Telework and Sustainable Travel During the COVID-19 Era

58 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020 Last revised: 29 Oct 2020

See all articles by William Riggs

William Riggs

University of San Francisco - School of Management; California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo; San Jose State University

Date Written: June 29, 2020

Abstract

This working paper explores how working from home (e.g. telework) may or may not have changed daily travel--both how and why you go places. This is of particular importance in light of mandated work from home events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. While total driving and vehicle-miles-traveled may have declined slightly due to telework and shelter-in-place orders that reduced work-based trips, data illustrates an increase in total trips from 3.97 to 4.45 in total and that these additional 26% of trips have been induced by working from home. This means that while VMT and the share of driving may have declined, the number of trips and engine cold starts may have gone up. This provides a cautionary lesson to planners and engineers seeking to address climate and congestion goals through telework efforts and underscores the importance of thinking critically about the future of urban development, transit and behavioral strategies.

Keywords: COVID-19, telework, travel behavior, mode substitution

JEL Classification: R40, Z18, I18

Suggested Citation

Riggs, William, Telework and Sustainable Travel During the COVID-19 Era (June 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3638885 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3638885

William Riggs (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Management ( email )

San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo ( email )

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.williamriggs.com

San Jose State University ( email )

San Jose, CA 95192-0066
United States

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