The definition ACoRP uses is the involvement of two or more individuals or organisations from outside the railway industry in the care of a station.
Adoption is most common in Britain among small and medium-sized stations. Adoption is most common at unstaffed stations, although many staffed stations have adopters too. It must be remembered that many stations are only staffed for part of the time, for example only for a single morning or daytime shift, with no staff present in the evenings or for most or all of the weekend.
Generally a key aim of the group is to improve the ambience of the station and its environs, thereby making it safer, more secure and more attractive and encouraging more people to use it. Increasingly a secondary aim is to promote the train service locally, using methods such as events, simple leaflets, and presentations to community groups.