Duke University survey suggests telecommuting worked well for many workers and employees

Duke University in North Carolina recently released results from a survey on remote working that includes answers gleamed from L.A. County respondents and Metro employees.

The gistiness of it: all in all, telecommuting worked out well (or well enough) for most people during the pandemic and many would like it to continue in some form. Among the benefits: more productivity, more time with families and lower greenhouse gas emissions given cars remained parked in driveways.

Although the survey doesn’t get into traffic, we all saw the nosedive in the number of cars on the road during much of the last year. While it’s hard to say how much traffic has rebounded — the city of L.A. recently said it traffic is now about 90 percent pre-pandemic levels — it seems to me the peak hours aren’t as bad as they once were.

As the pandemic hopefully continues to ease, it remains to be seen how everything shakes out remote work wise over the long haul. A few things to keep in mind:

In their final report, Metro’s Recovery Task Force called for the agency to update its own telecommute policy and to engage with employers throughout L.A. County on the benefits of remote work. Bottom line: remote work could be a good way to reduce single-occupant car trips, which are the kind of trips that have oft been the proverbial thorn in the region’s side.

•On that note, Metro is also working with Duke on a research pilot to see what might incentivize people away from solo car trips — with telecommuting an option. See the info below.

• Metro also has its ongoing Traffic Reduction Study that is seeking to pilot whether congestion pricing (i.e. tolls) could shift people from driving to other ways of getting around or not driving at peak times. If telecommuting is an option for more people, that would seemingly help.

Thoughts on telecommuting and traffic, readers?

1 reply

  1. Sort of a double-edged sword. Bad traffic is likely what motivated people to vote for multiple sales tax increases for public transit projects. Reducing traffic may erode some motivation and/or interest in such investments. Telecommuting also probably targets those who didn’t utilize public transit much in the first place.