Working from Home

An excellent article from New Geography breaking down the numbers.

An excerpt.

“The 2019 market share data has just been released by the American Community Survey. Looking at driving alone and transit market shares, there has been virtually no change since 2010, with driving alone accounting for about three-quarters of commuting, while transit remains steady at 5%. The big news before Covid: the increase in people usually working from home (also referred to as telework or telecommuting)

“Working from Home

“Working from home has risen more than three times the rate that of driving alone or transit and about 10 times as much as car pools. Working from home passed transit in the number of commuters in 2017. This represents a reversal of two million commuters since 2010, when there were 800,000 more transit commuters than those working at home. Working from home ranks third behind driving alone and car pools in its share of the market. By the end of 2019, working at home attracted 5.7% of the market, compared to 4.3% in 2010.

“This is a nationwide phenomena. Among the 110 metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 population, working from home increased in 104. This is the first year that a larger metropolitan area has achieved a working from home market share exceeding 10%. Working from home is distributed fairly widely around the country. The median (middle) market has a working from home share of 5.3%.

“The highest working from home market share was in tech hubs Austin (10.3%) and Raleigh (10.2%). Daytona Beach, Pensacola and Denver all had working from home market shares exceeding 9% (Figure 1). The balance of the top ten were all above 8%, including Atlanta, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Cape Coral (FL), Sarasota (FL) and Ogden (UT).

“However, during the pandemic this figure has increased exponentially. Stanford University research estimates that the work from home market share is now eight times as high and, even after the pandemic, should reach about 20 percent, almost four times the pre-Covid rate.

“Strongest Work from Home Markets and Transit

“In some of these metropolitan areas, the rising in working from home comes despite the fact that there have been substantial public spending to establish new rail and busway systems. In Atlanta, where the federal government largely paid for one of the largest new rapid transit systems built in the last half century, more than three times as many people working from home as ride transit to work. Denver, with its more modest, but expensive light rail system opened over the past quarter century has twice as many working from home as transit commuters. Tampa-St. Petersburg, whose taxpayers are under virtually endless pressure to pay for a rail transit system has 8 times as many working from home as transit commuters.

“In Austin, with the largest work from home market share, the city council is now asking voters to approve a $7.1 billion package, principally composed of two new rail lines. This would impact only the city, which has less than 45% of the metropolitan area population. Since 2010, transit’s share has dropped a quarter in the city, despite the addition of a new rail line. At the same time, the working from home market share increased by half.

“The table below indicates the work from home and transit market shares for the 110 metropolitan areas for both 2010 and 2019.

“Transit and Working from Home

“Transit’s median market share among the 110 metropolitan areas is only 1.4%, less than a third that of working from home. This illustrates the concentration of transit commuting in just a few metropolitan areas. More than two thirds of transit commuting is in the transit legacy cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Washington).

“Transit commuting is very concentrated. Nearly 60% of transit commuters work in just six cities that have only 6% of the jobs. Nearly one half of commuters to these jobs use transit. In the rest of the nation, with 94% of the jobs, only two percent of commuters use transit (Figure 2).”

Retrieved September 28, 2020 from

Be well everyone!

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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