The feasibility of establishing a telcenter in an urban corridor

The feasibility of establishing a telcenter in an urban corridor

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The feasibility of establishing a telcenter in an urban corridor a case study of the SR 836 Dolphin Expressway corridor in Miami, Florida
Komanduri, Anurag
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[Tampa, Fla]
University of South Florida
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Dissertations, Academic -- Civil Engineering -- Masters -- USF
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ABSTRACT: Telecenters are alternate work locations and are used as a means to reduce the commute discomfort to employees. Telecenters provide advantages to both the employees and the employers and are a good Travel Demand Management measure. The history of telecenters is relatively new. Many telecenters were established in the early 1990's with the support of the Federal and State Governments. While initial signs were encouraging, the inability of these telecenters to carry on running in the absence of continued funding made them cost intensive unsuccessful experiments. There have been fewer attempts by private individuals/ Governments to work with the concept of telecenters, since these failures; with home-based telecommuting being a more viable alternative to working from the office. There has been a recent revival of interest in telecenters owing to their ability to provide employees with more choice with their work place location. Also,extremely high congestion and long commute trips in many major cities are forcing authorities to look at alternate means to reduce trip lengths (and durations).Authorities in Miami are looking at alternate means to reduce congestion in the city and the possibility of establishing a telecenter is one such idea. This study evaluates the feasibility of establishing a telecenter in Miami. The site chosen is a stretch along SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway). Various conditions that must be met before the telecenter can be established are discussed, and the site is assessed on its ability to attract employees to the center.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Anurag Komanduri.

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The feasibility of establishing a telcenter in an urban corridor :
b a case study of the SR 836/ Dolphin Expressway corridor in Miami, Florida
h [electronic resource] /
by Anurag Komanduri.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
3 520
ABSTRACT: Telecenters are alternate work locations and are used as a means to reduce the commute discomfort to employees. Telecenters provide advantages to both the employees and the employers and are a good Travel Demand Management measure. The history of telecenters is relatively new. Many telecenters were established in the early 1990's with the support of the Federal and State Governments. While initial signs were encouraging, the inability of these telecenters to carry on running in the absence of continued funding made them cost intensive unsuccessful experiments. There have been fewer attempts by private individuals/ Governments to work with the concept of telecenters, since these failures; with home-based telecommuting being a more viable alternative to working from the office. There has been a recent revival of interest in telecenters owing to their ability to provide employees with more choice with their work place location. Also,extremely high congestion and long commute trips in many major cities are forcing authorities to look at alternate means to reduce trip lengths (and durations).Authorities in Miami are looking at alternate means to reduce congestion in the city and the possibility of establishing a telecenter is one such idea. This study evaluates the feasibility of establishing a telecenter in Miami. The site chosen is a stretch along SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway). Various conditions that must be met before the telecenter can be established are discussed, and the site is assessed on its ability to attract employees to the center.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 77 pages.
Adviser: Ram Pendyala, Ph.D.
Dissertations, Academic
x Civil Engineering
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
0 856


The Feasibility of Establishing a Telecenter in an Urban Corridor: A Case Study of the SR 836/Dolphin Expr essway Corridor in Miami, Florida by Anurag Komanduri A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Civil Engineering Department of Civil Engineering College of Engineering University of South Florida Major Professor: Ram Pendyala, Ph.D. Sisinnio Concas, ME. Elaine Chang, Ph.D. John Jian Lu, Ph.D. Date of Approval: March 27, 2006 Keywords: Telecommuting, Miami-Da de, GIS, Traffic, Congestion Copyright 2006, Anurag Komanduri


DEDICATION This thesis is dedicated to my mother and sister. Their love, support and patience have seen me through some of my most difficult times and have made my happy moments more enjoyable.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to express sincere appreciation to my major professor Dr. Ram Pendyala for his valuable guidance during th e thesis work. I also wish to extend my gratitude to Mr. Sisinnio Concas for allowing me to be a part of this project and for his excellent support and invaluable inputs and ideas during th e course of the thesis. Thanks also to Dr. Elaine Chang and Dr. John Lu for agreeing to serve on my graduation committee. I am also thankful to my roomies and to my friends from my undergraduate days who have taken a brunt of my mood sw ings and have seen me through.


TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................iv LIST OF FIGURES.............................................................................................................v ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... vi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO TELEC OMMUTING AND TELECENTERS.........1 1.1 Telecommuting..................................................................................................1 1.2 Telework Centers...............................................................................................4 CHAPTER 2 CLASSIFY ING TELECENTERS.................................................................7 2.1 Single Employer Centers...................................................................................7 2.2 Multi Employer Centers.....................................................................................8 2.3 Urban Executive Office Suites.........................................................................10 2.4 Other Telecenters.............................................................................................11 2.4.1 Rural Remote Work Centers.................................................................11 2.4.2 Residentia l and Mixed-Use Developments...........................................12 2.4.3 Non-Territorial Offices.........................................................................12 CHAPTER 3 TELECENTER EXPERIENCES................................................................13 CHAPTER 4 CHARACTERISTI CS OF TELECENTERS..............................................18 4.1 Goals and Objectives.......................................................................................18 4.1.1 Commute Trip Reduction.....................................................................18 4.1.2 Traffic Congestion Mitigation..............................................................20 i


4.1.3 Air Quality Standards Improvement.....................................................20 4.1.4 Peak Hour Trip Reduction....................................................................21 4.1.5 Community Network and Universal Access Goal................................22 4.1.6 Other Goals...........................................................................................23 4.2 Benefits............................................................................................................25 4.2.1 Advantages for Employees...................................................................25 4.2.2 Advantages for Employers....................................................................27 4.2.3 Transportation Improvements...............................................................28 CHAPTER 5 FEASIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.............................................................30 5.1 Location...........................................................................................................30 5.2 Employee Mix..................................................................................................31 5.3 Employment Density.......................................................................................32 5.4 Household Size and Composition....................................................................32 5.5 Commute Trip Characteristics.........................................................................33 5.6 Availability of Amenities.................................................................................34 5.7 Start-up Funding..............................................................................................35 5.8 Other Factors....................................................................................................37 5.9 Challenges to Implementation.........................................................................38 5.9.1 Funding Alternatives.............................................................................38 5.9.2 Poor Site Selection................................................................................39 5.9.3 Insufficient Demand..............................................................................39 5.9.4 Inadequate Marketing and Recruitment Policy.....................................40 i


5.9.5 Employer Resistance.............................................................................41 5.9.6 Inadequate Staffing and High Turnover...............................................42 5.9.7 Other Reasons.......................................................................................42 5.10 Feasibility Matrix...........................................................................................42 CHAPTER 6 ANALYSIS..................................................................................................44 6.1 Analysis Tools/Softwares................................................................................45 6.1.1 GIS Data and Applications.................................................................45 6.1.2 HCM (Highway Capacity Manual) 2000............................................49 6.1.3 Florida Traffic Information CD-ROM................................................50 6.2 Site Description and Existing Traffic Conditions............................................51 6.2.1 Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) and P eak Hour Traffic.........52 6.2.2 Congestion..........................................................................................54 6.3 Site Identification.............................................................................................56 6.4 Employee Mix..................................................................................................60 6.5 Residential Population Density........................................................................62 6.6 Household Size Distribution............................................................................63 6.7 Commuter Trip Patterns...................................................................................65 6.8 Amenity Locations...........................................................................................66 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS......................................70 REFERENCES..................................................................................................................74 iii


LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Telecenters in the U.S........................................................................................... 17 Table 2 Feasibility Matrix..................................................................................................4 3 Table 3 Peak Hour SR 836 Telemeter Site........................................................................54 Table 4 SR 836 Level of Service.......................................................................................55 Table 5 Southwest Cluster Places of Employment............................................................ 61 Table 5 Southwest Cluster Places by Sector...................................................................... 62 iv


LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 Dolphin Expressway......................................................................................51 Figure 2 AADT Distribution on Diffe rent Segments of SR 836.................................53 Figure 3 Commute Trip Patterns to Miami CBD.........................................................57 Figure 4 Southwest Cluster.......................................................................................... 58 Figure 5 Work-Trip Origin-Destination.......................................................................59 Figure 6 Workers of Southwest Clusters Working at CBD.........................................59 Figure 7 Density of Residents of Working Age (18 to 64)..........................................63 Figure 8 Density of Households with No Children..................................................... 64 Figure 9 Average Household Size per Census Tract................................................... 65 Figure 10 Amenity Locations...................................................................................... 68 Figure 11 Transit Stops................................................................................................ 69 v


