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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.


This internship position is located in our national office in downtown Washington, D.C., and is easily accessible from Metro’s red, orange, silver and blue lines.

Job Summary

About the Policy Team

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy 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. 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 in ISTEA and the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program in SAFETEA-LU.

Job Description

RTC’s Policy team has an opening for a two to four-month Transportation Policy Intern. The active-transportation movement continues to grow, and there is an opportunity to expand our partners in the movement. State funding for transportation presents a new and growing area of opportunity to secure additional funding for trails, walking and biking. This internship is an opportunity to help grow the movement and influence state level policy.

The intern will assist the team on one or more aspects of making our case to federal and state officials. Duties will include the following:

  • Assist in building a broad-based network of national, state and local organizations to achieve support for our active transportation policy agenda. Tasks include:
    • Identifying, categorizing, and cleaning up existing list of partner organizations
    • Creatively identifying new potential partner organizations with similar mission focuses
    • Target specific groups for future cultivation

  • Build out an online resource center of best transportation funding policy practices in states. Tasks may include:
    • Researching existing policy best practices
    • Designing the resource center and how it will be accessed online
    • Writing and producing content for this project for the RTC website
  • Conduct state legislative searches, track relevant legislation and monitor relevant policy news as it emerges
  • Additional communications and writing tasks, and potential cross-departmental work, as they arise, to assist with legislative advocacy work

The ideal candidate should be currently enrolled at a college or university, looking for course credit, and able to commit to a semester’s worth of interning (2 to 4 months).


Senior undergrad or master’s degree student working toward a degree in Planning, Public Policy, Social Sciences or Political Science with an emphasis on American Politics or Transportation Planning.  Applicants should be task oriented and highly organized and possess a strong interest in the topics of health, environment, sustainable transportation, pedestrians, bicycles or trails.


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. Nearby cultural attractions include the Smithsonian Institution, historical monuments, and the trendy Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Adams Morgan neighborhoods.

Work Environment

Normal office setting with low to moderate noise level.

How to Apply

Please use only one method of transmitting your résumé. No phone calls please, unless contacted for an in-person interview.

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

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

EOE. Diverse candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.