Telecommunications

Telecommuting generally refers to a formal arrangement between employees and their employers with regard to conducting work at home or at a remote work centre (a satellite office or drop in centre available to anyone) as opposed to the main workplace. Telecommuting covers a wide range of working concepts with emphasis being placed on flexibility. A study funded by the DETR (1997) identified four key areas, these were:

  • home-based telecommuting;
  • having a base office but conducting most work in the field;
  • mobile working (perhaps at different sites); and,
  • working in local work centres (perhaps co-located with related businesses), linked to the head office information system.

In general the arrangements for telecommuting are formalised between employers and employees and are often, but not always, part of a programme incorporating changes in a company’s organisation, property portfolio, business processes and working practices. Telecommuting has the potential to reduce overall vehicle kms, particularly during the peak commuting hours, and so lead to improvements in environmental and accident impacts. There are also potentially other, non-transport, benefits associated with telecommuting:

1. Increased productivity of labour and increase in motivation of employees;
2. Reduced facility space and expenses for employers;
3. Access to a wide labour pool, recruitment and retention of valued labour for employers; and,
4. Proximity to family and community and improved quality of life for employees.

Whether telecommuting can fulfil its potential to reduce overall vehicle kms is dependent upon personal life styles and travel patterns. Whilst it will reduce commuting trips for the employee who is choosing to telecommute there is no guarantee that the availability of a car will not encourage other household members to use it for work or non-work purposes. There may even be an increase in vehicle kms but if this increase is limited to off-peak periods there will still be some benefit to society. The evidence appears to support the premise that telecommuting tends to reduce the overall level of vehicle kms.

Terminology

PC workstationTelecommunication – distance working

Information and communication technology (ICT) provide a range of possibilities to perform activities at a distance, including shopping, education, and working. Telecommuting is often defined as arrangement for a salaried worker to work from home or at a telework centre with remote supervision. The definition does not cover self-employed, contract workers, field work, off-shore information processing and teleconferencing or overtime work at home. It is however important to point out that the diffusion of the new ICT along with the changes in organization have increased the share of these activities as well as telecommunication in the society with implications for transport and land use.

A wide range of terminology has been to describe working arrangements where a worker is separated in time and space from his permanent work place. The common terminology during the 1980s covered telecommuting, teleworking, location-independent work, telematics, flexiplace, satellite offices, neighbourhood centres, telecottages, telecenters, remote working and many others. In the 1990s, new concepts such as hot desking, hotelling and motelling, and campus/university model organisations are being added to the telework lexicon (Wood, 1997). Wood provides taxonomy of alternative work environments that can be created by applying telework principles. The following taxonomy relies heavily on Wood’s version (European Telework Online an Internet portal for teleworking, telecommuting, and related topics provides definitions for telecommuting and other e-activities, http://eto.org.uk/

Home-based telecommuting. Under this model home becomes a legitimate workspace. Telecommuting can be preformed on a full-time basis, even though it is most often preformed on a part-time basis, one or two days per week. However, conversion of some home space into legitimate workspace raises many complex issues, such as occupational health and safety, tax considerations or workers' compensation and accident claims. At the individual level, the use of homes as the centres of information-based work have increased rapidly. Such initiatives require risk-taking by the individual, investment in new technology, a home office and a reasonably high degree of computer literacy and business ability. At the organisational level, the number of home-based telecommuting schemes have increased significantly, although not all have formally written telecommuting policies.

Teleworker, as distinct from telecommuter, describes a self-employed, home-based information worker. Because the need to commute is eliminated, a teleworker is free to live and work in any location. Teleworkers need not be limited to the employment available in their communities as they can bring their jobs with them.

Virtual Office. Terms such as “hot desking”, “hotelling”, “motelling” and “campus” describe the transformation of spatial arrangements of work. The key drive is to reduce office overheads and facilities costs and disperse workers to get closer to the customer. The reduced office space is shared on an advanced booking basis. Each “hot desk” is a workstation that provides technological support with computers, mobile telephones, faxes, etc. Recent research indicates that in some businesses between fifty and eighty percent of office desk space may be empty on any given day. Then the introduction of a virtual office is a sound business decision. A small but increasing number of high technology environment companies have adopted the virtual office approach. 