THE FEASIBILITY OF ESTABLISHI NG A TELECENTER IN AN URBAN CORRIDOR: A CASE STUDY OF THE SR 836/DOLP HIN EXPRESSWAY CORRIDOR IN MIAMI, FLORIDA Anurag Komanduri ABSTRACT Telecenters are alternate work locations and are used as a means to reduce the commute discomfort to employees. Telecenters provide advantages to both the employees and the employers and are a good Travel Demand Ma nagement measure. The history of telecenters is relatively new. Many telecenters were esta blished in the early 1990s with the support of the Federal and State Government s. While initial sign s were encouraging, the inability of these telecenters to carry on running in the absence of continued funding made them cost intensive unsuccessful experiments. There have been fewer attempts by private individuals/ Governments to work wi th the concept of telecenters, since these failures; with home-based telecommuting being a more viable alternative to working from the office. There has been a recent revival of interest in telecenters owing to their ability to provide employees with more c hoice with their work place location. Also, extremely high congestion and long commute trips in many major cities are forcing authorities to look at alternate means to reduce trip lengths (and durations). vi


Authorities in Miami are looking at alternate means to reduce congestion in the city and the possibility of establishing a telecenter is one such idea. This study evaluates the feasibility of establishing a te lecenter in Miami. The site c hosen is a stretch along SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway). Various conditions that must be met before the telecenter can be established are discussed, and the site is assess ed on its ability to attract employees to the center. vii


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO TELECOMMUTING AND TELECENTERS 1.1 Telecommuting The term "telecommuting" was coined by Jack Nilles in 1973, during a period when interest in the concept of working away from the main office was ever-increasing owing to the growth in computer tec hnology and partly from the oil crises. Telecommuting was defined, in the early days as the use of telecommunications technology or other means to partially or completely replace the commute to the normal workplace (1). Recent definitions for telecommuting include (2): Moving the work to the workers instead of moving the workers to the work. Periodic working out of the central offi ce, one or more days of the week. The new definition implies that telecommuting need not involve telecommunications at all. An employee re ading and writing at home all day, without using the telephone or the computer, can be sa id to be telecommuting just as surely as the employee who is on-line for six or eight hours (3). The use of telecommunication technology to conduct work is now termed t elework and is treat ed differently from telecommuting. 1


While telecommuting need not invol ve telecommunications, it is true however, that telecommuting has become more prevalent with the increased use of telecommunication technologies such as computers and the internet. The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in a re port states Until the 1980s, most office arrangements required employees to be phys ically present to perform their jobs. However, with the ability to exchange documents over phone lines via modems, many jobs (in whole or in part) can be perf ormed from remote sites. Such tasks as entering and analyzing da ta, writing and editing doc uments, and computer programming are no longer tied to specific locations (4). Telecommuting is perceived differently by various individuals. As suggested by Handy and Mokhtarian, in their report in 1995 (5): Transportation planners, along with othe r segments of the public sector, see telecommuting as a solution for mitigati ng urban traffic c ongestion, and as a way to conserve energy and improve air quality; Businesses, along with other segments of the private sector, see telecommuting as a way to increase productivity while decreasing overhead costs and retaining their employees; Individual workers see te lecommuting as a flexible work arrangement that (among other potential advantages) helps to alleviate travel expenses, delay, and stress associated with most urban commute trips and increases time spent with the family. Telecommuting gained much prominence in the early 1980s, fu eled in part by transportation and air quality legislations th at encouraged innovate alternatives to the 2


single-occupancy vehicle commute; and also by requirements placed on employers to reduce their employees use of the automob iles for commuting, (6). In recent years, the drive has been voluntary, because, w ith dearth in skilled workers, most organizations are willing to try all methods to keep their workers on the job (7). Telecommuting has been specified as a Travel Demand Management (TDM) solution along with other remedies as carpooling, vanpooling, use of HOV lanes, staggered work timings and rideshare prog rams, etc. or public policymakers, For policy makers "telecommuting is an attracti ve TDM strategy b ecause it supports several agendas. It contributes to po licies supporting: transportation, energy independence and conservation, improvement of air quality, employment for people with limited mobility (disabled, retired, lo w income, single parent), rural economic development, global competitiveness of American business, effective health care management, the American family and increased community involvement (8). Telecommuting is not suitable to ever y job, person, or situation. Whether an individual telecommutes, and how often, are results of the decisions of employer and employee, made within the constraints of the existing physical and institutional environment (9). a) The job must be suited, at least in part to performance at a remote location. b) The capabilities and personal character istics of the employee must be appropriate to working with lit tle or no direct supervision. c) The employing firm must accept telecommuting as a legitimate and desirable activity, provide necessary support, and have appropriate information technology in place. 3


d) The supervisor or manager of the employee must accept the concept and practice of telecommuting. e) The employee must feel comfortable with telecommuting in terms of its suitability to his or her personal work habits and style, its effect on social interactions and on adva ncement and career. f) The employee must have a suitable workplace and working time free of distractions (such as child care responsibilities). g) Available technology, particularly tele communications services, must be adequate and cost-effective for the work to be performed at home. The potential of using telecommunications and other means to substitute travel has received attention from resear chers from the early 1960s (4). There are two major forms of telecommuting: wo rking from home and working from a telecenter. Most of the early focus was on studying the potential of home-based telecommuting. It was only in the early 1990s that the Government took notice of the possibility of establishing telework centers as an a lternative means to promote telecommuting to reduce commuter travel. 1.2 Telework Centers The definition of telework center stems from an abridged version of the phrase telecommuting center, which refers to an alternative place of work for employees. A telework center is an office f acility, remote from the employer central office, that provides a formal working environment to telecommuters for a fee (2). A telework center can be privately or publicly operated, with most of the facilities 4


receiving limited government funding. In this report, the words telework center and telecenter will be used to define the same Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategy. While management of employees at the office location is a defining criterion for central offices, two criteria, namely remote management and commute trip reduction must be met for any remote offi ce location to be termed a telecenter. Employees work out of a conventional office because that is where their job is, regardless of where they live, whereas em ployees work out of a telecenter because they live in its proximity (6). Telecenter s are characterized by the absence of a selfcontained pyramidal organizati onal structure; telecommuting staff report to off-site managers and telecommuting managers have at least one offsite staff reporting to them. Telecommuting centers have long been discussed in the TDM literature, even though practical application of the concep t begun only in the 1990s. The term suburban work center was used by Memmot t, in his study in1963, to describe a location closer to home than the main wor kplace from which an employee could carry out his tasks using telecommunications t echnology (10). The st udy describes, in depth, the various advantages of telecommuti ng and potential barriers to the idea. In 1968, Timothy Healy, in a st udy that studied the aff ect of communications on transportation and the workplace, used neighborhood remote work center to refer to a telecommuting facility within walki ng distance of ones hom e (11). Harkness in 1977 conducted a technology as sessment that examined the potential impact on energy consumption of working at home or in neighborhood centers close to home (12). The study estimated the potential savings in oil and gas that could be obtained 5


by telecommuting and reducing travel distan ces. Nilles in 1988 defined various types of telecenters based on the number of empl oyer firms that they catered to (single/ multi-employee telecenters), their location and the goal that they aimed to attain (13). According to a study of the International Telework Association and Council (ITAC), in 2000 there were about 16.5 million teleworkers, 7% were solely teleworkcenter based, while 89% were homebased teleworkers, or telecommuters (14). Statistics also reveal that there are 45.1 million Americans worked from home last year (according to the 2004-2005 ITAC Amer ican Interactive Consumer Survey conducted by the Dieringer Research Group), a continuing growth trend. Although telecenters cater to only a sm all percentage of the telecommuting population, they are still pursued as a TDM strategy, owing to their perceived advantages and convenience that they provide to employees. The rest of the study describes in detail th e features of telece nters, the goals, the advantages, some drawbacks and a detailed analysis of establishing a telecenter in the proposed corridor. 6


CHAPTER 2 CLASSIFYING TELECENTERS Telecenters can be classified into two broad categories: Single Employer Multi-Employer Within these two categories there are different types of centers, based on location, tenants characteristics, facilities and amenities provided: Government sponsored Rural or Urban Fringe Area Technology Promotion Pay-as-you-go The broad classification is aimed at providing planners with consistent means to ranking telecenters to ascertain the goals, objectives, site location and marketing strategies and facilities that are consistent with each telecenter. 2.1 Single Employer Centers These are centers that typically house empl oyees of one organization. They provide 20 to 25 spaces, which are available on a dr op-in basis. They are maintained by the parent organization and funded internally. 7


