The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 09-06 [Final (Synthesis)]

Alternative Work Schedules: Impacts on Transportation
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data

This synthesis presents information on implementation of staggered and flexible work hours and compressed workweeks and on the impacts of such measures on highways, transit systems, and ride-sharing programs. Alternative work schedules can be used to manage transportation demand by shifting commuters away from the peak hours and by reducing the number of days that people need to travel to work. Evaluations of large- scale variable work hours programs show that peak-hour bus loads and automobile arrivals at parking garages decrease 10 to 20 percent, and peak-hour automobile traffic volumes on major approaches to work centers are reduced by 5 to 10 percent. Staggered and flexible work hours result in reduced travel times, reduced load factors, and thus less crowding on transit and less waiting time for elevators in buildings. It appears that flexible hours programs have a positive effect on transit and carpool use. Theoretical analyses indicate that compressed workweeks can significantly reduce peak-period work trips and congestion although there may be negative effects on carpooling and transit ridership. Implementation of an alternative work schedule program begins with the determination that there is a congestion problem that could be alleviated by shifting transportation demand to less congested periods. After commitments are obtained from public and private organizations, a lead agency should be established, preferably the same one that is coordinating ridesharing. The following implementation steps are suggested: (a) high-priority employment locations; (b) obtain support for feasibility studies; (c) conduct work schedule and transportation surveys of employers; design work rescheduling plans; (e) obtain management decisions to implement; (f) provide implementation assistance; (g) evaluate impacts; and (h) refine and extend the program.  The report for this topic can be purchased at http://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=3484

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