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The Impact of Telecommuting on the Activity Spaces of Participants and their Households

UCD-ITS-RP-97-08

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Suggested Citation:
Saxena, Somitra and Patricia L. Mokhtarian (1997) The Impact of Telecommuting on the Activity Spaces of Participants and their Households. Geographical Analysis 29 (2)

A spatial analysis of the activity spaces of telecommuters, based on the geocoded travel diary data from the State of California Telecommuting Pilot Project, is performed to analyze the impacts of telecommuting. The study analyzes the spatial location, orientation, and extent of the activity locations within the "activity spaces" of telecommuters and a non-telecommuting control group. To be able to quantitatively compare and contrast the travel patterns and the distribution of trip ends within the activity space, several spatial indicators have been defined. Several hypotheses concerning the selection of activity locations by individuals are presented and the impact of telecommuting on the selection of locations for activity is analyzed. Key findings include: on telecommuting days, 86 percent of telecommuters' activities are performed closer to home than to work, compared to 56 percent on normal commuting days; and destinations on telecommuting days are more evenly distributed in all directions around the home, whereas a majority of destinations on commuting days are oriented toward the work location.

To be able to understand the influence of the contributing factors toward the selection of nonwork activity locations, potential causal relationships between the influencing factors and the activity location choice are investigated. Several plausible log-linear model structures for cross-classified data provide a good fit to these relationships. Key results include: interaction effects of activity location with commute distance and with trip purpose are present in all the best-fitting models, confirming the importance of these two variables in the selection of activity location; the interaction of activity location and income is also significant; and day status (telecommuting or not) of the employee influences the trip purpose, which in turn affects location.