Satellite offices. The terms satellite office and neighbourhood centre typically refer to the relocation of employees to a fringe-located, high-technology office environment. Users in neighbourhood centres typically come from a diverse range of organisations and rent these facilities. Cost saving of high-rent office space is the drive behind this arrangement. 
Telework centre, telecentre or telecottage is usually located in or in the vicinity of a residential area facilitated by up-to-date telecommunication facilities. Large high-tech companies have embraced this arrangement. It can serve employees of a single or multiple firms. Geography rather than business function is the determinant of the location of a telework centre. Advantages of this arrangement are lower costs of office space, lower levels of staff turnover, higher levels of job satisfaction and improved quality of work life. 

Mobile teleworkers. Recent statistics show a substantial number of workers that effectively have no fixed office space and are entirely mobile information workers. Savings on office overhead costs and the necessity to get close to the customers have been the drive for the increase in the number of fully mobile teleworkers.
The changes in IT and telecommunication technology is so fast and the unfolding of information society is so swift that the precise implications and impacts of this growth on telecommuting/teleworking is not yet fully understood.
There are key strategic decisions for management such as which technologies to invest in and who should pay for these, where to locate employees (in a central office, in a satellite office, in a telecentre or in the home), design of autonomy in work, control of output and performance measures.

Use of ICT in activities other than work

Many activities other than commuting to work have been affected by ICT. Examples of these include Distance Learning and Tele-education .

The existing telecommunications infrastructure is used for education, training, and lifelong learning in five basic ways:

  1. Instructing with video; 
  2. Gathering information from remote libraries and databases; 
  3. Communicating using two-way asynchronous capabilities such as e-mail and chat; 
  4. Distance learning; 
  5. Electronic transfer of instructional software and simulations. 
    Even though the quality of education at universities is still determined by the intensity of face-to-face interactions, there are large-scale experiences of “distant universities,” and regardless of their quality they are now second-option forms of education. Distance learning universities could play a significant role in the future.

Tele-Banking 

As banks are offering on-line customer services and automated teller machines, the consolidated bank branches continue as service centres, to sell financial products to their customers through a personalised relationship. Thus a system of branch office sellers, automated tellers, customer service-by telephone, and online transactions constitutes the new banking industry. Banks’ interest in Internet banking is due to its very low transaction costs and that those who are most likely to use Internet banking constitute attractive demographic and economic customer groups.

Telemedicine

ICT has affected health services in two complementary ways. On the one hand on-line communications and high-resolution video transmission allow for the distant interconnection of medical care. Computer and telephone are now used for regular health checks. Neighbourhood healthcare centres are supported by information systems to improve the quality and efficiency of their service. Yet, on the other hand, in most countries major medical complexes emerge in specific locales, generally in large metropolitan areas. Such medical complexes are a major economic and cultural force in the area and city where they are located.

E-government

ICT has affected the media through which governments are providing services and public information and hence the promoted emergence of digital government, as it is called. The scope of application of ICT to the function of government is quite wide such as applications to services to support: public management processes, policy makers, analysts and evaluators, complex public service programmes and direct citizen contact. The purpose of digital government is to overcome the barriers of time and distance to perform the business of government when and where they are demanded. It can quickly transfer funds, answer questions, collect and validate data and keep information flowing smoothly within and outside government.

E-commerce

The difference between electronic commerce and physical commerce is the modes of communication and the flow of information. The core of the difference is the reduced cost of communicating, transmitting, and processing information. Information about prices, products, and availability can be gathered by visiting various sellers' web sites or by using “Intelligent agents” that can gather and aggregate the necessary information. The OECD (2002) has developed two definitions of electronic commerce transactions, based on a narrower and a broader definition of communications infrastructure and guidelines for their applications as presented in the following table.

