Become a Transportation Ambassador

Information
Several people sit on bikes looking forward, preparing for a community ride
Transportation Ambassadors are a group of volunteers who help the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) spread the word about transportation resources and programs through community events, and outreach.
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Transportation Ambassadors 2022 

We’re excited to connect with a new cohort of Transportation Ambassadors in 2022! If you are interested in participating, please email ambassadors@portlandoregon.gov. Curious about what it means to be a Transportation Ambassador and what’s involved? Read on below for more information.  

What are Transportation Ambassadors? 

  • Are you interested in learning about transportation justice and helping all people experience safety and joy while traveling? 

  • Do you care about creating vibrant communities where all members can thrive? 

  • Are you a high school or college student looking towards transportation, city planning or community engagement as a career?  

  • Do you like having fun and connecting with new and interesting people? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) wants you as a Transportation Ambassador! 

Transportation Ambassadors are volunteers who share information about transportation resources at public events in order to keep Portlanders connected and active. They also get together socially to discuss how they can improve the program – and to just have fun! 

Transportation impacts so much of our lives so the choices we make affect access to jobs and education, climate change, the quality of air we breathe and our overall well-being.  That’s why it’s crucial PBOT gets as much information about transportation options out to as many Portlanders as possible.  

Youth Transportation Ambassadors

We are excited to continue developing the "Youth Transportation Ambassador" program. We're looking for students 16 years and older who are interested in public transportation, urban development, city planning, community development - or any young people excited by being active and encouraging others to do the same. Our goal is by giving you volunteer opportunities; we will give you an insight into how transportation plans are developed and what issues go into the decision-making process. You’ll get to share your perspective on the issues that matter to you most and help shape how you and other young people in the city get around. If this sound like you, hop on board. 

What does a Transportation Ambassador do?  

Two fair attendees being helped by a transportation ambassador at an outdoor information kiosk.

Ambassadors support a variety of community and transportation focused programs. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, our 43 Transportation Ambassadors were active, putting in over 170 hours at more than 20 activities. These activities included the painting of the Portland Pride Plaza, the grand opening of the NW Flander’s Crossing, a Hollaback training on street harassment intervention and tabling at the Rosewood Initiative Fair. 

Here’s what some of the Ambassadors have to say about the program:  

  • Karle W: “There's so much variety in what you can do. There’s bike rides; there’s hikes; there’s tabling events that are really fun - you get to meet people and talk about public transportation.” 

  • Richard R: “It means helping to get the city working better and getting more connected.”   

  • Debbie G on Hollabacks training: “I really benefited from this Ambassador discussion group. It was very interesting to hear other opinions and thoughts about Street Harassment etc.” 

A Transportation Ambassador might find themselves:   

  • Supporting outreach for a program by attending a community event 

  • Taking photos or videos at events or for communication materials 

  • Sharing information about programs or resources with your community 

  • Encouraging people in their networks to take part in activities and events 

  • Helping others get comfortable taking new modes of transportation by answering questions and providing encouragement 

  • Translating materials 

Transportation Ambassadors might be volunteering for:  

  • BIKETOWN - Support the expansion of BIKETOWN, Portland’s shared bikes which are going electric! These shared bikes are available for anyone to use and the introduction of electric bikes and newly expanded service area into St. Johns and East Portland has added a whole new way for Portlanders to get around. Through community engagement you will help share both this new system, and the joys of e-bikes with others.    

  • Safe Routes to School – Support students as schools return to in-person learning. As an ambassador you will support school activities like bike safety education in middle and high schools helping with group rides.  

  • Sunday Parkways - Through multiple events each year, Sunday Parkways open Portland’s largest public space, its streets for neighbors and visitors to walk, bike, roll, play and connect with each other. These events draw thousands of people each year and rely on volunteers to help make the events safe and fun for all participants. Each event route highlights the city’s network of neighborhood greenways and new or upcoming transportation projects that help people get around.  

  • Portland By Cycle - Portland by Cycle offers free guided bike rides, skill-building classes and support. We provide information and a supportive setting for adults new to cycling, new to Portland, or just getting back on the bike. This year one-third of the activities will be open to the general public and two-thirds hosted in collaboration with community-based organizations working with BIPOC groups and immigrant New Portlanders. 

  • Neighborhood Greenways – Portland has over 100 miles of neighborhood greenways, which are great for people looking for comfortable and safe options for walking, biking, rolling and scooting. Help people discover Portland's network of neighborhood greenways and how these routes can help them get around.  

  • SmartTrips – PBOT's SmartTrips program has many great printed and digital materials to help people get around without cars, such as our Suggested Walks & Bike Rides, The Portland Bike. Help grow awareness for these materials and resources. 

Is it fun?  

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2021, the Transportation Ambassadors gathered for social activities. When we couldn’t meet in-person we gathered for virtual meet-ups on Zoom. We got together for an end-of-the-season walk through Peacock Lane and a few of us made this video to highlight the benefits BIKETOWN:  

How do I join?  

Your only pre-requisite for joining the Transportation Ambassadors is a desire to make Portland a more livable city by improving our transportation system and getting the word out to fellow Portlanders.  

Ambassadors are asked to participate in an orientation and a minimum of two activities each year. Once you sign up you will receive notifications for each opportunity, and you can choose the ones that fit your interests and availability.  Take a quick look at this video for an in-depth description of the program.

Email us at Ambassadors@portlandoregon.gov for information.