Telecommuting, the practice of working remotely at home, increased significantly (25% to 35%) early in the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift represented a major societal change that reshaped the family, work, and social lives of many Californians. These changes also raise important questions about what factors influenced telecommuting before, during, and after COVID-19, and to what extent changes in telecommuting have influenced transportation patterns across commute modes, employment, land use, and environment. The research team conducted state-level telecommuting surveys using a crowd-sourced platform (i.e., Amazon Mechanical Turk) to obtain valid samples across California (n=1,985) and conducted state-level interviews among stakeholders (n=28) across ten major industries in California. The study leveraged secondary datasets and developed regression and time-series models. Our surveys found that, compared to pre-pandemic levels, more people had a dedicated workspace at home and had received adequate training and support for telecommuting, became more flexible to choose their own schedules, and had improved their working performance—but felt isolated and found it difficult to separate home and work life. Our interviews suggested that telecommuting policies were not commonly designed and implemented until COVID-19. Additionally, regression analyses showed that telecommuting practices have been influenced by COVID-19 related policies, public risk perception, home prices, broadband rates, and government employment. This study reveals advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting and unveils the complex relationships among the COVID-19 outbreak, transportation systems, employment, land use, and emissions as well as public risk perception and economic factors. The study informs statewide and regional policies to adapt to the new patterns of telecommuting.

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Digital Object Identifier


MTI Project



Telecommuting, COVID-19, Travel behavior, Land use, Employment


Emergency and Disaster Management | Transportation