- (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Rail enthusiasts, get excited for the month to come. The four-day conference known as Rail~Volution is coming to Washington, D.C. October 16-19 at the Marriott Wardman Park. The conference wants to bring politicians, transit officials, tech obsessives, and other community leaders together to talk transportation for a few days in a big welcome reception, in mobile workshops, and in a marketplace for developers. More than 300 people are expected to attend.
D.C. in particular seems like a city primed for such train discussions, from WMATA to Amtrak to MARC. The conference says that D.C. is the perfect destination for the conference because "our region is constantly striving to create a balanced, integrated transportation system and well-connected neighborhoods." Sure, that sounds true enough. The list of 20 mobile workshops is online, and topics include bike commuting, how to grow the Green Line, revitalizing Union Station, northern Virginia street cars, and many other transit topics. Speakers include U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and founder of the Congress Bike Caucus, Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Greater Greater Washington's David Alpert will be speaking on a panel. Both the Downtown Business Improvement District as well as the Georgetown BID are sponsoring the conference, among others.
Before I go any further, however, remember — we're talking a national conference and, like our Metro fare, it is expensive. It's $425 now and increases to $475 after September 23. Some scholarships were available, at least, but the deadline for those applications has passed (and even then, scholarship attendees can't attend the mobile workshops).
One deadline that remains open, however, is that for the Rail~Volution Film Fest. You can still submit short films before September 21. "The Rail~volution film fest selection committee seeks entries that pertain to the broad topics of transit options and livability," the conference material says. "They may focus locally, regionally, nationally or internationally." Submissions should not exceed five minutes, and the fest will happen on Monday, October 17.
The conference has many dimensions to engage people in the weeks leading up to it. I would advise checking out the organizers' regularly updated blog that touches on various transit topics.
See the conference's site for more details.