The first single employer telecenter in the US was the Pacific Bell telecenter, set-up in San Francisco, California, in 1985. The center housed 22 employees and was part of a successful telecommuting pr ogram organized by Pacific Bell. Owing to its success, Pacific Bell opened another te lecenter in North Hollywood to encourage more employees to use their telecenters. Single employer telecenters are difficult to establish and maintain as they are often seen as just another branch of the main office and are overlooked by most employers. They have their advantages of course, especially as each employer firm has the same work-ethic and principles that make it very easy to establish the telecenter as an alternate place to work. But, it is not a very cost effectual alternative for most employers and as a re sult, there have been very few attempts in the recent past to establish singl e employer telecenters. 2.2 Multi-Employer Centers These are facilities that pr ovide space to employees of more than one organization. Tenants can be employees from both the public and private sectors. The size of these centers depends on expected occupancy and utilization rates. The facility may be rented either by a self-employed individua l or by an employer for his employees. While the typical size is about 20 to 25 spaces there are some telecenters such as the Riverside County Telecommuting Center, California, designed to cater to the needs of more than 50 employees. Most telecenters also provide extra space for conference, and audio/video conferencing rooms. 8


A relevant share of the operating costs is fixed or independent of usage levels. These include leasing costs, depreciation ex penses, and administrative overhead. This suggests that economies of scale must be atta ined in order to spr ead fixed costs over a large number of users. On the other hand, la rger centers are more difficult to fill, and tend to lose their local area ch aracter as they must draw from a much larger commute pool. Understanding this simple dilemma is the key to assessing the market for center-based telecommuting. The advantage of a multi-employer f acility over a single employer work center is that multi-employer centers can cater to the surrounding area residents, who drop in at short notice and do not belong to any participating employer groups. But, preference is given to employers/individuals who rent out the facility on a long-term basis. Short-term, drop-by users are allowed to use the telecenter only if the telecenter facility is free for use and their schedules do not clash with the sc hedules of the longterm tenants. These centers also work as information technology clearinghouses, in addition to providing commuter trip reduction benefits for regular users. They involve many challenges such as monitoring employee productivity, security coordination and logistic issues among all the employers an d employees, most of which exist with other forms of telecenters too (1). They also provide advantag es that cannot be offered by other forms of telecenters, for example: They are best suited for small and mi d size firms, which do not need and cannot afford setting up a satellite work center, but are willing to use the option of a shared telecenter to sa tisfy the needs of their employees; 9


They are also suited for large employ ee firms which are in the experimental phase of testing a telecommuting pr ogram. Multi-employer telecenters provide a low cost, low risk program, which can serve as a first step in establishing a company owned and managed. The first multi-employer telecenter in th e US was set up in Hawaii in 1985 in the island of Honolulu and was a hugely succ essful telecenter, which was in existence for 1 year before closing down owing to l ack of public interest. There are many other cases of multi-employer telecen ters like the Antelope tele center, CA (setup in 1993), Washington State telecenter (1991), and Ballard neighborhood work center, Washington (1990). 2.3 Urban Executive Office Suites The major competitors to telecenters that provide alternative offsite offices are represented by executive office suites. Th ese suites are found on prime commercial real estate and not necessarily close to residential areas (6). Executive suites are maintained and operated by private organi zations and serve traveling executives, regional sales staff, and small business owne rs rather than non-supervisory employees (15). Unlike telecenters that provide an alternate place of work for telecommuting employees, executive suites constitute a primary place of business for an extended period of time. Executive suites providers ra nge from small local companies to major international corporations. These global executive suites organizations also help corporations looking to expand abroad with their office set-ups (14). 10


Executive suites provide services such as secretarial, word-processing and receptionist support; in essence, an executive suite provides all the support services supplied in the main office. Telecenters provide an alternative work location with little or none of the facilities that are provi ded in the main office and most telecenter users have a parent work location which they can revert to at short noticesomething that the clients of executive suite offices do not have. With an increasingly competitive market the difference between the two is beginning to blur. For example, the California Sierra foothills are a popular location for remote, sometimes unmarked, offices for workers of Sacramento and Silicon Valley employers. These successful office spaces have replaced telecommute centers which have folded in recent years (16). 2.4 Other Telecenters There are other kinds of telecenters which ar e not applicable in the urban situation of telecenters, but which deserve mention ow ing to their unique characteristics. 2.4.1 Rural Remote Work Centers: Rural work centers work as community outreach and technological centers. Some po ssible advantages of these telecenters include creating an expanded labor pool for recruiting skilled labor creation of more jobs and industry in the rural area, low overhead costs for employers lower employee turnover rates (6). These tel ecenters are called tele-cottage s in Europe and in other parts of the world. 11


2.4.2 Residential and Mixed-Use Developments: This includes setting up of initial infrastructure such as telecommunica tions and data fibers into the construction of new units. This is idea from the early 1990s, when technological advances were still being made. 2.4.3 Non-Territorial Offices: This involves the concep t of hoteling and floating offices. Employees who are mobile and on-field do not need a permanent office most of the time are assigned temporary offices the days that they have to come into work to save space. 12


CHAPTER 3 TELECENTER EXPERIENCES The first single employer telecenter was established by Pacific Bell in 1985 and the first multiple-employer center was lunched by the state of Hawaii in 1989 as part of a research study (6). The Hawaii center wa s primarily state funded, with additional grants from the private sector for equi pment, and was located in a sub-urban technology park (called the Mililani T echnology Park) in the main island of Honolulu. Established mainly to demonstrat e the feasibility of remote working to address traffic congestion, office space constr aints and parking constraints associated with the concentration of employment in Honolulu, the study was also motivated by the idea to explore the potential of te lecommuting for economic development in remote island areas (17). Although it initia lly attracted a large number of users and reached its major goals, private companie s involved in the experiment did not encourage their employees to telework, ofte n being treated on a case by case basis. Owing to lack of funds, th e center closed in 1990. The Pacific Bell telecenter was established by Pacific Bell, the Bell Operating Company for California in San Francisco. Only employees of Pacific Bell were allowed to use the facility. 13


The telecenter aimed to improve the efficient use of existing office services and was located in the central business di strict of San Francisco, which was the earlier location of the companys headquarters (18). California is the state that has the led the country in piloting telework programs. Telework centers were establis hed as research undertakings between 1991 and 1997 under the Residential Area Based Offices Project (RABO). Under this program, 15 telecenters were set up and mainta ined as part of a research directive by the California Department of Transporta tion (CalTrans). Funding for the RABO telecenters ended in 1996. At the end of the funding period, 6 telecenters continued operations purely on public and user gene rated funds. All these telecenters closed between 1997 and 1999. In addition, 26 telecenters were setup by private entrepreneurs and firms on a profit making basis. By the end of 1997, only 14 were operational and had diversified into various service centers, su ch as executive office suites and internet providing centers. These centers ceased to operate as telecommuting centers. Telecenters were also established by the Federal Government since 1993 in the Washington metropolitan area, and served as demonstration programs to encourage telecommuting among Government employees (2). The centers are managed under the General Services Admini stration (GSA) Federal Telework Center program and are open to both privat e and public sector teleworkers. Currently, there are 16 operational te lecenters in the region, including 8 centers in Virginia, 7 in Maryland, and one in West Virginia. A 2004 telework study conducted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Ma nagement for all Federal agencies in 14


the region states that over 140,694 employees from different Federal agencies teleworked, representing a 37% increase from 2003. While this comprises all teleworkers, including home based telework ers and center based teleworkers, it shows that employees enjoy the flexibility of be ing able to choose their workplace. These centers continued operating owing to the fact that they ar e funded by the GSA program, which is the sole source of revenue. Other telecenters in the area have been unable to compete with the lo w prices of the federal tele centers and have diversified into executive suites. The Preferred Office Club is the most popular among all the executive suites in the area, and has 6 lo cations in the Greater Washington Metro Area. The first telecenters suffered from low revenue and inadequate occupancy levels. These telecenters were establis hed to promote alternative forms of telecommuting to businesses and individuals and were financed with Federal or State subsidies or alternate forms of funding. These centers fo lded immediately after the funding period ended. Telecenters established after the s econd half of the 1990s realized the importance of establishing a steady revenue source, other than telecommuter based, to maintain commercial viabilit y. These centers have found limited success due to less than full utilization and limited governme nt funding issues. Several studies summarizing these experiences reiterate th at telecommuting revenue should be an incidental, one of many sources of revenue for a telecenter (19). 15


