Commuting Trends

Commuting Trends in 2020: A Year in Review

We have (finally) made it to the end of 2020! As many reflect on the year’s memorable moments and biggest surprises, we at Commuter Connect want to highlight how commuting has evolved during this unprecedented year. Here are some of 2020’s biggest commuting trends:

January – March: The Continued Rise of Eco-Friendly Transportation

In the beginning of 2020, we continued to see a trend toward greener transportation options. More and more commuters across the country are realizing the economic and environmental benefits of carpooling, biking, using public transit and other transportation alternatives. Many employers are implementing special accommodations and benefits for employees who chose a car-free or car-lite commuting option.

The commuting industry continues to create more eco-friendly ways to travel. Some companies are testing fuel-efficient buses. Many cities, including Indianapolis, have started a bike sharing program. We expect to see even more green transportation innovations in 2021.

COVID-19 and the Daily Commute

The COVID-19 pandemic upended how Americans work, learn, and spend time with others in 2020. As a result, two car-free transportation alternatives experienced a spike in popularity:

  • Telecommuting

In March 2020, many states, including Indiana, entered a stay-at-home period where only essential workers could visit their workplace in-person. As a result, employees across the nation switched to telecommuting, sometimes known as “remote working,” which allowed them to continue their work from the safety of their homes.  

Telecommuting might remain popular even after the end of the pandemic. A recent study from the National Academy of Engineers predicts that at least 30% of workers will telecommute at least three days a week from now on.

It’s clear why so many workers favor telecommuting over their previous daily commute. Employees who telecommute save both time and money. Telecommuting also benefits the environment. American drivers burn about 400 million gallons of gas each year, and each gallon releases about 8,900 grams of CO2 into the air. Telecommuting, even just a couple days a week, could reduce this pollution and improve local air quality.  

  • Biking

Biking has also grown in popularity since March, both as a commuting option and a weekend hobby. In April, bike sales grew 75% to a total gross of $1 billion in a single month, almost double the typical monthly sales. Many bike shops even experienced product shortages because of the sales boom.

Like telecommuting, biking might remain a popular commuting option for years to come. A study by the World Economic Forum found that more than half of participants would walk or bike more than they did before the pandemic. Biking is another car-free option that can save employees thousands every year and reduce CO2 pollution.

2020 was certainly a year like no other, but we at Commuter Connect are thrilled that so many people discovered car-free commuting options like telecommuting and biking. We look forward to helping more employees and employers in Central Indiana in 2021! If you would like to learn more about car-free commuting, register with Commuter Connect today!

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