private sectors, engage your community with useful tools for advocates and elected officials, shape the future with new contacts and perspective and energize your career.

Rail~Volution consists of three full-time staff, several contract workers, a Board of Directors, and a National Steering Committee made up of representatives from each of its Partner and Affiliate organizations. A Local Host Committee is formed each year and is made up of representative interests from that year’s host city or region, as well as additional representatives from Partner and Affiliate organizations in that region.

Why Should You Get Involved?

Perspective. Collaboration. Partnership. 

rv2011_whatisrailvolution3Rail~Volution is non-partisan and mode agnostic. At our annual conference you will be exposed to some of the bet minds on livability in the country and  world. You'll hear concrete examples that illistrate the rediscovery of community that is sweeping the country.  You'll have a chance to ask the hard questions and explore cutting-edge ideas in more than 80 workshops, networking events and mobile workshops.

We come together with citizen activists, developers, transit operators, non profit and business leaders, planners, local elected officials and government officials to share expertise and practical lessons. Click here to read about our Vision, Mission and Values.


Rail~Volution started in 1989 as a series of outreach and advocacy events geared towards developing real advocates for the Portland metropolitan region's MAX Light Rail System. At the conference in 1994, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (District 3, Oregon) announced that in 1995, Rail~Volution would become a national conference. From this point, Rail~Volution acted as a loose federation of sponsoring Partners and Affiliates, united by common interests and dedication. In 2000, the National Steering Committee realized the need for a more formal organization, and a strategic planner was brought in to assist this process. The National Steering Committee and Board of Directors decided Rail~Volution should develop into a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.

Currently, Rail~Volution is undergoing another strategic planning process to become more than a conference and fufill our mission and vision that America's cities and regions be transformed into livable places — healthy, economically vibrant, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable- where people have transportation choices.