IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wiw/wiwrsa/ersa05p801.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Telecommuting and environmental policy - lessons from the Ecommute program

Author

Listed:
  • Margaret Walls
  • Peter Nelson

    ()

  • Elena Safirova

    ()

Abstract

In 1999 US Congress passed the National Air Quality and Telecommuting Act. This Act established pilot telecommuting programs (Ecommute) in five major US metropolitan areas with the express purpose of studying the feasibility of addressing air quality concerns through telecommuting. The major goal of the Ecommute program was to examine whether a particular type of economic incentive, tradable emissions credits from telecommuting, represents a viable strategy for reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and improving air quality. Under the Ecommute program, companies could generate emissions credits by reducing the VMT of their workforce through telework programs. They would then be able to sell the credits to firms that needed the reductions to comply with air quality regulations. The paper provides analysis of the results of Ecommute program. First, we establish some context for evaluating whether the envisioned trading scheme represents a feasible approach to reducing mobile source emissions and promoting telecommuting and review the limited experience with mobile source emissions trading programs. We find that from a regulatory perspective, the most substantial drawback to such a program is its questionable environmental integrity, resulting from difficulties in designing a sufficiently rigorous quantification protocols to accurately measure the emissions reductions from telecommuting. And perhaps more importantly, such a program is not likely to be cost-effective since the emissions reductions from a single telecommuter are very small. The paper also presents the first analysis of data collected from the Ecommute program. Using two-and-one-half years of data, we look at telecommuting frequency, mode choice, and emissions reductions as well as at reporting behavior and dropout rates. Finally, we use the program's emissions reductions findings to calculate how much telecommuting would be needed to reach an annual volatile organic compounds emission reduction target in each city.

Suggested Citation

  • Margaret Walls & Peter Nelson & Elena Safirova, 2005. "Telecommuting and environmental policy - lessons from the Ecommute program," ERSA conference papers ersa05p801, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p801
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa05/papers/801.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pizer, William & Kruger, Joseph, 2004. "The EU Emissions Trading Directive: Opportunities and Potential Pitfalls," Discussion Papers dp-04-24, Resources For the Future.
    2. 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.
    3. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2003. "The Paparazzi Take a Look at a Living Legend: The SO2 Cap-and-Trade Program for Power Plants in the United States," Discussion Papers dp-03-15, Resources For the Future.
    4. Nelson, Per-Kristian, 2004. "Emissions Trading with Telecommuting Credits: Regulatory Background and Institutional Barriers," Discussion Papers dp-04-45, Resources For the Future.
    5. Safirova, Elena & Gillingham, Kenneth & Houde, Sébastien, 2007. "Measuring marginal congestion costs of urban transportation: Do networks matter?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 734-749, October.
    6. 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.
    7. Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Experience with market-based environmental policy instruments," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 355-435 Elsevier.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    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:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p801. 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: (Gunther Maier). General contact details of provider: http://www.ersa.org .

    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.