Non profit telecenters (operated by public enterprises) now gain revenue from a variety of customer serv ices such as video-conferencing, photocopying, conference room usage and computer usage from drop-in users. For profit centers (operated commercia lly by private enterprises) focus on a wide variety of business services, such as executive suites and office space rental, and do not rely on telecommuting as a sole source of revenue. These facilities rent offices rather than cubicles, with a variety of servi ces available for a flat rate, such as video conferencing and internet access. They also encourage the growth of ancillary businesses such as coffee shops, bakeries, wi thin premises, to improve profitability. Offices rented to employers are mark eted as secure, private telecommuting sites which can be used by different employ ees on different days of the week. For example, the Blacksburg Electronic Televillage, Virginia, includes a privately operated business park that caters to high tech start-ups. Internet connectivity is marketed as an amenity. Currently operating telecenters have e volved as executive office suites and offer a variety of clientele services to attract potential telecommuters, such as secretarial and receptionist se rvices. Furthermore, these centers often rent out the entire facility to one tenant, thus ensuring a constant flow of re venue. In the process, though, the idea of providing telecommuting options to employees is bypassed. One such example, the Landmark telebusiness center in Anaheim, California. The center reinvented itself as an executive suites office to increase its revenue and now operates as a successful profit-making venture, in spite of having lost its government funding, owing to not complying with the conditions necessary to be deemed as a telecenter. 16


Table 1 Telecenters in the U.S Telecenter Location Dates of Operation Reason for Closure 1 Hawaii Telework Center H onolulu, Hawaii 07/01/1989 1990 Self-sufficieny attained 2 Washington State Telework Center North Seattle, Washington State 01/01/1991 02/01/1992 Expired Funding 3 Ballard Neighborhood Telecenter City of Seattle, Washin g ton State 04/01/1991 4 Telebusiness Workcenter Ontario, CA 10/01/1991 06/30 / 1996 lack of funding, not enou g h users 5 High Desert Telebusiness Center Victorville, CA 10/01/1991 unknown 6 The Telecommuting WorkCenter of Riverside Count y Riverside, CA 11/01/1991 07/01/1995 Expired Funding 7 Antelope Valley Telebusiness Center I Antelope Valley Fair, CA 01/01/1992 unknown 8 Long Island Telecommuting Center Mineola, New York 03/01/1993 03/01/1994 End of Demonstration 9 San Jose and Concorde Telecenters San Jose and Concorde, CA 09/01/1993 02/28/1994 lack of funding 10 The Roseville Telecenter Roseville, CA 09/01/1993 9/1/1995 Expired Funding 11 Valencia Corporate Telecommuting Cente r Santa Clarita, CA 09/01/1993 unknown 12 Coronado Telecente r Coronado, CA 10/01/1993 06/31/1996 Disposal of Telecenter 13 Federal Alternative Worksite Centers Wi nchester, Virginia 10/01/1993 present 14 Federal Alternative Worksite Centers Ha gerstown, Maryland 10/01/1993 present 15 Antelope Valley Telebusiness Center II Antelope Valley Fair, CA 01/01/1994 unknown 18 Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys Telecommutin g Cente r Ventura County, CA 02/01/1994 01/1995 Improper Site Location 19 Thousand Oaks and Westlake Telecommutin g Cente r Ventura County, CA 02/01/1994 01/1995 Improper Site Location 20 Santa Clarita Valley Telecommuting Center ( US GSA ) Santa Clarita, CA 02/01/1994 1997 21 Grass Valley TeleBusiness Center Grass Valley, CA 02/01/1994 1998 22 Pomona Telebusiness Workcenter City of Pomona, CA 03/01/1994 1997 23 Santa Clarita Telebusiness Center Santa Clarita, CA 03/01/1994 1996 24 Auburn Telecenter Placer County, CA 03/15/1994 early 1995 Not Specified 25 Ulatis Telecenter in Vacaville Vacaville, CA 04/01/1994 06/1995 No users, Insufficient fundin g 26 Federal Alternative Worksite Center Char les County, Maryland 05/01/1994 present 27 Federal Alternative Worksite Center Spotsylvania County, Vir g inia 05/01/1994 present 28 Anaheim Landmark Telebusiness Center Anaheim, CA 06/01/1994 1996 29 Antelope Valley Fair Telecommuting Center Antelope Valley Fair, CA 08/01/1994 04/01/1996 Not enough users. 17


CHAPTER 4 CHARACTERISTICS OF TELECENTERS 4.1 Goals and Objectives The first telecenters were initi ally set up to alleviate loca l traffic congestion, to serve as a focal point for an integrated access system to the Internet and information technology services, and to pursue business related purposes. Nowadays, telecenters work differently, aiming to achieve multiple goals and working in conjunction with other agencies to realize mutually desirable targets. The followi ng sections explain in detail the most relevant reasons for establishing telecenters and some of the newer and locally suitable ideas and goals that some telecenters aim to achieve. 4.1.1 Commute Trip Reduction: Telecenters provide a shorter alternative to the home-work trip commute. It is argued th at curbing travel demand reduces traffic congestion, energy consumpti on, and pollution emissions (5). The driving forces behind some of the early cente rs planned for trip reduction purposes were the Federal Clean Air Act of 1970 and its 1977 and 1990 amendments ( 1, 12). Continued funding for these early telecenters, in most states, depended on the mandatory trip reduction achievement evaluation and cost-benefit analysis. 18


However, with the reduction of many la ws (such employer oriented commute trip reduction ordinances and air quality transportation management programs) to voluntary compliance, the initial enthusiasm attached to telecenters has faded (21). The ordinances have been replaced with voluntary programs and other initiatives, such as scrap or improve gro ss polluting vehicles to achieve the desired reduction in emissions. The voluntary pr ograms are difficult to monitor and the inducement for employers to pursue tr ip-reduction programs reduced greatly. One of the defining features of telecente rs developed to atta in trip reduction standards was that almost all of them were government funded and supported by the local Transportation Manage ment Association (TMA) or Environmental Protection Agency Agencies (EPA). These telecenters survived on public subsidies and grants from various agencies. Very few telecenters that associated trip reduction as their main objective attained self-sustenance. The Grass Valley Telecenter, California, was set up as a direct consequence of increasing traffic problems in the Grass Valley. Grass Valley, a rural area experiencing one of the fastest growth rate s in California, faced sudden increases in population and traffic movement. With prohibitively high co sts to alter the regional highway network, the city was forced to look at alternative means to reduce the traffic congestion problem. The Gra ss Valley TMA prioritized the idea of addressing the severe parking congestion problem that the city faced. The telecenter did not charge its users for the use of the faci lities in the first year of operations. The only cost was for additional services such as phone calls, faxes and stationery. After the first year, when the center approached its users with the proposal to charge rent for using the 19


services, most users backed out and the cente rs had to be closed owing to lack of enough users to support itself. The first multiple-employer telecenter, set up in Hawaii, was implemented primarily to reduce travel demand. Reports on telecenter indicated that the average telecommuter who used the center traveled 9,000 fewer miles per year, saved $2,500 per year on travel costs and saved about 350 gallons of gas per year (18). 4.1.2 Traffic Congestion Mitigation: The Coronado Telecenter, in California, established by the Coronado TMA was set up to help reduce traffic congestion and to meet air quality and trip re duction requirements. The fi nancing of the project was expected to come from employers who would use the facility to meet their legislative requirements. As the ordinances were re duced to voluntary requirements, the support expected from the local employers neve r came and the telecenter failed. Other telecenters established for this reason we re more successful, as the funding was from primarily from government agencies. With increasing urban tra ffic, most of the current telecenters have been set up to light en traffic congestion problems, especially in large urban areas. The federal govern ment established telecenters in the Washington D.C. area, and has continued funding for its employees. 4.1.3 Air Quality Standards Improvement: Telecenters in Chula Vista, California, established through a joint effort of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and San Diego Regional Air Po llution Control District (APCD), were maintained by the city. While the goals of Caltrans and APCD were to reduce the 20


emission standards, the city used these centers as a me ans to incorporate economic growth and provide universal access to information technology for the general community. As air quality ordinances became voluntary, the emphasis of the telecenter switched to meet the communication and technology demands of the city. Insufficient funding forced the closure of one of the two telecente rs on April 1, 1997. The second telecenter closed shortly af terward, owing to insufficient occupancy levels (1). 4.1.4 Peak Hour Trip Reduction: Telecenters were established as a part of the citys Transportation Systems Management (TSM) Program in Vacaville, California, with the primary objective of reducing peak-peri od auto traffic by making more efficient use of existing transportation resources a nd emphasizing ride-shari ng alternatives. The city called all major employers to redu ce their peak period tr ips by at least 30%. The telecenter was established as a means to encourage more employers to address the issue. The center was supported by several local businesses and strongly marketed by the local Government as well. Owing to the extensive publicity, and extremely high funding, the centers opened to high occupa ncy levels. After the initial period, the operators charged nominal fees for vari ous services such as photocopying, fax and telephone. This reduced the number of users. Once a fee structure for the rent was in place, the centers hardly had any users. This center suffered during the transition from a public service enterprise to a pr ivate profit making business and had to be closed down (1). 21