Source: OECD (2002)

E-commerce transactions

OECD definitions

Guidelines for the interpretation of the definitions

Broad Definition

An electronic transaction is sale or purchase of goods or services, whether between businesses, households, individuals, governments, and other public or private organisations, conducted overcomputer mediated networks. The goods and services are ordered over those networks, but the payment and the ultimate delivery of goods or services may be conducted on or off-line.

Include: orders received or placed on any online application used in automated transactions such as Internet applications, EDI, Minitel or interactive telephone systems.

Narrow definition

An internet transaction is the sale or purchase of goods and services, whether between businesses, households, individuals, governments, and other public or private organisations, conducted over the Internet. The goods and services are ordered over those networks, but the payment and the ultimate delivery of goods or services may be conducted on or off-line.

Include: orders received or placed on any Internet application used in automated transactions such as Web page, Extranets and other applications that run over the Internet, such as EDI over the Internet, Minitel over the Internet, or over any Web enable application regardless of how the Web is accessed (e.g. through a mobile or a TV set, etc.).

Exclude: orders received or placed by telephone, facsimile or conversational e-mail.

A further taxonomy related to e-commerce is related to who is trading with whom. The focus in literature has been on businesses and consumers. That produces four options as follows:

  • Business to Business (B2B) is the electronic commerce between companies. This is by far the largest segment among the four.
  • Business to Consumer (B2C) is the electronic business aimed at consumers. 
  • Consumer to Business (C2B) is the reverse of B2C 
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C) is the electronic commerce between individual consumers.

E-commerce is mainly concentrated in the first two categories: B2B and B2C. 
The ICT is introducing increasingly new products and services, some real and some virtual and has dramatically affected how business is being transacted. There is a transition from the traditional marketplace to the electronic marketplace. This transition is happening at three levels of economic activity.

  • The first level is that the products and services are reshaped to accommodate an electronic marketplace whose important characteristics are that they are information-based. 
  • The second level is marketing management systems. Businesses organise their selling efforts via systems that are significantly different from those in current use.
  • Finally the markets themselves are affected as a result of the first two levels. 
  • The ability to satisfy consumers in the electronic marketplace implies faster product delivery, higher potential frequency of delivery, greater flexibility and lower costs. Associated with e-commerce are reduced inventories and a related reduction of risk of obsolete inventories as the demand for goods and services are electronically linked through just-in-time inventory and integrated manufacturing techniques.

Technology

Fax machineTelephone and Personal Computers (PCs) are the most common technologies used by telecommuters. Modem and fax machines are also quite popular. Although the telecommunication services and equipments available seem to be adequate for most current telecommuting, a more advanced telecommunication infrastructure would be important in promoting the future growth and sophisticated use of telecommunication. These include wide-bandwidth services for video functions and transfer of very large quantities of data.

A more advanced telecommunications infrastructure is also the key to the promotion of the use of ICT by businesses, government and in other societal uses.

Why introduce telecommunications?

Telecommuting is of great interest for its potential in transport demand management. The potentials are in general related to reductions in commuting and in particular related to reductions in peak hour congestion and improvements in air quality. Other potential benefits include reduced energy use and fewer accidents and less demand for transport infrastructure. It also can expand opportunities for those with impaired mobility or tied to home for other reasons. There are other advantages associated to telecommuting from the point of view of employers, employees and society in general, including:

  • Increased productivity of labour and increase in motivation of employees
  • Reduced facility space and expenses for employers
  • Access to a wide labour pool, recruitment and retention of valued labour for employers
  • Proximity to family and community and improved quality of life for employees

Demand impacts

While the expectation of telecommunicating is related to the reduction of work trips and the associated vehicle kilometres, the total travel behaviour of those who telecommute is expected to change. In some situations the indirect impacts are comparable to the direct impacts. Most discretionary trips such as shopping are usually chained to a work trip. This implies a potential decrease in number of trips chained together for those who telecommute. The household car could become available to other household members. Furthermore, there is a possibility to relocate residence further away from work, resulting in urban sprawl and longer trips to work and other destinations. From a first principles assessment, one would expect the following results from telecommuting:

