Pengyu Zhu on telecommuniting and travel for the Lusk Center

The University of Southern California

Lusk Center for Real Estate

Spring 2010 Research Seminar Series


Pengyu Zhu

University of Southern California

“Complements or Substitutes? U.S. Travel Patterns and Information Technology”


The debate on whether information and communications technology (ICT) and traditional

travel are complements or substitutes has concerned urban planners for some years. Using survey responses on telecommuting as a proxy for ICT use, previous empirical studies relied on small regional samples and concluded that telecommuting is more likely to function as a substitute for conventional travel (especially commute trips). These studies also agreed that the substitution effect was small. Using data from the 2001 and 2009 National Household Travel Surveys (NHTS), this study involves two large national samples to try to identify the impacts of ICT on people’s travel patterns. Commute trips as well as non-work trips are studied, as are multiple workers in two-worker households. Three questions are addressed: (1) What was the impact of telecommuting on workers’ commute trips? (2) What was the impact of telecommuting on household total commuting? (3) What was the impact of telecommuting on households’ non-work trips made by both their workers and non-workers? In each case, changes over the time span between the two surveys were of interest. It appears that telecommuting had a complementary effect on not just individual or household commute trips but also on people’s non-work trips.

Friday, June 11, 2010

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

RGL 103 (Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall)

Please RSVP to