Publication Detail

Technical Memo 3: Base Case Estimates and Forecasts of Telecommuting in California


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Handy, Susan L. and Patricia L. Mokhtarian (1993) Technical Memo 3: Base Case Estimates and Forecasts of Telecommuting in California. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-93-16

Three issues must be separately addressed in order to forecast future levels of telecommuting in California and its impacts. First, a forecast of the number of workers who telecommute must be generated. A forecast of the total number of workers in the State has been provided, so that the focus of this analysis is on forecasting the percentage of workers who telecommute in the future, referred to as telecommuting penetration. Second, changes in the frequency with which telecommuters telecommute must be predicted. Combining these two forecasts will yield a forecast of the growth in telecommuting occasions over time. Third, possible changes in the impact per telecommuting occasion – on travel, energy use, and air quality – must be considered. Combining future impacts per telecommuting occasion with the forecast of telecommuting occasions will yield forecasts of the total impacts of telecommuting.

The ability to generate these forecasts is limited by available data and knowledge, however. Since the collection of data on telecommuting is a relatively new effort, there exists very little time series data which might provide an understanding of telecommuting trends. Data on characteristics of telecommuters versus characteristics of non-telecommuters are also inadequate. In addition, the level of understanding about why people do or do not choose to telecommute is still limited. As a result, this memo presents tentative forecasts of telecommuting in California, suggesting a probable range of future telecommuting levels and impacts. Additional research is needed to provide a clearer picture of the future of telecommuting in the State.
Prepared for the California Energy Commission.