  • Reductions in work trips.
  • Frequency of trips other than work should not increase.
  • Trip chaining is likely to be less among those who telecommute.
  • A reduction in peak period travel among those who telecommute. 
  • Activities take place at destinations closer to home. 
  • Those who telecommute are likely to shift travel mode from public transport and ride sharing.
  • Telecommuting makes the household car available to other household members and they might shift their travel mode to car.
  • Trips closer to home may shift to non-motorised modes. 
  • A response to the reduced congestion during peak periods, especially where congestion is acute, is the appearance of latent demand. This will cause a reduction in benefits associated with telecommunication. The extent of the reductions in benefits depends on the existence of other demand management measures. 
  • There is mixed evidence on impacts of telecommuting on residential location choice.

The transport and land use impacts of other tele-activities, such as e-commerce and e-government on travel behaviour are not strong. However the cumulative effects could eventually turn significant in the future.

Responses and situations
Response Reduction in road traffic Expected in situations
Those who telecommute have greater potentials of shifting their commute travel outside peak periods.
-
Those who telecommute concentrate their activities closer to home on both telecommuting and non-telecommuting days.

Reductions in number of vehicle trips associated with commuting to work, and hence reduction in associated trip chaining. However, telecommuters may not increase the frequency of travel for other purposes. Hence an overall reduction in vehicle trips is achieved.

Telecommuters are likely to shift travel mode to car for commuting to work. Meanwhile the availability of the household car affects other household members to shift mode to car. Shorter trips close to home can shift to non-motorised modes.

-
There is mixed evidence on the impact of telecommuting on residential location choice.
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Short and long run demand responses

Most projections of the forecasts in the growth of telecommuting are speculative in nature because of the complexities of the relevant factors. With a wider acceptance of telecommunication the number of average days per week allocated to home-based or centre-based telecommuting is very likely to increase in the future. This will enhance the medium- and long-term impacts of telecommuting.

Demand responses
Response - 1st year 2-4 years 5 years 10+ years
-
  -
  Change job location
- Shop elsewhere
  Compress working week
- Trip chain
- Work from home
- Shop from home
  Ride share
- Public transport
- Walk/cycle
  -
  -
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Supply impacts

The reduction in demand for travel, in particular during the peak period, might eventually decrease the infrastructure maintenance and the need for expansion.

Financing requirements

The cost of implementation of telecommunications includes:

  • Equipments costs such as PCs, telephone lines and terminals and office furniture 
  • Costs for the setup of telework centres
  • Installation of enhanced communications facilities
  • Costs for training of employees and managers

The future growth of telecommuting and the use of ICT in activities other than work require efficient, high-capacity broad-bandwidth telecommunications infrastructure. 

Expected impact on key policy objectives

Telecommuting can contribute to a number of key objectives through the reductions in congestion during the peak periods. There are further advantages through increased sense of community for employees and neighbourhood residents and positive impacts on local businesses.

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

  By reducing congestion during peak periods and hence decreasing delays and improving reliability. The contribution will be greater where other demand management measures are in place to restrain latent demand.
  / By improving sense of community and positive impacts on local businesses and hence improvements in quality of life in neighbourhoods. However telecommuting could stimulate urban sprawl and other adverse impacts on land use.
  By reducing air and noise pollution associated with the decrease in commuting trips.
  / Telecommuting can increase education and employment opportunities and improved access to different e-services for mobility-limited or handicapped. However, low income, less-educated households may end up with a lower access to different services offered by governments and businesses exclusively on the Internet.
  By reducing traffic levels.
  Directly, by freeing up productive time currently lost in congestion. Furthermore there are economic growth potentials associated with the development of extensive ICT infrastructures for both urban and rural areas.
  -
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

The impacts on policy objectives outlined in contribution to objectives when promoted to increase accessibility will all be more severe if the increased access to cars encourages people to purchase vehicles of their own. There is a greater risk of this where the increased access to transport has resulted in access to a higher income. Impacts may be further increased where abstraction from public transport results from increased car use and marginal service are no longer operated, thus, forcing further increases in car use.