4.1.5 Community Network and Universal Access Goal: Telecenters established in the early 1990s promoted community networ k goals as one of the major reasons for setting up a center. The early 1990s saw a rapid growth in internet and other modern telecommunications equipment use. Network access costs declined rapidly, and the availability of home base d broadband internet conn ection made telecommuting a more attractive alternative. In the current scenario, community netw ork goal attain significance in rural and small urban areas, where advanced tec hnology is not availabl e at an individual level. Many studies have been conducted on the feasibility of setting up community network centers. For example a 1999 study conducted in Molall a, Oregon, revealed that about 66 percent of the families had a computer and that 41 percent of the population had Internet connection (22, 23) The study suggested setting up a telecommuting center would impa rt education to individual s interested in improving their understanding of the in ternet. The center was subsequently established and performed well. Most telecenters established as Univers al Access Sites are either located in public libraries or have been recommended to shift the telecenter to one as most individuals associate libraries with learning centers. Telece nters with such goals have been established in San Diego, Califor nia (East County San Diego Telecommuting Center) and Davis, CA (Birch Lane Telecenter) with the conceived idea of promoting them as access points to the Internet and to telecommunications services. The business proposal for both the Telecente rs emphasizes the idea of providing technical leadership to both community residents and to employers (19). 22


The Santa Clarita telebusiness center, in the Valencia Industrial Center, California, has easy access from Interstate 5, as well as convenient local roads. The telecenter offers telecommuting and vide o conferencing capabili ties which are among the best in the United States. Amenities offe red include a state of the art networking environment with Internet and internal local area network. Each workstation is customized to suit the need s of the particular user. State of the art networking software enables users to have access to the tools necessary fo r their own business and has encouraged the telecen ter developers to use it as a distance learning center. The Center also offers wide area network connections to local schools, city offices, the hospital and other lo cal services (1). Distance learning has been one of the mo st successful of the alternative uses explored by the center directors at the ci ty of Chula Vista Eastern Telecenter (21). Partnerships with the University of Phoenix and National University resulted in classes being conducted at the centers via videoconfer encing; San Diego State University followed suit in 2000. In the case of the Univers ity of Phoenix, the telecenter director reports that students taki ng classes at the center would generate an additional 4,080 miles per month if they had to travel to the University's regional campus (21). 4.1.6 Other Goals: In California, some telecenters were established as a direct consequence of a major earthquake, with the notion that they would enable employees to continue working even in the case of loss of major road and transit corridors. 23


Telemedical project development has b een a major focus of growth potential for some centers. The Los Baos Telecente r, a profit-driven center serving rural central California, developed a roster of physicians and medical centers who participate with their patients in video c onferencing diagnostic consultation sessions with the University of California at Irvine (20). One of the primary objectives of TDM policies, which include telecommuting, is to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles during the commute trip. While this is true in the case of solutions such as carpooling and vanpooling, the same cannot be expected in the case of telecen ters. A case study of the Washington State Telework Center, states th at while 57% of telecommut ers (individuals using the telecenter) drove alone to work in the main office on days when they did not use the telecenter, 83% drove alone to the telecenter (24). While these statistics look detrimental, careful study must be carried out to see whether the distance that the employee drives to the telecommuting cente r is matched by the distance that user travels to reach the carpool or vanpool, before concluding that telecenters increase singleoccupancy vehicle commute distances. In certain cases, however, centers are established both as trip reduction strategies and as engines fo r economic development. As enforcement of regional commute reduction regulations relaxed, these centers that had been originally established as a trip reduction strategy fo r air quality attainment programs began to develop different services to ensure economic viability over the long term. While telecenters have the potential to attain multiple goals, there is also the prospective of complete failure when tryi ng to attain too many goals. There is an 24


understandable tendency for project planne rs to list as many goals as possible in connection with a telecenter, for initial funding and support. The danger lies in overselling a specific facility for fulfilling a large number of publicly popular but collectively unrealistic goals (6). 4.2 Benefits The benefits of a telecenter are not just restricted to the employers and employees. While these groups profit the most, there is much to gain in terms of transportation impacts and air quality improvements for the so ciety in general. In addition to lower congestion and reduce air pollu tion, potential benefits in clude decreased national petroleum use, fewer highway accidents, and eased transportation infrastructure requirements. Some of the major advantages to employers, employees and to transportation infrastructure are listed below. 4.2.1 Advantages for Employees: Telecenters encourage telecommuting and improve the quality of life for workers in terms of enhanced productivity and increased job satisfaction (25). In a survey conducte d on 3,400 workers in the Washington, D.C. area, 16 perc ent stated telecommuting as the best perk that could be offered by their employers (26). Employees, faced with childcare or elder care constraints, are willing to work from a neighborhood telework center as they remain close to home (12). Additionally, mobility-impaired persons can greatly benefit from telecommuting by allowing them to be gainfully employed when they would otherwise be excluded from consideration 25


(9). Telecenter users require fewer days of sick leave, gaining increased productive work time, and even requiring less disability leave because of their telecenter experience (25). Telecenters provide employees with ad equate space to work, which may not be available at home (3); also, they are a good alternative to indi viduals who wish to telecommute, but cannot do so owing to constr aints at home. Necessary software and technological support is also provided in a telecenter which cannot always be provided at home by the employer. With increased awareness of safety at work, employers are concerned about the working environment at home for many employees. These concerns can be mitigated by the use of a telecenter. Employees often work at kitchen tables at home, without ergonomically designed furniture or lighting (2 ) producing inefficient and low quality work. Telecommuters save on gas, deprecia tion, general wear and tear on their vehicles (4), and meals (whi ch are found to be taken at home in many cases) (9). They also spend less time in tra ffic on congested roadways (25). Professional and social interaction that is not possible in home-based telecommuting occurs in a telecenter. Since the supervisor is no longer present while work is done, telecommuting often results in greater job autonomy and may change performance evaluation procedures to focus on work output instead of the appearance of working (27). The added flexibility in a telecommuter's life, as a result of the relaxation of time-space constraints, often leads to positive changes in the travel behavior of not only telecommuters but also their household members (28). 26


4.2.2 Advantages for Employers: Employers look at telecenters primarily as an employee benefit, and not as a cost or sp ace saving measure (4). Such policies help employers in retaining employees and gain employee loyalty. Improved retention can also save the organization money spent on th e recruitment, reloca tion, and training of new employees (27). Increased employee productivity is one of the major gains for both employees and employers. Employers gain from redu ced absenteeism (as employees need not take the whole day off to run errands close to home) and turnover due to telecommuting programs (29). Employers stat e that telecommuters take fewer sick days off and show markedly hi gher levels of motivation (9). Many employers state that if a tel ecommuting program is run properly, it leads to savings in the demand of office space and, as a result, lower costs of acquiring and maintaining office space (4). Mana gers are assured of the fact that their employees are in an office setting and are provided the same conditions to work as in the main office (25). Implementing a telecommuting program can fulfill some requirements of clean air mandates that require employers to reduce the pollution caused by its employees during their commutes (30). For employers who suffer from acute parking shortage, setting up of a successful telecommuting program will help solve their problem (4). Security issues which are a problem in home based telecommuting are easier to monitor in a telecenter (3). Many cente rs provide employees with keys to private offices and also provided individual computers with passwords for access. 27


