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WFH Will Cut U.S. Driving Stats by 270 Billion Miles Per Year

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work from home telework computer laptop
Work-from-home culture will help reduce traffic for those who still have to go into the office
Photo: Free-Photos via Pixabay

Back in spring, we discussed an IBM survey, which indicated that COVID-19 would inspire many Americans to shift to private vehicles instead of public transit. Now, a new study from consultant KPMG International predicts another transportation trend — that there will be significantly less traffic on roads due to the new work-from-home culture.

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The study’s findings

According to the study, teleworking and online shopping will reduce driving by up to 270 billion miles a year in the U.S. KPMG predicts that the decline in commuting will mean 14 million fewer cars will be on American roads.

Bloomberg’s Keith Naughton refers to the new trend of reduced transportation and increased time at home as “cocoon culture.” This trend will linger even after a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed and made available to the masses.

KPMG forecasts a 10 percent permanent reduction of the nearly 3 trillion miles that Americans typically travel in a given year. The organization also predicts that vehicle ownership might decline, with households owning slightly less than two cars.

More predictions from the study

street road driving commuting

Another related prediction is that vehicles will experience less wear and tear. This will result in fewer service appointments and lower maintenance costs for vehicle owners.

Though the KPMG study results do indicate a potential decrease in private vehicle sales, they also suggest a positive outcome for the auto industry. Commercial vehicle sales should increase due to the surge in online shopping that has created a higher demand for delivery vehicles.

It will be interesting to monitor U.S. transportation trends in the days ahead, to see if the KPMG study’s predictions hold true. If a coronavirus vaccine is available sooner than health experts and the scientific community say, it’s possible that more people will feel comfortable returning to the workplace. This, in turn, could result in more traffic and car sales than what KPMG is forecasting.

And if more automakers start to incorporate protective technology that could shield passengers from COVID-19, this might also help resuscitate car sales and encourage more drivers to hit the roads in America.

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