Expected impact on problems

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion-related delay

By reducing congestion during peak periods and hence decreasing delay. The contribution will be greater where other demand management measures are in place to restrain latent demand.

Congestion-related unreliability

By reducing congestion during peak periods and hence improving reliability. The contribution will be greater where other demand management measures are in place to restrain latent demand.

Community severence

By positive impact on local businesses.

Visual intrusion

-

Lack of amenity

-

Global warming

By reducing traffic-related CO2 emissions.

Local air pollution

By reducing emissions of NOx, particulates and other local pollutants.

Noise

By reducing traffic volumes.

Reduction of green space

-

Damage to environmentally sensitive sites

By reducing traffic volumes.

Accessibility for those without a car and those with mobility impairments

/ Telecommuting can increase education and employment opportunities and improved access to different e-services for mobility-limited or handicapped. However, low income, less-educated households may end up with a lower access to different services offered by governments and businesses exclusively on the Internet.

Disproportionate disadvantaging of particular social or geographic groups

/ See above.

Number, severity and risk of accidents

By reducing traffic volumes.

Suppression of the potential for economic activity in the area

By positive impact on local businesses.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected winners and losers

Winners and losers

Group

Winners/Losers

Comment

Large scale freight and commercial traffic

There is a positive impact through reductions in congestion, especially during the peak periods.

Small businesses

/ By improving sense of community and positive impacts on local businesses. However telecommuting could stimulate acceleration of downtown abandonment.

High income car-users

These journeys will benefit from reduced congestion during peak periods.
People with a low income / While telecommuting can increase education and employment opportunities, households with low income may end up with a lower access to different services offered by governments and businesses on the Internet.

People with poor access to public transport

By increasing access to different services offered on the Internet and education and employment opportunities.

All existing public transport users

Those who telecommute shift mode from car and free the household car for the other household members to use. This could result in a decrease in public transport patronage and possible decrease in the level of services.

People living adjacent to the area targeted

By improving sense of community and positive impacts on local businesses.

People making high value, important journeys

By reducing congestion during peak periods and hence decreasing delay. The contribution will be greater where other demand management measures are in place to restrain latent demand.
The average car user See above.
= Weakest possible benefit = Strongest possible positive benefit
= Weakest possible negative benefit = Strongest possible negative benefit
= Neither wins nor loses

Barriers to implementation

There are a number of barriers to telecommuting. Among the most important of these are liability issues, tax laws, labour union concerns and occupational health and safety issues. Even though the present telecommunications services appear adequate for most situations, a more advanced telecommunications infrastructure can accelerate telecommuting.

Scale of barriers
Barrier Scale Comment
Legal Liability considerations, zoning restrictions and planning regulations, tax and labour law are among the legal issues that need to be resolved with further growth in telecommuting.
Finance There are costs associated with the setup of a telework centre as well as costs related to equipments such as PCs.
Political There has been negative response form labour unions based on concerns related to negative impacts on vulnerable employees, occupational health and safety issues.
Feasibility Implementing a telecommuting programme requires careful management and planning, including selection and training of employees and managers, link to the office, liability concerns and practical details. Employers should accept that telecommuting is desirable and provide the necessary support. The employee should feel comfortable with telecommuting in terms of personal work habit and style and must have a workplace to be able to perform work without distractions. Telecommunications services should be cost-effective for work at a distance from the office. It should also be noted that it is difficult for transport planners to influence the level of development.
= Minimal barrier = Most significant barrier

