Connecting Telework, Travel Behavior, and System Performance

Research Team: Michael McNally (lead), Rezwana Rafiq

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: The COVID-19 pandemic and the imposed social distancing measures led many workers to adopt telecommuting—working from home—arrangements on a large scale. The massive changes in work activity may have long-term impacts on domestic and travel behavior, including how people organize their work, where that work is performed, how activities and travel are scheduled, and what travel mode is used. Telework has been touted as a potentially effective travel demand management strategy as well as an environmental management tool for reducing travel and greenhouse gas emissions under Senate Bill 375. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, despite creating immense disruption to our lives, also offered an opportunity to experience how telework policies and practices can affect daily travel, should it remain a significant part of the work landscape.

Project Description: This project will investigate (1) whether teleworking contributes to reductions in individual and aggregate-level trip making and total distance traveled and (2) how teleworking impacts mode usage. Researchers will investigate using metrics such as: activity time-use, the number of work and non-work trips made, distance traveled, and mode usage including public transit and shared mobility services. The project will also involve both primary data collection and the use of existing data from the American Time Use Survey (2019 – 2021); the Arizona State University COVID Future Survey Data (2021); and Traffic Volume Trends (2019 – 2021) from the Federal Highway Administration.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $100,000