“Technologically-enabled opportunities for telework could be one factor contributing to the reduction in driving,” according to a report issued by ConnPIRG which has identified a drop in driving frequency in nearly every state in the nation, including Connecticut.
The report, “Moving Off the Road: A State-by-State Analysis of the National Decline in Driving,” notes that “the internet and other communications technologies have enabled many people to perform work from home that could only be done in an office previously. Email, conference calls, videoconferencing, and shared digital files have made it far easier for people to “telecommute” from home. In this way, telework might reduce household driving by eliminating commuting trips.”
The number of people who work from home a majority of the time stood at 4.3 percent in 2011.Counting a broader measure of all workers who report that they perform some of their job from home at least one day a week, 9.5 percent did so by 2010, up from 7 percent in 1999.
The most recent National Household Travel Survey indicates that 9 percent of city commuters telecommute even once per month, compared to 14 percent of suburban commuters and 10 percent of rural and town commuters, the report indicated.
According to the report, it is more common for people to work from home in New England and the entire West, except Nevada. One reason for differences may be the industrial make up of states, since working from home is more feasible in some types of work than others. The following figure bears out the ambiguous relationship between working from home and the volume of driving.
ConnPIRG Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, works to protect consumers and promote good government. ConnPIRG Education Fund offers an independent voice that works on behalf of the public interest, investigating problems, crafting solutions, educating the public, and offering meaningful opportunities for civic participation.
The new ConnPIRG analysis and report found that after sixty years of almost constant increases in the annual number of miles Americans drive, since 2004 Americans have decreased their driving per-capita for eight consecutive years. Driving miles per person are down especially sharply among Millennials, America’s largest generation that will increasingly dominate national transportation trends.
The website Global Workplace Analytics reports that regular telecommuting grew by 73% between 2005 and 2011 compared to only 4.3% growth of the overall workforce (not including the self-employed). Growth within different sectors of the workforce varied widely:
- Federal employees - 424% growth
- State government employees - 114% growth
- Not-for-profit employees - 85% growth
- For profit employees - 63%
- Local government employees - 67%
While many conjectured that telecommuting would decline during the recession, it actually grew by 11.4% from 2008 to 2011. Based on current trends, with no growth acceleration, regular telecommuters will total 4.9 million by 2016, a 69% increase from the current level, according to Global Workplace Analytics, which conducts independent research and consult on emerging workplace issues and opportunities.