Camila Balbontin, David A. Hensher, Matthew J. Beck
COVID-19 had unprecedented consequences in our daily routines and habits. From a transportation context, there is the potential for unintended positive consequences on sustainability made possible by working remotely or from home (WFH) which reduced mobility significantly. However, there were some significant negative effects such as the increase of car use leading to congestion and erosion of sustainability gains. This paper uses data collected during the three years of the pandemic (2020, 2021 and 2022) in two metropolitan areas in Australia to estimate the changes in workers’ daily decision to not work, WFH or to commute by different modes of transport with a special focus on active modes and public transport. A hybrid choice model is estimated which includes three latent variables: life satisfaction, concern towards the use of public transport, and social-meeting loving attitude. Results suggest that WFH has settled as a valid and efficient alternative to a regular workplace, given the reduced stigmas employers increasingly support this flexible hybrid working model. Moreover, results show that the majority of these “saved” commuting trips were previously by car, and not by more sustainable options such as public transport and active modes. If respondents do not have the option to WFH and thus have to attend the workplace, the increase in commuting trips tends to be by car, despite evidence of some amount of return to public transport.