, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 37–64 | Cite as

Does telecommuting reduce vehicle-miles traveled? An aggregate time series analysis for the U.S.

  • Sangho Choo
  • Patricia L. MokhtarianEmail author
  • Ilan Salomon


. This study examines the impact of telecommuting on passenger vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) through a multivariate time series analysis of aggregate nationwide data spanning 1966–1999 for all variables except telecommuting, and 1988–1998 for telecommuting. The analysis was conducted in two stages. In the first stage, VMT (1966–1999) was modeled as a function of conventional variables representing economic activity, transportation price, transportation supply and socio-demographics. In the second stage, the residuals of the first stage (1988–1998) were modeled as a function of the number of telecommuters. We also assessed the change in annual VMT per telecommuter as well as VMT per telecommuting occasion, for 1998. The models suggest that telecommuting reduces VMT, with 94% confidence. Together with independent external evidence, the results suggest a reduction in annual VMT on the order of 0.8% or less. Even with impacts that small, when informally compared to similar reductions in VMT due to public transit ridership, telecommuting appears to be far more cost-effective in terms of public sector expenditures.


aggregate analysis telecommuting teleworking time series analysis vehicle-miles traveled modeling/forecasting 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Box, GEP, Jenkins, GM 1976Time Series Analysis: Forecasting and ControlHolden-DaySan FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  2. Choo S, Mokhtarian, PL & Salomon I (2001) Impacts of Telecommuting on Vehicle-Miles Traveled: A Nationwide Time Series Analysis. Publication No. P600-01-020, the California Energy Commission, Sacramento, CA. Available at Scholar
  3. Conlisk, J 1971When collinearity is desirableWestern Economic Journal9393407Google Scholar
  4. DeCorla-Souza, P 2000Induced highway travel: Transportation policy implications for congested metropolitan areasTransportation Quarterly541330Google Scholar
  5. Gately, D 1990The U.S demand for highway travel and motor fuelThe Energy Journal115973Google Scholar
  6. Greene, DL 1992Vehicle use and fuel economy: How big is the ‘rebound’ effectThe Energy Journal13117143Google Scholar
  7. Greene, WH 1997Econometric Analysis3Prentice HallUpper Saddle River, NJGoogle Scholar
  8. Hamer, R, Kroes, E, van Ooststroom, H 1991Teleworking in The Netherlands: An evaluation of changes in travel behaviourTransportation18365382Google Scholar
  9. Henderson, DK, Koenig, BE, Mokhtarian, PL 1996Using travel diary data to estimate the emissions impacts of transportation strategies: The Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration ProjectJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association464757Google Scholar
  10. Holtzclaw J (undated) Does a mile in a car equal a mile on a train? Exploring public transit’s effectiveness in reducing driving. Available at, accessed July 10, 2004. Also available as Table 5 at (accessed July 10, 2004), with further discussion.Google Scholar
  11. Hu, PS, Young, JR 1999Summary of Travel Trends: 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey. Publication No. FHWA-PL-00-006US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway AdministrationWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Illegems, V, Verbeke, A, S’Jegers, R 2001The organizational context of teleworking implementationTechnological Forecasting and Social Change68275291Google Scholar
  13. Kennedy, P 1998A Guide to Econometrics4MIT PressCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  14. Kitamura, R, Nilles, J, Fleming, D, Conroy, P 1990Telecommuting as a transportation planning measure: Initial results of State of California pilot projectTransportation Research Record128598104Google Scholar
  15. Kumapley, RK, Fricker, JD 1996Review of methods for estimating vehicle miles traveledTransportation Research Record15515966Google Scholar
  16. Mankiw, NG 2003Macroeconomics5Worth PublishersNew York, NYGoogle Scholar
  17. Mokhtarian, PL 1998A synthetic approach to estimating the impacts of telecommuting on travelUrban Studies35215241Google Scholar
  18. Mokhtarian, PL, Varma, KV 1998The tradeoff between trips and distance traveled in analyzing the emissions impacts of center-based telecommutingTransportation Research D3419428Google Scholar
  19. Mokhtarian, PL, Handy, SL, Salomon, I 1995Methodological issues in the estimation of travel, energy, and air quality impacts of telecommutingTransportation Research A29283302Google Scholar
  20. Mokhtarian PL, Salomon I Choo S (forthcoming) Measuring the measurable: Why can’t we agree on the number of telecommuters in the US? Quality and Quatity.Google Scholar
  21. Nilles, JM 1988Traffic reduction by telecommuting: A status review and selected bibliographyTransportation Research A22301317Google Scholar
  22. Nilles, JM, Carlson, FR,Jr., Gray, P, Hanneman, GJ 1976The Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff: Options for TomorrowJohn Wiley and SonsNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Noland, RB 2001Relationships between highway capacity and induced vehicle travelTransportation Research A354772Google Scholar
  24. Pendyala, R, Goulias, KG, Kitamura, R 1991Impact of telecommuting on spatial and temporal patterns of household travelTransportation18383409Google Scholar
  25. Quantitative Micro Software (2000) EViews 4.0 User’s Guide. Irvine, CA: Quantitative Micro Software.Google Scholar
  26. Savin, NE, White, KJ 1977The Durbin–Watson test for serial correlation with extreme sample sizes or many regressorsEconometrica4519891996Google Scholar
  27. Schimek, P 1996Gasoline and travel demand models using time series and cross-section data from United StatesTransportation Research Record15588389Google Scholar
  28. Springer, RK, Resek, RW 1981An econometric model of gasoline consumption, vehicle miles traveled, and new car purchasesEnergy Systems and Policy57387Google Scholar
  29. Ulberg, C, Gordon, A, Spain, D, Fortenbery, E, Whitaker, B, Fireman, S 1993Evaluation of the Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration: Survey Results and Qualitative ResearchWashington State Energy OfficeOlympia, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  30. United States Department of Energy (1994) Energy, Emissions, and Social Consequences of Telecommuting. Washington, DC: US DOE Office of Policy, Planning, and Program Evaluation, Report No. DOE/PO–0026.Google Scholar
  31. Varma, KV, Ho, C-I, Stanek, DM, Mokhtarian, PL 1998Duration and frequency of telecenter use: Once a telecommuter, always a telecommuterTransportation Research C64768Google Scholar
  32. Ziliak ST & McCloskey DN (2003) Size matters: The standard error of regressions in the American Economic Review. Available at, accessed February 17, 2004.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sangho Choo
    • 1
  • Patricia L. Mokhtarian
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ilan Salomon
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Institute of Transportation StudiesUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Leon J. and Alyce K. Ell Professor of Environmental Studies, School of Public Policy and Department of GeographyThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations