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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Impacts of Home-Based Telecommuting on Vehicle-Miles Traveled: A Nationwide Time Series Analysis


This study estimates the impact of telecommuting on personal transportation using a multi-variate time series analysis of aggregate nationwide data spanning 1966-1999 for all variables except telecommuting, and 1988-1998 for telecommuting. Three dependent variables were modeled, in direct and per-capita forms: ground vehicle miles traveled (VMT), airline passenger miles traveled (PMT), and the sum of those two variable, loosely referred to as total miles traveled. The first part of the analysis modeled each dependent variable (1966-1999) as a function of conventional variables representing economic activity, the cost of transportation transportation supply, and demographics. In the second part of the study, the residuals of the first part (1988-1998) were modeled as a function of the number of telecommuters. Secondary data sources were used for the study. After the modeling results are presented, the study offers several public policy recommendations, based on the conclusion that telecommuting appears to have a statistically significant, albeit modes in magnitude, effect on reducing travel.

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