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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Effectiveness of Telecommuting as a Transportation Control Measure


This paper examines the potential of telecommuting as a strategy for managing travel demand. In particular, the paper focuses on the travel and air quality implications of telecommuting. A study of travel impacts has been carried out using data obtained from the State of California Telecommuting Pilot Project. This paper presents preliminary findings from the first known empirical study of the emission impacts of telecommuting.

Previously-reported travel-related findings include significant reductions in work trips, peak-period travel and distance traveled due to telecommuting while no increase was found in non-work trips. New emission-related findings include substantial reductions in the number of cold starts (60% fewer), and emissions of organic gases (64% lower), carbon monoxide (63% lower), and oxides of nitrogen (73% lower) on telecommuting days. These reductions are nearly proportional to the decrease in distance traveled by auto (76%). Work is ongoing to refine and extend the analysis of emission impacts.

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