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Telecommuting: Possible Futures for Urban & Rural Communities

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As many as 15 to 20 million jobs may ultimately be held by telecommuters (representing more than a doubling of the current number of telecommuters). That would represent about 20% of our nation’s 100 million urban labor force.

Since the average telecommuter will likely work from home two or three days of the week, while commuting to their office the other days, telecommuting would reduce work trips by about 10%. A 10% reduction in work trips is significant in terms of air pollution and congestion. However, in itself, such a reduction will not radically alter locational and capacity decisions for most current and future transportation facilities. The exception will be in specific corridors, where the reductions resulting from telecommuting are combined with other strategies to gain more significant trip reductions.

As a growing proportion of the labor force works at home, the home environment will have to be modified. Demand for second phone lines and data quality lines on residential circuits will continue to increase. Housing developers are already seeing increased demand for flexible floor plans that allow a home office to be added. Design features such as security, improved electric and phone wiring, secondary outside entrances, and adequate parking are important to telecommuters. These new demands, combined with new personal and entertainment technologies, will increase the demand for integrated high tech houses. New marketing and service delivery strategies are being developed to provide better business support services to home workers. …

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