Telecenters provide a more professional image than homebased telecommuting and also offer a more conve ntional worker and property liability context than does homebased telecommuting (3). 4.2.3 Transportation Improvements: Telecommuters enjoy reduced commute distance and decreased travel times. Owing to this reduced commute distance, telecenter users tend to traverse the shorter distances after the peak periods, thus, reducing the peak hour congestion (31). With increased commute trip flexibility, commuters tend to modify their activity schedule such that they make trips in those times of the day when there is less conge stion. Other indirect transportation costs include accidents and insurance premiums the degradation or loss of employee productivity, employee turnove r, which are all reduced. Trips to telecommuting centers avoid the congested, urbanized corridors of the region which improves traffic flows and average travel speed, indirectly reducing emissions (4). "Telecommuters tend to shift activities to destinations closer to home. Interestingly, telecommuters, as well as members of telecommuter households, show a contracted activity space, indicating that they are not making the longer-distance trips formerly engaged in by the telecommuter (8). This suggests a learning process by which new destinations which are closer to home are discovered and (more or less) permanently adopted (9). Owing to the short distances that telecen ter users have to commute, employees tend to conduct single task trips rather than trip chaining which is characteristic of long distance commutes (28). This increases the number of cold starts and affects air 28


quality standards, but reduced emissions from making shorter commute trips more than balances the potential disadvantage of increased number of cold starts (4). Studies (15) reveal that telecenter us ers tend to make more singleperson vehicle trips rather than home-based te lecommuting employees; while home-based telecommuters make more person trips than center-based telecommuters. There is a case of studying the relative bene fits by each method applied. The number of transit trips and trip s made by modes such as carpooling or vanpooling decreased for center-based users. Th is is not necessarily a disadvantage as the distance traveled by the carpool users to reach the carpool by their private vehicle might be longer than the trip made to the telecenter. It is on ly when telecommuting contributes to the disintegration of the entire ridesharing arrangement, so that multiple vehicle trips are made instead of one th at negative consequen ces result (24). The number of trips made by bike and walk increase as the number of neighborhood trips increase (32). 29


CHAPTER 5 FEASIBILITY REQUIREMENTS Successful telework centers share similar characteristics, such as proximity to telecommuters residences, ability to accomm odate multiple users, and flexible work stations allocation. Some of the most im portant elements and necessary conditions for the planning phase for establishing a telecenter are discussed below. 5.1 Location The location decision plays a determinant role during the pla nning and operational phases. In theory, the decision is dictated on the need to locate nearby or within the residential areas where target employees reside, based on the premise that this reduces the need to commute (6). In pr actice, it is always not possible to locate within residential neighborhoods, due to zoning restrictions. Most residential centers are located in small strip developments adjoining residential neighborhoods. Some centers are located in the downtown central business districts (CBD), while others are located in suburban locations. Smaller towns choose to establish their telecenters in their downtown area for easy accessibility (1). Examples include tele centers in the small ci ties of Chula Vista, Anaheim, California and Grass Valley, California. 30


Some telecenters are located in seconda ry business districts, especially in larger cities. This stems from the hypothe sis that in high density, large employment areas, more companies allow their employees to work from the telecenters, thus reducing travel flow in and out of the CBD. While most planners choose their site location based on these criteria, some others suggest that the location of the cente r in the city must be based not on the immediate future, but also by keeping in mi nd, the continuity of the project. There must be proper time allocated for planning a nd building a sustainable program, rather than acquiring space, equipment and custom ers immediately (1), and pursuing the idea on a short span basis. Other major issues include assuring that telecenters are not located in close proximity to each other to avoid hampering gr owth. The Ballard Facility in the Puget Sound Area, Washington, suffered from a lack of users as the state run Washington State Telework Center was available only a few miles away and whose rents were much lower (33). Many reports state that the time av ailable for planning and set up often influence the location of the building (1). For example, the location decision of centers launched in the city of Chula Vista, California, was based on the ready availability of building infrastructure. 5.2 Employee Mix The most important demographic characterist ic is the employment mix of the target teleworkers. Certain jobs are more suited to telecommuting than others (2). Data 31


entry, clerical and managerial occupations are expected to be most suited for telecommuting. As an example, it would be illogical to set up a telecenter in an area where most of the employees are factor y workers or specialized health care personnel. The first monthly report from the A naheim Landmark TeleBusiness Center stated that demographic an alysis of the area near the proposed site supported selection based on the type and density of information workers in the area, such as administrative support and managerial worker s. Density maps showed a relatively heavy concentration of administrative suppor t workers with commutes in excess of 30 minutes residing within one mile of the proposed center (1). 5.3 Employment Density Another variable of particular interest is occupational de nsity, that is, the number of workers near the proposed site. This gives an idea of the potential clientele target for the telecenter. This is important when ta rgeting the number of employees that may be housed in the telecenter. 5.4 Household Size and Composition Workers within larger households are assu med to be more likely to telecommute because of having young children or other family responsibilities (6). Single member households are less likely to telecommute fr om home (because of the need for social interaction fulfilled by the workplace), but may be willing to do so from a center. 32


Studies hypothesized that greater the need to balance work and family demands, greater would be the propensity to telecomm ute. Therefore, single parents are more likely to telecommute or use a telecenter. In addition, the greater the number of fulltime workers, the higher is the chance that a worker will telecommute (owing to fewer vehicles in the household, high er responsibilitie s shared) (22). Reports state that the lower the ratio of autos to licensed drivers within a household, the greater the incen tive for the worker to telecommute. However, vehicle availability is correlated with income, a nd while the desire to telecommute may be greater among workers in lower-income hous eholds, the ability to telecommute falls disproportionately to higher-income worker s (6, 20). Other soci o-economic variables such as availability of public tr ansit are considered relevant. 5.5 Commute Trip Characteristics Telecenter planners must be aware of wh ich commuters are more likely to make a switch to telecommuting. A 2000 study condu cted by the International Telework Association and Council (18) concluded that the one-way commute distance for teleworkers averaged 19.7 miles, versus 13.3 miles for non teleworkers. The teleworkers daily round tr ip commute times averaged 63 minutes versus 45 minutes for non-teleworkers. Other studi es (20, 34) also reiterate th e fact that commuters with longer travel times and distances show a preference to telecommute. A necessary step in a feasibility assessment is to analy ze the commute trip patterns of the target population. 33


It is suggested that indi viduals who take transit, carpool, or vanpool to work should be targeted with other innovative ideas such as telecenters. It is expected that since they have a knowledge and understand ing of TDM strategi es and goals, they would more readily realize the advantages of working from a location closer to home. On the other hand, rideshare and transit user s are less likely to rideshare or take transit to the telecenter (possibly with detrimental impacts on existing shared-ride arrangements) (6), which must be studied carefully before implementation. Studies stress the need for pushing solo drivers to use the telecenter as greater congestion and air quality benefits can be achieved. 5.6 Availability of Amenities While part of the solution lays in reduc ing commute distances, there is also an incentive to reduce trip frequency. The majo rity of studies concluded that there must be various services available at a short distance from the telecommuting center to capture the essence of telecenters. Studies show the presence a transit stop very close to the telecenter being one of the major considerations while selecting the site. This indicates the importance of interlinking telecenters with other modes to attain trip reduction goals. Some telecenters, set up in campuses like the Moorpark and Ventura Community College Telecenters, California, (Ventura College is located near the Pacific Coast, north of Los Angeles, while Moorpark is a bedroom community located in the hills separating Ventura County from Los Angeles) had transit stops at the entrance of the telecenters. However, care must be taken in actually evaluating the effectiveness of the transit 34


stop close to the telecenter. In many cases geographical nearness might not reflect accessibility. As a particular instance, the Wash ington State Telework Center was established very close to a transit stop. However, the transit stop was separated from the telework center by a major arterial, wh ich made using transi t a highly unattractive proposition for most of the centers users. Furthermore, transit stops at the center must match those at the residen ces of the centers users (35). Employees make trips during the lunch hour to restaurants and other eateries. While such trips do not occur in home-bas ed telecommuting, they cannot be avoided by telecenters users. Most of the telecenters considered in this report had restaurants within one mile of the telecenter; grocery stores and supermarkets located within a short distance; to encourage telecenter user s to make short trip s and reduce overall travel distances. Other facilities that the telecenters planners place importance on while designing the center include banks, ATMs, post offices, shopping malls, child care centers, health and fitness centers, drug stores and conve nience stores (1, 6). 5.7 Start-up Funding Start-up costs are recognized to include land, parking provision, building lease or purchase, and any interior or exterior tenant improvements to the facility, (including Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance), and lease or purchase of equipment and furnishings. While costs s hould be minimized as much as possible, it 35


