Teleworking: Back to basics

What got me started in research on telecommuting in the first place was this: In 1970 an urban planner said to me: “If you can put man on the moon, why can’t you do something about traffic?” At the time I was concentrating on ways to adapt my “rocket science” expertise from outer space to earth. The question struck home.

I started with first principles: why do we have so much traffic? The answer was that much of it, roughly half of the time, was from people driving between their homes and work in an office at some distance away.

Next question: what do they do when they get to the office?

Answer: much of the time they’re interacting with someone else, usually over the phone, or doing solo thinking.

My reaction: that’s dumb, why don’t they just do that at home and skip getting involved in traffic, wasting energy and creating air pollution?

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