The main idea in telecommuting (teleworking) is taking the work to the worker rather than the other way round. Even though the idea was introduced as early as the 1950s it was not until the mid 1990s that the idea of telecommuting took off. Several factors have been instrumental for the wide spread acceptance of the concept; emergence of new organisational shapes, based on flexibility, networking and individualisation of work, the changing work process, the changing composition of the labour force, dominated by information workers, and the creation of a non-standard flexible workforce. In addition the wide spread acceptance of computers as a household technology occurred in the same period and telecommunications advances has made possible the transmission of large amount of data anywhere in the world instantaneously. These forces have given rise to the growth of acceptance of telecommuting and as a tool for transport demand management. It is very likely that telecommuting will continue to grow in importance to the workers in the post-industrial societies and to urban transport.

Three US case studies are presented in detail below. In addition, early studies in the Netherlands and the US have shown that, for carefully selected groups of teleworkers, the total number of journeys made could fall by half or more, with non-work trips also falling, and, in the US study, total travel distance falling by three quaters as presented in Travel Reductions for Teleworkers.

 

Netherlands*

US**

Trips/day

-17%

-51%

Work trips/day

-15%

-91%

Non work trips/day

-14%

-38%

Am peak trips/day

-26%

-73%

Trip-km/day

na

-75%

* All trips, when 20% of work trips are replaced. Data from Hamer et al (1991)
** Telecommuting trips only. Data from Pendyala et al (1991)

UK research suggests that around 40% of commuters would prefer to work at home, and that on average thay would aim to work at home on four days per week. The current US rate is 2.5 days per week. Based on these surveys, dodgson et al (1997) provide estimates of the possioble reductions in car use from teleworking, teleconferencing and teleshopping, as presented in Potential Trip Changes.

 

2002

2007

2017

Conservative scenario

     

Commuting

-6

-11

-22

Other business travel

-4

-5

-10

Shopping: cars

-1

-2

-4

Delivery vans

+0.1

+0.2

+0.4

Optimistic Scenario

     

Commuting

-9

-18

-36

Other business travel

-14

-20

-40

Shopping: cars

-3

-6

-11

Delivery vans

+0.3

+0.6

+1.1


California Telecommunicating Project

Context

The programme was introduced in 1988 to evaluate the role of telecommuting in San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles in reducing traffic and air pollution and to evaluate the reduction of trips. The target group was state employees. The programme provided options for physically disabled people. Telecommuting was predominantly home-based using telephone and PCs. Telecommuters were on the average 41 years. More than half of the participants (about 150-252) in the programme were men (64%). The number of days of telecommuting ranged from 1.6 to over 3 days per week. Only those with over 3 telecommute days per week required a dedicated line for connecting to computer facilities at work. Most participants had PCs at home. Laptops were provided to telecommuters.

Impacts on demand

The reduction of work trips due to telecommuting was not offset by the generation of new non-work trips by telecommuters and their household. The findings in this project point to potentials for reductions in vehicle kilometres and reductions in peak period travel by car due to telecommuting. Those who telecommute choose non-work destinations that are closer to home.

Impacts on Supply

Not available

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comment
  Reductions in car use as the result of telecommuting.
  By improving sense of community and positive impacts on local businesses.
  The reduction in car use contributes to reductions in emissions.
  Improved access for physically disabled.
  Not addressed.
  Not addressed.
  The cost of implementing was related to the telephone services for telecommuters.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project (telework centre in Seattle)

Context

The focus of the programme was on a telework centre that was established in North Seattle, supporting state employees who normally worked in a central location (Olympia). The centre was equipped with conference room, lunchroom, computer room and workstation area. There were on-site hardware and software support. The project started in October 1990 and was terminated in January 1992. Altogether 24 telecommuters used the centre. The state of Washington provided the financial support. More than half used the centre regularly while others used the centre less than one day in two weeks. Some preferred to telecommute from home.

Impacts on demand

The centre did not reduce the number of work trips, but did reduce the number of vehicle kilometres.

