What Is Rail~Volution?

What Is Rail~Volution?

For over 20 years, Rail~Volution has been on a mission to build more livable communities with transit. We are passionate about transit and livability because they truly make a place better- economically, socially and environmentally.

A movement.

A resource.

A network of people.

We serve as a catalyst for building livable communities with transit by partnering, equipping and connecting people and institutions at all levels. We envision America’s cities and regions transformed into livable places -- healthy, economically vibrant, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable -- where people have transportation choices.

What is the Rail~Volution Conference?

The only conference that showcases the link between land use, transportation and development. A meticulously curated annual event where planners, community activists, transit officials, consultants, developers, lenders, grassroots organizations, academics, elected officials, health advocates and housing advocates share the most cutting edge information in their fields. For over 20 years, the Rail~Volution conference has been the place to engage in thoughtful discussions with change makers and influencers from over 300 communities, a place to share ideas and breakthroughs, frustrations and inspiration, about building livable communities with transit. 

Rail~Volution has a strong and engaged network. While our network continues to grow, our foundation consists of committed Board of Directors and Partners. Our Partners are cutting-edge organizations and the beating heart of our network. Partners contribute time and expertise of leaders in their organizations to comprise the think tank also known as the National Steering Committee. The National Steering Committee contributes to our programs and creates the content for the annual conference. Check out a list of our Board of Directors, Partners and National Steering Committee members. 

Why Should You Get Involved?

Perspective. Collaboration. Partnership. Innovation.

rv2011_whatisrailvolution3We are diverse. We bring together more minds, perspectives and disciplines than any other organization. We welcome local, regional and national stakeholders from all levels of public and private sectors. We are non-partisan and help communities integrate transit from buses to rail and bikes to pedestrians.

At our annual conference you will be exposed to some of the best minds on livability in the country and world. You'll hear concrete examples that illustrate 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 work with community leaders, city planners, elected officials, activists, developers, transit operators, engineers, architects and housing advocates. In strengthening the capacity of these individuals we drive transit-related and community design policies that maximize the benefits and place making potential of a transit investment. Learn 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, united by common interests and dedication. In 2000, the National Steering Committee realized the need for a more formal organization and developed into a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Rail~Volution has hosted more than 20 conferences all over the United States. From Seattle to Miami, Rail~Volution has showcased the innovations and transit projects that are proving that transit investment creates jobs, increases health, and creates vibrant livable cities. 

Our vision is that America's cities and regions be transformed into livable places — healthy, economically vibrant, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable- where people have transportation choices.