Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

An Empirical Analysis of Causality in the Relationship Between Telecommuting and Residential and Job Relocation


Author Info

  • Ory, David T
  • Mokhtarian, Patricia L


Researchers have questioned whether the ability to telecommute is encouraging workers to relocate to more desirable residences farther from work, and in doing so, exacerbate sprawl and increase their net vehicle-miles traveled. The research presented here directly asks, is telecommuting a "friend or foe" of travel-reducing policies? Given that telecommuters tend to have longer commutes than non-telecommuters, is the ability to telecommute prompting workers to move farther away from work? Or, does the ability to telecommute allow those who for other reasons have already chosen, or would in any case choose, to live in more distant locations to commute less frequently? These questions are addressed using data collected from more than 200 State of California workers, including current, former, and non-telecommuters. The survey inquired retrospectively about their residential and job relocations, as well as their telecommuting engagements, over a ten-year period. The results indicate that, as expected, residential and job moves that are temporally associated with telecommuting episodes tend to increase commute time and length compared to other moves – though the evidence is not statistically significant. Analyzing the temporal order of telecommuting engagement and residential relocation, the data show that those who are telecommuting and then move actually tend to relocate closer to their workplace, whereas those who begin telecommuting following a residential relocation tended to have moved much farther from their workplace. For job relocations, the results differed slightly. Here, both key casual groups (those who are inferred to have their relocation caused by telecommuting and those who are inferred to have their telecommuting engagement caused by relocation) relocate, on average, to jobs farther from home. Analysis of the stated importance of telecommuting to specific residential relocations did not show a convincing effect toward more distant moves. Linear regression models of the change in one-way commute length following a residential relocation confirm that the beginning of a telecommuting engagement following the move is associated with increases in commute length, whereas engagement before the move is not. Thus, the evidence more strongly supports the positive view of telecommuting, that it is ameliorating the negative transportation impacts of moves that occur for other reasons.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:;origin=repeccitec
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis in its series Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt5xv6r94d.

as in new window
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:itsdav:qt5xv6r94d

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 2028 Academic Surge, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616
Phone: (530) 752-6548
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: UCD-ITS-RR-05-03; Engineering;

Other versions of this item:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Qing Shen, 2000. "New telecommunications and residential location flexibility," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(8), pages 1445-1463, August.
  2. Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Handy, Susan L. & Salomon, Ilan, 1995. "Methodological issues in the estimation of the travel, energy, and air quality impacts of telecommuting," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 283-302, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Ory, David T & Mokhtarian, Patricia L, 2007. "Which Came First, the Telecommuting or the Residential Relocation? An Empirical Analysis of Causality," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt18r9588k, University of California Transportation Center.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:itsdav:qt5xv6r94d. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.