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About Us

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), a nonprofit organization with more than 160,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, RTC’s national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1986, RTC’s national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


National Headquarters – Washington, D.C.

Job Summary

About RTC's Transportation Policy Work

RTC is a significant player in shifting national transportation policy to support goals of health, economy, livable communities and environmental justice. Our strategy is to focus on making system-wide improvements at the city and county level that offer safe, convenient connectivity so people of all ages and skill levels can get around on foot or by bike.

This strategy is needed to rectify an over-emphasis on providing transportation funding at the "project" level. Interns working with the RTC policy team will have the opportunity to learn from some of the best-trained and experienced policy professionals in Washington, D.C.

Prior successes include significant accomplishments such as establishing the U.S. DOT's Transportation Enhancements program, as well as the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program in SAFETEA-LU. Applicants can learn more about the current Campaign for Active Transportation.

Job Description

The policy team has an opening for a three- to four-month internship. Congress will soon start debating on how to shape the next decade of transportation investments, and this is an opportunity to play a role in our efforts to influence that process.

The Policy/Research Intern will assist the team in one or more aspects of making our case to Congress:

  • Assist the Director of Research in producing a report on the significance and potential of bicycling and walking beyond urban centers. This project will provide a narrative and policy-making tools to increase the stature of active transportation for regions of the U.S. that are not densely populated. Tasks may include—
    • Producing charts and graphs from quantitative data
    • Conducting testing and user trials of a new policy tool to make it more useful and usable
    • Gathering best-practices information from the U.S. and international successes in increasing the transportation mode share for walking and bicycling
    • Writing and producing content for this project for the RTC website
    • Assembling and rewriting stories gathered, and matching them with photos from RTC's extensive photo library

  • Assist the Director of Government Relationships in mobilizing stakeholders and organizations to achieve support for our primary federal legislative agenda. Tasks may include—
    • Identifying and contacting organizations around the country and/or in key legislative districts
    • Creatively identifying and establishing relationships with listservs, groups and other interested parties
    • Targeting specific groups for more in-depth relationship cultivation
  • Support the Senior Strategist for Policy Advocacy in the effort to build relationships and support through direct lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill


Qualified candidates are undergraduate seniors and graduate students seeking on-the-job experience, or professionals looking to hone their skill set. In all internships, excellent writing and communication skills are necessary. RTC operates off a Microsoft Office platform, and experience in Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and Outlook is expected. Applicants should be task oriented and highly organized, and possess a strong interest in environmental issues or related studies, including trail development.


While RTC internships are unpaid, individuals will enjoy the benefits of working in RTC’s National Headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., in a casual but professional environment.

Surrounded by a variety of restaurants and shops, our office is near the Red line at the Dupont Circle Metro stop and the Blue and Orange Lines at the Foggy Bottom Metro stop. Cultural attractions include the Smithsonian Institution, historical monuments, and the trendy Dupont Circle and Georgetown neighborhoods.

How to Apply

Please use only one method of transmitting your resume.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and résumé indicating a “ Photography Internship” preference, including how you learned of this announcement, to the following contact:

Elton A. Clark
Human Resources Manager
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Court, NW, 5th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20037

Fax: 202.223.9257