Impacts on Supply

Not addressed

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comment
  Reductions in vehicle kilometres and peak period travel by car.
  Not addressed.
  Reduction in emission related to the decrease in vehicle kilometres.
  Not addressed.
  Not addressed.
  Not addressed.
  The state of Washington supported the initiative.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project (City of Redmond, WA, USA)

Context

The programme was initiated by City of Redmond in 1990. The primary objective of the programmes was to evaluate the impacts of telecommuting on demand for travel. There were 10 official participants and 10-15 unofficial participants in the programme. The technologies used in this programme were PCs, modems, and standard telephone services for home-based telecommuting. The laptops were provided by the city.

Impacts on demand

All participants reported a reduction of commute trips amounting to 13-17 percent. The reduction in commute trips did not generate additional non-work trips among the participants.

Impacts on Supply

Not addressed.

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comment
  Reductions in vehicle kilometres and peak period travel by car.
  Not addressed.
  Reduction in emission related to the decrease in vehicle kilometres.
  Not addressed.
  Not addressed.
  Not addressed.
  The City of Redmond supported the initiative.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Gaps and Weaknesses

There are some important gaps and weaknesses in the evidence on the impacts of telecommuting of travel behaviour. Most demonstration programmes studies have been limited in scale and only address the short-term impacts of telecommuting on travel behaviour of the participants in the programme and their households in some cases. The respondents in these demonstration programmes are usually carefully selected and their travel behaviour adjustments might not be representative. The longer-term impacts, in terms of decisions related to the locations of residence and work are not addressed in these studies. The projections of reductions in congestion might be an overestimation in the presence of a latent demand.

Contribution to objectives and problems
Objective California Telecommunicating Project Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project (telework centre in Seattle) Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project (City of Redmond, WA, USA)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

 

Summary of each case study's contribution to alleviation of key problems
Objective California Telecommunicating Project Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project (telework centre in Seattle) Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project (City of Redmond, WA, USA)
Congestion-related delay
Congestion-related unreliability
Community severance
Visual intrusion
Lack of amenity
Global warming
Local air pollution
Noise
Reduction of green space
Damage to environmentally sensitive sites
Poor accessibility for those without a car and those with mobility impairments
Disproportionate disadvantaging of particular social or geographic groups
Number, severity and risk of accidents
Suppression of the potential for economic activity in the area
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Appropriate contexts

Telecommuting is appropriate for almost all contexts. While it is appropriate as a policy for transport demand management, it could make small settlements and rural areas attractive for business expansion and hence contribute to the economic development. The establishment of communicating centres in an area could have positive impact on local businesses and increase employment associated with these centres and activities around it. 

Appropriate area-types
Area type Suitability
City centre
Dense inner suburb
Medium density outer suburb
Less dense outer suburb
District centre
Corridor
Small town
Tourist town
= Least suitable area type = Most suitable area type

Adverse side-effects

Important concerns related to telecommuting are related to the uncertainties as to magnitude of transportations benefits, its potential for decreasing congestion, negative impacts on public transport and adverse effects on land use.

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Links

Association for Commuter Transportation 
www.actweb.org

BC Transit, Travel Options Manual, BC Transit
www.bETRansit.com/traveloptions/introduction/introduction.htm

Canadian Telework Association 
www.ivc.ca

European Telework Online 
http://eto.org.uk

International Telework Association and Council
http://www.workingfromanywhere.org/

Online TDM Encyclopedia, Victoria Transport Policy Institute 
http://www.vtpi.org/tdm

Paticia Mokhtarian, for a list of references
http://engineering.ucdavis.edu/redirect/telecom_redirect.html

Telecommunications and Travel Research Program 
www.engr.ucdavis.edu/~its/telecom

Telework Analytics International 
www.teleworker.com

Telework Training Resources 
www.icbl.hw.ac.uk

Teletrips
www.teletrips.com

The Telework Association 
http://www.tca.org.uk/

University of Amsterdam, Sociology Department 
http://www.pscw.uva.nl/sociosite/TOPICS/Telework.html

Work Research Centre 
http://www.wrc-research.ie/