is desirable to have a ra nge of facility configura tions, which might encourage employers to select the telecenter as an alternate worksite for their employees. There are few funding sources of public funding for telework center development. Under the goal of reducing commuting federal funding is available. The federal government also provides gran ts to establish tele work centers that increase employment options for people with disabilities. Also, state department of transportation provide funding to reduce the negative externalities generated by single occupancy vehicle commuting. While public funding may represent an option to cover some of the fixed costs, private partnership is considered as essential in successfully operating centers in the long run. Publicly funded telecenters can partner with an anchor tenant. An anchor tenant is any employer supportive of telecommuting who will supply a significant number of telecommu ters. It is assumed this should probably be a major employer such as the state or local governme nt or a technology corporation. Having an anchor tenant ensures occupation of the facility during a highly publicized opening, and enhances the marketability of the telecenter to other prospective employers by removing the potential discomfort of being the first or only tenant. In other words, the anchor serves as a magnet to attract other employers. Being supported by a large employer with a tele commuting plan in place reduces the burden of scouting for potential users and also se rves as a strong advertising campaign. Other potential sources and types of contributi ons include donation of equipment by private corporations, service donations and genera l expertise in the form business plan designing, and other s ources of local marketing or training 36


expertise. All these must be well establis hed in the early planning phase to provide good backbone support for the center. 5.8 Other Factors While primary location, household characteristics, commute trip patterns, funding, and amenities are the major concerns in establishing a telecenter, they do not comprise an exhaustive set of conditions to locate a within a specific area. Political considerations play a ma jor role in the site se lection (1). In add ition, legal restrictions such as land use laws and zonal regulations must be a ddressed before deciding upon a site location (36). The American Disabilitie s Act also influences the decision of the kind of building that is chosen to house the telecenter. In other cases, the preferences of an an chor tenant influen ce site selection and also site specifications. In return, the cen ter has increased marketability owing to site occupation. In some instances, telece nter planners conducte d interviews with employers of potential telecommuters to mutu ally decide on the location of the site. Telecenters often work on grants from public and private institutions. In some cases, the grants included providing the tele center developers with a building free of cost for a certain period of time. Such act ions have also been known to influence the location of telecenters. The Ballard Neighborhood Telework Center was located in excess space of a building owned by a private firm (Market Street Computer Systems, Inc.), who made the space available for an in definite period of time (until the firm needed the space back). 37


5.9 Challenges to Implementation Most telecenters established in the US suffe red failures and closur es in a very short span of time. Between 1991 and 1997, 45 centers opened, 21 closed and one was expected to close in California. (37). Ma ny of the remaining telecenters also became dysfunctional by the end of 1998. While there are many reasons for the possible failures of telecenters, some reasons stand out as being common to most telecenters. These failures are discussed below. 5.9.1 Funding Alternatives: The primary reason for closur e of telecenters in the 1990s was inadequate funding (1). In 1992 funding became available under Congress appropriation to the General Services Administration for federal employees telework center set up and operation in the Washington, DC, area. Subsequently, in 1997 the appropriation was increased from $5 million to $11 million with funding availability extended to the pr ivate sector. In recen t years, due to low occupancy levels, cost-benef it assessment, most of the funding has been reduced and used to maintain the telework centers in the Washington metropolitan area. In the state of California, most of the telecenters were closed after the initial demonstration period. Center users typically did not have to pay any fees during the demonstration period and expected such a stru cture to exist afterward. At the end of the demonstration phase, centers could not attract users to continue using the facility while having to pay the fee. They were al so inadequate in introducing other ways to improve their income, thus facing closure. 38


5.9.2 Poor Site Selection: Some telecenters were establis hed at the sites of existing offices. The disadvantage with this was that these offices could be closed at any point of time when the parent company needed th e space, resulting in immediate closure of the center. The Sonoma C ounty Transit Telecommute Center was opened in December 1994 in the California State Univers ity at the Sonoma campus. On June 30, 1996, the center was closed when the univ ersity required the space for its own operations. Sites established after conducting careful research of the neighboring area for potential users were often found to attract much fewer users than expected, thereby not being to able to justify their existence and closed down. The federal government began its tel ecommuting program in the Washington DC area and intended to study the East coast program before expanding it across the country. Very limited information was av ailable regard ing the number of federal employees living near the three sites sele cted, how many of those employees would be interested in using the facilities, or wh ich of the federal agencies and managers in those areas would be willing to allow their employees to use the sites. This lack of detailed information in site selection was a significant factor in the eventual closure of some centers (37). 5.9.3 Insufficient Demand: Many telecenters, after the demonstration period, were expected to be self sufficient, but ow ing to price increases many telecommuters dropped out of the program leading to the closure of the centers. The Coronado Telecenter was one such telecenter that cl osed in 1996 owing to lack of funding and 39


insufficient occupancy levels (1). The An telope Valley Fair Telecommuting Center, in California, was open from August 1, 1994 to the summer of 1996. In April 1996 there was only one telecommuter using the facility on a regular basis and no active recruitment was taking place and subsequently closed down (37). The Ballard Neighborhood Telecenter, Wa shington and the Washington State Telework Center were in the vicinity of each other and owing to lower rental rates charged by the State Telework Center, the Ballard Telecenter had to close down in 1996. In July 1995, two centers that existed in Vacaville (Ulatis and Three Oaks telecenters), California, were consolidat ed, and the equipment from the Ulatis telecenter was relocated to the Three Oaks/Ala mo facility. It was determined that the Ulatis center would have soon been shut due to facility maintenance requirements. However, after considering facility costs, client usage and other resource variables, the decision to consolidate the two telecenters into one was agreed as the best course of action (1). 5.9.4 Inadequate Marketing and Recruitment Policy: Most telecenters were set up with minimal marketing and recruitment policy. The telecente r managers of the RABO project in California stated that w ith a better marketing and recruitment policy the centers could have attracte d more clients (1). Most tel ecenter developers were just interested in acquiring space and furniture and getting the center operational without conducting a formal analysis. Marketing for telecenters included distributing flyers to individual households, conducting information sessions to employers, and seeking political help. 40


Most telecenters were well pub licized, but the employees of the center complained of too much work and inadequate support from the participating agencies, often causing high employer turnover. 5.9.5 Employer Resistance: Telecenters are still an untried and relatively new concept as opposed to other strategies such as vanpooling and carpooling, commuter trip reduction, flex-time and telecommuting from home. The project manager for the telecenters in Concord and San Jose, California attributed the low usage rates to the difficulties involved in conveying the concept of telecommuting from centers to employers, and identified one major barrier to the success of telecommuting as lack of trust from employers toward their employees (37). Many employers support the idea of telecommuting and telecenters, but do not want to support the costs that are associat ed with them. When the costs of using the telecenter at the Washington State Telework Center were low (from $0 to $100), employers were ready to allow their employees to use it, but when this center closed owing to discontinued funding, the employers did not allow their employees to use the Ballard Neighborhood Telework Center as they were not ready to pay the actual rental costs of additi onal office space (33). In a study of approximat ely 275 telecommuters at telework centers in California, 50 percent stopped telecommuting within nine m onths (38). Most reasons were stated to be job related rather than issues that the employees themselves had to face (4). Also, turnover was found to be hi gher at telecenters than for home-based telecommuters, and some telecenter users found it is just as easy to work at home. 41


5.9.6 Inadequate Staffing and High Turnover: Many telecenters operated with only one full time manager and at most with two staff members. Thes e individuals were expected to be well versed in various ta sks such as marketing, planning, maintenance activities and attending to the needs of the telecommuters. Many managers quit from the job citing high stress and inadequate compensations (1). The Anaheim Telebusiness Center, in Califor nia, closed down due to high turnover rates in the receptionist and administrator positions, as there was a lack of continuity in understanding telecommuting issues and reporti ng requirements to the University (6). 5.9.7 Other Reasons: Other reasons for failu re include incomplete definition of goals and loss of interest. Many managers set very high targets and goals to achieve from the telecenter. This was often done to ga in improved funding for the center, but often led to setting of unattainable targets for the telecenters (32). Telecenters that were set up by private individuals motivated by prof it suffered as the individuals soon lost interest owing to poor income generated by the telecenters. 5.10 Feasibility Matrix Based on the analysis carried out in the previous section, a summary of the most relevant characteristics that can be used to assess the feasibility of implementing a telecenter are summarized. The matrix described in Table 2 provides a synopsis of the pros and cons associated with this TM D strategy and will be used in the analysis described in the next section. 42


