Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gas Crisis Gives Telecommuting a Boost

In response to the gasoline shortage caused by Hurricane Katrina, Richard Fleeter, president of AeroAstro, Inc., in Ashburn has urged all employees to telework at least one day per week.

Said Fleeter: "Since our inception in 1988 we have maintained a policy promoting employee teleworking except when presence at the office is essential. We have developed management and infrastructure at AeroAstro to make remote work as efficient and enjoyable as possible, allowing us to work effectively with clients and partners around the world and to attract to our work force the most highly talented people regardless of their geographic proximity to our home in Ashburn."

Telecommuting is a win-win-win strategy, Fleeter said.
  • Employees cut transportation costs related to commuting by 20 percent, offsetting the rise in fuel.
  • The region benefits from reduced traffic congestion and air pollution
  • The nation benefits from reduced gas consumption and reduced dependence upon foreign oil.
  • The company benefits because telecommuting helps attract talented employees.

For more info, read AeroAstro's press release.


At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now we are actually talking about something that could provide true traffic relief at a reasonable cost and without costly tax increases.

GMU's Dr. Laurie Schintler, an assistant professor, conducted a study of D.C.-area traffic a while ago. Dr. Schintler found that "traffic delays drop 10 percent for every 3 percent of commuters who work from home on any given day." Think what removing an average of 10% of the drivers would do. Not everyone needs to telework for major reductions in traffic to occur.

Of course, no one has seriously tried to make teleworking succeed. It would take a lot less than the billions that the tired old Virginia pols want to spend (and raise taxes to fund)to provide these levels of reduction in traffic congestion. Moreover, once businesses and government agencies discover the other costs that they would save, such as reduced rent and utilities for office space, by not having their entire staff show up for work each day, the momentum would be unstoppable.

We'd likely see a major shift in revenues from the transportation and commercial real estate industries to high-tech. That would be good for the Commonwealth.

Keep in mind that, for much of human history, people did not commute miles each day just to go to work. They worked where they lived or nearby. Bandwidth would again permit this lifestyle to reoccur for many, while opening our roads for those who still need to drive.

I suspect that both Kilgore and Kaine would understand this. Then there's good old Russ Potts, trying to solve today's problems with 20th century technology -- roads.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

For thre years I worked out of my home office. Almost the entire company was virtual: almost no overhead. I got paid travel on the occasions when I had to drive to the office.

They were so successful that they were puchased by a larger traditional company with offices that people drive to.....

The job I do now consists of telephone calls and air travel. I have absolutely no reason to have an office, especially since I'm frequently elsewhere.

Go figure.

Telecommuting is probably the best technical, non road, answer to congestion and unnecessary travel.

But it is not applicable, or not very applicable, to retail, shipping, construction, manufacturing, restaurants, sports, most schools, or many other activities that make our society move.

At best, it can reduce travel a few per cent. At worst it will make travel patterns less predictable and more expensive to support (no transit).

Traffic delays drop ten percent for every three percent of commuters who stay home. This is typical of many shortages. The gas crisis of the seventies was caused a shortage of only two percent.

What does that say about how many roads we really need to build to relieve the road shortage and reduce congestion significantly?

Teleworking is great, but we are still going to need a lot more roads.


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