Telecommuting Torpedoes Transit, in America and New Mexico

In 2012, a wise man asked, “If a transportation phenomenon cuts gasoline consumption and allays traffic congestion, but isn’t the result of ‘green’ mandates, does it really exist?”

Apparently not, at least in the world of “environmentalists,” because you’ll search the websites of the leading eco-alarmist groups in vain for any mention of the fact that telecommuting has surpassed government-run trains and buses as a way to “travel” to work.

In 2017, folks who do the bulk of their job in their PJs comprised 5.2 percent of workers, while “transit” claimed just a 5.0 percent share of the commuting market. Furthermore, transportation scholar Wendell Cox documented that “working at home leads transit in work access in 43 of the nation’s 53 major metropolitan areas.” (That’s big — one would expect that bus lines and commuter rail and subways would continue to dominate in large, high-density urbanized regions.)

Governing unpacked the data a bit:

As one might expect, self-employed individuals are the mostly likely to work from their homes, with about 24 percent doing so last year. But they’re not driving the expansion of telecommuting. … [T]here are fewer self-employed teleworkers who own unincorporated businesses than a decade ago, partially because the self-employed make up a smaller share (5.9 percent) of the overall workforce.

Instead, it’s employees of private companies who are pushing up telework numbers. According to the latest estimates, 4.3 percent of all private wage and salary workers usually worked from home last year, up from 2.7 percent a decade prior.

We’ll wait to see the statewide data for New Mexico, but last year, telecommuting in both Albuquerque and Las Cruces (no figures were released for Farmington and Santa Fe) was 5.7 percent, above the national average:

That’s good news for fuel consumption, air quality, and traffic congestion. But it’s a disaster for “environmental” agitators and lobbying organizations. They’re too busy scaremongering over methane “pollution” and attacking this year’s list of dastardly “Fossil Fools” to notice progress. Guess direct-mail campaigns, press conferences, and protests are more effective using fears, not facts.

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