REDUCING CONGESTION AND CROWDING WITH WORKING FROM HOME

David A. Hensher, Matthew J. Beck, John D. Nelson, Camila Balbontin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

COVID-19 has changed the landscape within which we travel. Working from Home (WFH) in many countries has increased significantly, and while it was often forced on a society it has delivered some unintended positive consequences associated in particular with the levels of congestion on the roads and crowding on public transport. With a likelihood of some amount of WFH continuing as we move out of the active COVID-19 period, the question being asked is whether the post-COVID-19 period will return the pre-COVID-19 levels of traffic congestion and crowding. In many jurisdictions, there is a desire to avoid this circumstance and to use WFH as a policy lever that has appeal to employees, employers and government planning agencies in order to find ways of better managing future levels of congestion and crowding. This chapter uses the ongoing research and surveys we have been undertaking in Australia since March 2020 to track behavioural responses that impact on commuting and non-commuting travel, and to examine what the evidence tells us about opportunities into the future in many geographical settings to better manage congestion and crowding. This is linked to a desire by employers to maintain WFH where it makes sense as a way of not only supporting sustainability charters but also the growing interest in a commitment to a broader social licence. We discuss ways in which WFH can contribute to flattening peaks in travel; but also the plans that some public transport authorities are putting in place to ensure that crowding on public transport is mitigated as people increasingly return to using public transport. Whereas we might have thought that we now have plenty of public transport capacity, this may not be the case if we want to control crowding, and more capacity may be needed which could be a challenge for trains more than buses given track capacity limits. We conclude the chapter by summarising some of the positive benefits associated with WFH, and the implications not just for transport but for society more widely.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransport and Sustainability
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Pages235-255
Number of pages21
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameTransport and Sustainability
Volume17
ISSN (Print)2044-9941
ISSN (Electronic)2044-995X

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • crowding on public transport
  • positive benefits of WFH
  • road congestion
  • societal impacts
  • working from home

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