The Impacts of COVID-19 Telecommuting for the Twin Cities Metro Area


Adeel Lari, Maya Sheikh, Frank Douma

March 2024

Report no. TPEC Telecommuting 2024

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, telecommuting has become increasingly prevalent across the United States and the world. As part of this change, commute patterns, and overall work and travel behavior significantly changed on scales not seen before. In addition, the changes, benefits and costs did not fall equally across all parts of the population, as some "essential" workers, who usually were lower income and from BIPOC populations, did not have the option to work from home. In this paper, the impacts of telecommuting on travel patterns, congestion, land use patterns, transit use, and especially the related equity issues arising from shifting employment online are examined at a high level. Using national- and state-level employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Community Survey, and ReferenceUSA, and travel data from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), MetroTransit and related datasets, this paper explores the impacts of teleworking, with a focus on Minnesota. From this high-level analysis, initial conclusions about the impacts of telecommuting during the pandemic are drawn, and suggestions made regarding short- and long-term implications for future transportation policies and investments.

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