The Role of Neighborhood Characteristics in the Adoption and Frequency of Working at Home: Empirical Evidence from Northern California
Working at home is widely viewed as a useful travel-reduction strategy, and partly for that reason, considerable research related to telecommuting and home-based work has been conducted in the last two decades. The contribution of this study is to examine the effect of residential neighborhood built environment (BE) factors on working at home. Using data from a survey of eight neighborhoods in Northern California, we develop a multinomial logit (MNL) model of work-at-home (WAH) frequency. Potential explanatory variables include sociodemographic traits, neighborhood preferences and perceptions, objective neighborhood characteristics, and travel attitudes and behavior. The results clearly demonstrate the contribution of built environment variables to WAH choices, in addition to previously-identified influences such as sociodemographic predictors and commute time. The findings suggest that land use and transportation strategies that are desirable from some perspectives will tend to weaken the motivation to work at home, and conversely, some factors that seem to increase the motivation to work at home are widely viewed as less sustainable. Accordingly, this research points to the complexity of trying to find the right balance among demand management strategies that sometimes act in competition rather than in synergy.