International Rail Forum for North America

In January 2016, UITP North America launched the International Rail Forum for North America to help connect transit agencies in North America with its 1,700 members worldwide.

The Forum meeting is a center for discussion amongst public transit agencies in North America that operate rail systems and an opportunity to bring the region into a global discourse about best practices in the industry. As a part of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), the International Rail Forum for North America consolidates the best of a global discourse and focuses on its implications on North American transit.

The forum benefits from the simple, secure, and effective UITP web tools to share reports, studies, and information with the transit community. It also will be an essential part of UITP’s efforts to involve North America on the discussion on the future of public transit.

The primary objective of the Forum is to connect North America’s rail transit agencies to the broader international community that is rich with perspectives and a experience to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices. The Forum hopes to accomplish this mission by integrating the existing UITP global rail committees and expert groups into its activities and products to create a consolidated and focused global experience, tailored to North America. This falls within UITP’s broader objective of supporting transit agencies worldwide by coordinating and organizing a unified front to promote public transit access for all.

Each year, the International Rail Forum for North America will identify critical issues and themes that transit agencies in North America are concerned about and will host workshops, research or conferences to help its members build the capacity to determine solutions, connect and share resources and attain critical knowledge in each subject.

The first Forum meeting took place December 2016 in New York City's MTA Headquarters, with an above expected attendance of 80 professionals. The specific aim of the Forum was to enrich the program with topics that are relevant to this large, multifaceted, complicated and dynamic Region, and judging from the comments received it was a great success! The reflections heard at the Forum from various agencies certainly reflect the challenges and needs that are important to this Region.

The second Forum meeting that took place December 2017 was hosted by WMATA and supported by APTA and CUTA. It focused on “Public Transit as a Business” - how to position transit systems as a resource that can leverage commercial opportunities and can generate other funding streams for future investment.

The third Forum meeting took place October 2018 in Los Angeles, and was hosted by the LA Metro. The theme of the Forum was "The innovative metro: a foundation for new mobility" and it was held in conjunction with the UITP metropolitan railways assembly.

For our next International Rail Forum for North America we are going up north to Canada! It will be hosted by CUTA in Calgary, November 2019, as part of the CUTA Annual Conference. Stay tuned for more information.

As always, UITP is here to serve your needs, so please contact us with topics of interest that you would like to be considered for the next Forum meeting.