State Agency Advocacy Specialist
Fully Remote Washington, DC

About Us

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit Connect with RTC @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Job Summary

The State Agency Advocacy Specialist will lead RTC’s efforts to improve the state implementation of federal and state funding programs and policies related to trails, walking and biking. The specialist will work to identify and document best practices in state-level administration of priority policies and programs—including Transportation Alternatives, Recreational Trails, new federal policies and programs addressing safety and climate, and state active-transportation funding sources—and to replicate those practices across states. This work will be strategically focused to ensure that more public funding from more sources is more equitably distributed to accelerate the completion of connected trail and active-transportation networks accessible to all. 

The State Agency Advocacy Specialist will work closely with RTC staff across departments and build enduring relationships with relevant state agency staff and advocacy partners. The specialist will use collaborative tactics, such as helping to establish peer learning opportunities, and will also employ advocacy tools to persuade agencies to improve, as appropriate to the context. Administration of Transportation Alternatives by state departments of transportation will be the single biggest focus, but the specialist also will work to encourage the strong planning and implementation of new federal programs addressing traffic safety and transportation-related climate emissions, as well as select state funding programs that RTC has helped to establish. Program targets may evolve over time to maximize impact. 

Job Location

This position is located in our Washington, D.C., National Headquarters, but remote candidates in a state of strategic significance to RTC will be considered. Proof of vaccination is required for all staff.

Job Duties

The State Agency Advocacy Specialist will lead efforts to improve state implementation of federal and state funding programs and policies related to trails, walking and biking by executing the following duties and related strategies that may be identified going forward: 

  • Partner with RTC’s Research Director and Vice President of Policy on the Transportation Alternatives Data Exchange, including taking lead responsibility to write an annual report on state implementation of the Transportation Alternatives program. The report provides substantial data for accountability, but we will make the information more accessible and practical to facilitate identification and sharing of best practices.   
  • Serve as a resource for the trails and active transportation movement on how Transportation Alternatives works and best practices in implementation, including fielding technical questions and making regular presentations to partners and decision-makers. 
  • Build relationships with Transportation Alternatives managers in state departments of transportation (DOT), as well as higher level managers in DOTs, to advocate for the adoption of best practices in program implementation, including fully utilizing available resources in a strategic and equitable manner. Establish peer-learning opportunities across states.  
  • Build relationships with agency staff responsible for implementing the Recreational Trails Program, who often reside within a state resource or conservation agency, to identify and advocate for best practices in the administration of the program.
  • Identify and promote opportunities for agencies and advocates to position safe walking and biking networks as a solution to safety, climate and equity goals. Track and influence state implementation of new federal programs and policies relating to safety, climate and equity. This includes asserting the value of traffic-separated routes in the Safe Streets and Roads for All program and in deploying Highway Safety Improvement dollars to protect vulnerable road users, as well as the value of mode shift in effectively implementing the Carbon Reduction Program. 
  • Promote strong implementation of select state-level trail and active-transportation funding programs that RTC has helped to launch.
  • Work with RTC staff and our state and local partners to increase knowledge about relevant federal and state programs and foster effective ongoing advocacy targeted at agency staff regarding program implementation. 


Basic Qualifications and Personal Attributes

A minimum of seven years of experience influencing state agency policies and/or practices in a professional role. The candidate should have direct experience working in a state agency, such as a DOT, or advocacy experience working to influence state agencies.

  • Outstanding writing and presentation skills
  • Experience in building relationships, organizing and convening people, and building consensus 
  • Excellent interpersonal and relationship management skills
  • Ability to identify trends and best practices using data and to communicate their practical significance effectively
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field 
  • Knowledge of trails and active transportation (preferred)
  • Knowledge of applicable programs, like Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails (preferred)

Work Environment

Normal office setting with low to moderate noise level; up to 10% travel required

Employer's Rights

RTC reserves the right to revise, change or reclassify this job description at any time in accordance with RTC’s business needs. This job description is by no means an implied contract.

Commitment to Diversity

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy seeks diverse, passionate and qualified individuals who want to make a difference in the world. RTC is an equal opportunity employer. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, age, and other legally protected characteristics.

If you need a reasonable accommodation because of a disability for any part of the employment process, please e-mail and provide the nature of your request and your contact information.

Salary Description
Minimum $85,000.00 per year