IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Using Travel Diary Data to Estimate the Emissions Impacts of Transportation Strategies: The Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project

Listed author(s):
  • Henderson, Dennis K.
  • Koenig, Brett E.
  • Mokhtarian, Patricia L.

Transportation control measures are often implemented for their environmental benefits, but there is a need to quantify what benefits actually occur. Telecommuting has the potential to reduce the number of daily trips and miles traveled with personal vehicles and, consequently, the overall emissions resulting from vehicle activity. This search studies the emissions impacts of telecommuting for the participants of the Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project (PSTDP). The California Air Resources Board's emissions models, EMFAC7F and BURDEN7F, are used to estimate the emissions on telecommuting days and non-telecommuting days, based on travel diaries completed by program participants. This study, among the first of its kind, represents the most sophisticated application of emissions models to travel diary data. Analysis of the travel diary data and the emissions model output supports the hypothesis that telecommuting has beneficial transportation and air quality impacts. The most important results are that telecommuting decreases the number of daily trips (by 30%), the vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) (by 63%), and the number of cold starts (by 44%), especially those taking place in early morning. These reductions are shown to have a large effect on daily emissions, with a 50% to 60% decrease in pollutants generated by a telecommuter's personal vehicle use on a telecommuting day. These net savings are almost entirely due to the elimination of commute trips, as non-commute trips increased by 0.33 trips per person-day (9% of the total trips), and the non-commute VMT increased by 2.2 miles. Overall reductions in travel and emissions of this magnitude are observed because the telecommuters in this sample are long-distance commuters, with commutes twice as long as the regional average. However, even as telecommuting adoption moves into the mainstream, its net impacts are still expected to be beneficial -- a reduction in VMT and in emissions. It is important to note that when the level of telecommuting is considered (that is, the percentage of work days that employees actually telecommute), the weekly savings are a much smaller proportion of total weekday travel. Also, these findings represent average per-capita reductions; the aggregate (or overall, regionwide) impacts are determined by scaling these reductions by the number of program participants. Thus, the aggregate effectiveness of telecommuting must take into account the number of people likely to participate as telecommuters and how often they telecommute, not just the per-capita, per-occasion impacts.

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

Paper provided by University of California Transportation Center in its series University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers with number qt0g01v83p.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Jan 1996
Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt0g01v83p
Contact details of provider: Postal:
109 McLaughlin Hall, Mail Code 1720, Berkeley, CA 94720-1720

Phone: 510-642-3585
Fax: 510-643-3955
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

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.:

in new window

  1. Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 1991. "Telecommuting and Travel: State of the Practice, State of the Art," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4zc486ph, University of California Transportation Center.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt0g01v83p. 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.