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Impact of COVID-19 on the number of days working from home and commuting travel: A cross-cultural comparison between Australia, South America and South Africa


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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we go about our daily lives in ways that are unlikely to return to the pre-COVID-19 levels. A key feature of the COVID-19 era is likely to be a rethink of the way we work and the implications on commuting activity. Working from home (WFH) has been the ‘new normal’ during the period of lockdown, except for essential services that require commuting. In recognition of the new normal as represented by an increasing amount of WFH, this paper develops a model to identify the incidence of WFH and what impact this could have on the number of weekly commuting trips. Using data collected in eight countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and South Africa), we developed a Poisson regression model for the number of days individuals worked from home during the pandemic. Simulated scenarios quantify the impact of the different variables on the probability of WFH by country. The findings provide a reference point as we continue to undertake similar analysis at different points through time during the pandemic and after when restrictions are effectively removed.

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