From Sheltering in Place to Telework
Help SACOG design a regional telework program that works for employers, employees, and air quality.
May 29, 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a live, two-month-and-counting experiment in telework for a significant share of the region’s employers and workers. As the Shelter-in-Place orders are incrementally lifted and the region transitions back to whatever the “new normal” will be, the region has an opportunity to hold on to the successful aspects of teleworking.
As seen in the image below, daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the region has decreased significantly below pre-COVID levels. If you combine this change with the fact that telework was already the third most popular commute method in the U.S. and has been the fastest-growing commute mode over the last few years, it makes you wonder: is this our chance to make a quantum leap in reducing commute Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and the associated vehicle emissions?
Sources: Streetlight Data VMT Monitor & Caltrans California Public Road Data
This dramatic, albeit obligatory, shift prompts more questions: What if our region could maintain even the 10 percent VMT decrease seen in mid-March after all Shelter-in-Place orders are lifted? Will our region’s employers follow many in the Bay Area? Facebook, Twitter, Square, and Shopify have all announced they will transition most employees to permanent telework.
Other key questions include the roles essential, low-wage, and minority workers who often can’t or don’t have the opportunity to telework; and how telework fits into to the broader transportation network, aligning with public transit, bike/scooter share, and other non-drive alone modes.
As we design a program that fits the needs of our region, we want to hear from employers. SACOG will host a set of small focus groups with employers in the coming weeks. Click here to participate.