IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/rff/dpaper/dp-04-44.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Review of the Literature on Telecommuting and Its Implications for Vehicle Travel and Emissions

Author

Listed:
  • Walls, Margaret

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Safirova, Elena

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

In this paper, we review 20 relatively recent empirical studies of telecommuting, all of which focus on the trip reduction perspective. The studies include earlier ones with smaller datasets, such as some pilot studies of individual employers, and more recent studies based on broader surveys of both telecommuters and nontelecommuters. We focus on the results of the studies with respect to participation and frequency of telecommuting, the effects on vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) and trips, and in some cases, the impacts on emissions and air quality. Although there does not seem to be a consensus, there is a predominant view that certain factors increase both the likelihood of telecommuting and the frequency of telecommuting. These factors are having children in the household, being female, having more education, having a longer commute trip, having worked longer for one’s current employer and/or in one’s current position, and having a job that does not require face-to-face contact with coworkers or clients. Most studies of VMT and trip reductions from telecommuting show that telecommuters significantly reduce both daily trips and VMT. Not only does commute VMT fall, but noncommute VMT appears to fall in some cases as well. The studies of VMT, however, tend to focus on the reductions for individual employees who choose to telecommute. Although an individual telecommuter may experience a sharp reduction in VMT, total benefits depend on how many people are telecommuting, how often they are doing so, and the duration of telecommuting. More research is needed with larger and more broadly based datasets across employers that include both individual employee characteristics and employer and job characteristics. This would allow a better analysis of telecommuting choice and frequency as well as more reliable estimates of VMT and emissions impacts. This discussion paper is one in a series of four RFF papers on telecommuting published in December 2004. Discussion papers 04-42 and 04-43 present analyses of two recent datasets on telecommuters. In 04-42, Nelson and Walls analyze data from five pilot cities enrolled in the "ecommute" program. In 04-43, Safirova and Walls analyze data from a broad survey conducted by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) of telecommuters and nontelecommuters. Finally, in 04-45 Nelson presents an assessment of institutional and regulatory barriers to using telecommuting in a mobile source emissions trading program. The studies by RFF are part of a larger report on the ecommute program completed by the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information about the overall project can be found on the ecommute/GETF website: http://www.ecommute.net/program/.

Suggested Citation

  • Walls, Margaret & Safirova, Elena, 2004. "A Review of the Literature on Telecommuting and Its Implications for Vehicle Travel and Emissions," Discussion Papers dp-04-44, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-04-44
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-04-44.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mannering, Jill S. & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 1995. "Modeling the Choice of Telecommuting Frequency in California: An Exploratory Analysis," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt08s817dr, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. Joanne Pratt, 2000. "Asking the right questions about telecommuting: Avoiding pitfalls in surveying homebased work," Transportation, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 99-116, February.
    3. Henderson, Dennis & Mohktarian, Patricia, 1996. "Impacts of Center-Based Telecommuting on Travel and Emissions: Analysis of the Puget Sound Demonstration Project," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt3tt6d46w, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    4. P L Mokhtarian & I Salomon, 1996. "Modeling the choice of telecommuting: 2. A case of the preferred impossible alternative," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(10), pages 1859-1876, October.
    5. Mokhtarian, Patricia L & Koenig, Brett E & Henderson, Dennis K, 1995. "The Travel and Emissions Impacts of Telecommuting for the State of California Telecommuting Pilot Project," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6rw695kc, University of California Transportation Center.
    6. Sangho Choo & Patricia Mokhtarian & Ilan Salomon, 2005. "Does telecommuting reduce vehicle-miles traveled? An aggregate time series analysis for the U.S," Transportation, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 37-64, January.
    7. Kitamura, Ryuichi & Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Pendyala, Ram M., 1991. "An Evaluation of Telecommuting As a Trip Reduction Measure," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt1096f8wt, University of California Transportation Center.
    8. Varma, Krishna & Ho, Chaang-Iuan & Stanek, David & Mokhtarian, Patricia, 1998. "Duration and Frequency of Telecenter Use: Once a Telecommuter, Always a Telecommuter?," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt61t9j2vb, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    9. Walls, Margaret & Nelson, Per-Kristian, 2004. "Telecommuting and Emissions Reductions: Evaluating Results from the ecommute Program," Discussion Papers dp-04-42, Resources For the Future.
    10. Safirova, Elena, 2002. "Telecommuting, traffic congestion, and agglomeration: a general equilibrium model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 26-52, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. O'Keefe, Paul & Caulfield, Brian & Brazil, William & White, Peter, 2016. "The impacts of telecommuting in Dublin," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 13-20.
    2. Margaret Walls & Safirova, Elena & Jiang, Yi, 2006. "What Drives Telecommuting? The Relative Impact of Worker Demographics, Employer Characteristics, and Job Types," Discussion Papers dp-06-41, Resources For the Future.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    telecommuting; mode choice; air quality; emissions;

    JEL classification:

    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-04-44. 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: (Webmaster). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/degraus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.