Table 2 Feasibility Matrix PHYSICALWithin or in proximity of target residential area Secondary business district Program Type Single and Multiple Employer Ability to accommodate multiple users Flexible workstation allocation Presence of Transit stops close to the telecente r Interlinka g e with other modes Presence of banks, ATMs, post offices, shopping malls, eating places, child care centers, health and fitness centersECONOMICIdeal public/private partnership Marketing/Recruiting Aggressive, targeted, advertising is necessary to sustain planned usa g e levelsSOCIO-DEMOGRAPHICResidential Density High density target residential areas with similar commute trip patterns are more likely to telework Workers within larger households are more likely to telework Young, single member households are more likely to participate in the program High prevalence of: High prevalence of: Data entry Specialized health care Clerical/Administrative Retail/Wholesale Managerial Recreation services Factory Construction Positions that do not require on g oin g supervisionCOMMUTE PATTERNSThe longer the distance the higher the likelihood to use a telecenter Competition from alternative TDM programs, such as telecommuting, vanpooling, carpooling, car sharing The longer the commuting time the higher the likelihood to use a telecenter Household Composition These positions require commuting at the central office Amenities Funding Employer resistance due to security reasons, or supervisory issues Poor site selection, conflicting goals and short planning phase Low usage level (insufficient demand) that do not allow to cover operating costs Absence or paucity of close by amenities No marketing strategy, lack of marketing funds Low density, heterogeneous commute trip patterns and worker profile Households with young children are less likely to participate in telecenter based telecommuting. Transit stops separated by major arterials; e.g., nearness does not mean accessibility Inability to obtain public funding, grants from federal and state agencies Location Commute Time/DistanceFEASIBILITY FACTORS CONSTRAINTSZoning restrictions Recruiting anchor tenant as major funding and usage level contributor Employer reluctance to pay for double office space Ability to meet Americans with Disability Act requirements Employee Mix Space 43


CHAPTER 6 ANALYSIS As part of this study, the Miami-Dade MP O (Metropolitan Planning Authority) was interested in assessing the feasibility of implementing telework centers in MiamiDade County, in particular around the areas along the SR-836 (Dolphin Expressway) corridor. The analysis is carried out in two main steps. First, areas potentially suitable for telework centers are identified. Then, a suitability analysis is carried out, based on an assessment of the socioeconomic characteristics and ch ecked against the feasibilit y matrix developed in the previous section. The second and final step deals with commenting on the merits of establish telecenters in the identified areas. Assuming that commute trip reduction or trip duration reduction remains the primary goal of the telecenter the analysis consists of: Analyzing the corridor for poten tial traffic related problems. Assessing potential site locations ba sed on SR 836 commute trip patterns; Analyzing employee commute trip origin -destination patterns for different residential areas in the vicinity of the suggested sites; Classifying commuters by job position held; and, Assessing the presence and characteristics of amenities to establish convenience factors. 44


The analysis utilizes many differen t applications, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Florida Geographical Data Library (FGDL), and the U.S. Census Bureau Local Employment D ynamics (LED) tool. A discussion of the various databases and modeling packages is presented in the next sections of this report. 6.1 Analysis Tools/ Softwares The report utilizes many diffe rent applications for the analysis. The primary focus remains on mapping the existing geographic co nditions and obtaining traffic/ travel reports for the area. Reports which perfor m extensive geographic analysis use GIS (Geographical Information Systems) software to provide accurate solutions to the different questions. This report extensively uses different forms of GIS softwares to evaluate the site for solutions. Other tools used in the study include the Highway Capacity Model (HCM, 2000) and Traffic Data for the Florida provided by Florid a Department of Transportation (FDoT). These sources are us ed for accurate traffic information on SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway) and to perform Le vel of Service (LOS ) studies for the roadway. 6.1.1 GIS Data and Applications: GIS (Geographical Information Systems) is a technology that manages, analyzes, and disseminates geographic knowledge. GIS links location to information (such as people to addresses, buildi ngs to parcels, or streets within a network) and layers that information to give a better understanding of 45


how it all interrelates. The metadata, which ex plains the accuracy of the data used, is available as an appendix to the study. GIS information is chosen from four di fferent data libraries for the study. The data used ranges from layered data used to plot thematic maps, to specialized applications used to obtain extremely specific information for the research. a) FGDL (Florida Geographical Data Library): The FGDL is a mechanism for distributing satellite imagery, aerial photogr aphs and spatial (GIS) data throughout the state of Florida. The FGDL is compiled from data and images collected from numerous state and federal governmenta l agencies, as well as some nonprofit organizations and private companies. Th e Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is the lead agency contributing to the development of FGDL. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDE P) has also contribut ed a great deal to the FGDL. The FGDL is warehoused and maintained at the University of Florida's GeoPlan Center, a GIS Research and Teach ing Facility. Different GeoPlan Center projects have included the development of databases that have subsequently been added to the FGDL. These projects include the Cross Florida Greenway Project, The Statewide Greenways Planning Effort, The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), the FDoT (Florida Depa rtment of Transportation) Environmental GIS Database Development Project, and th e FDOT Efficient Transportation Decision Making Project. There are currently over 350 layers of GIS data in the FGDL. The data is organized by county, state, an d coastal areas. Data for the MiamiDade County is 46


chosen from the existing data sets. Information freely available from the data library includes road network data, location of various personal and recreational centers, population maps and census blocks in MiamiDade County. b) FDoT GIS Resources : The Florida Department of Transportation (FDoT) maintains GIS data for various traffic features su ch as highways/ major roads, and annual average daily traffic (AADTs), and maximum speed limits. The data is coded in standard longitudelatitude coordinates, wh ich can be used readily. These layers are used for the traffic report section of th e report (reference FD oT GIS downloads). FDoT updates the data sets regularly to maintain an accurate dataset for use in projects. c) US Census Bureau LED: The Census Bureau has developed a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) based tool to pr esent LED (Local Employment Dynamics) maps. Local Employment Dynamics (LED) is a voluntary partne rship between state labor market information agencies and th e U.S. Census Bureau to develop new information about local labor market conditions at low cost, with no added respondent burden, and with the same confid entiality protections afforded to census and survey data (refer US Census Bur eau LED). The Local Em ployment Dynamics (LED) recently released a new beta version of the pilot-mapping tool called OnThe Map. For the first time in the project, all 14 pilot states (California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Missour i, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Alabama and Texas) are now included in the application. This online data library is best suite d to represent to show the origindestination trip patterns for commuters residing in a particular area (reference the 47


LED site). The dataset may also be used for locating the residential location of employees in a particular location. This dataset is used in the most crucial part of the analys is. The study portrays the high density trip attracting zones (major office locations) for residents living in the vicinity of SR 836. This analysis give s a good understanding of the utilization of SR 836 by commuters. d) Employment Demographics : Employment information is obtained from the InfoUSA dataset. InfoUSA datasets are th e most accurate among the many datasets used to map employer locations. The data fo r employment location is obtained using the following sources: Nearly 5,200 Yellow Page and Business White Page Directories are perused to obtain accurate up-todate information about the businesses. 17 million phone calls are made every year to verify information regarding business location and size. Every business is called anywhere between one to four times a year. County Courthouse and Secretary of State Data are also studied to ensure the filtering of misinformation. Leading business magazines and newspapers, Annual Reports, 10Ks and other SEC filings are also examined for relevant information. New business registration and incorporat ions are taken notice of, because new businesses must be incorporat ed into the data set regularly for quality purposes. Postal service information including Nati onal Change of Address, ZIP+4 carrier route and Delivery Sequence Files are s canned for business location purposes. 48


This data set has information about di fferent businesses and users can obtain diversified information about the businesses including and not limited to: Location ZIP Code, Neighborhood, C ity, Metro Area, County, Area Code, State. Type of Business Yellow Page Head ing, Major Industry Group, SIC Code or Professionals (doctors, dentists, etc.). Business Size Number of Employees, Sales Volume. Credit Rating. Location Type Corporate Headquarters, H eadquarters of a Subsidiary, Branch. Phone and Fax Numbers. Key Decision Makers/Executive Names. 6.1.2 HCM (Highway Capacity Manual) 2000: The Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) is the most widely distributed pub lication of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). It presents fundamental in formation and computational techniques on the quality of service and capacity of highway facilities. The HCM provides a stepwise methodology to analyze a roadway fo r different characteristics. An up-todate compilation of this information is vita l to an expanding array of public policy, planning, fiscal, land-use regulation, design, operational, and educational applications. The HCM is employed in this study to estimate the Levels of Service of different segments of the roadway and to obtain an estimate of the extent of congestion on SR 836. 49


HCM 2000 (U.S. customary units) is a completely revised, updated, and expanded edition that reflects the results of a multiyear, multimillion-dollar research effort by NCHRP (National Cooperative Highway Research Program), FHWA (Federal Highway Administra tion), TCRP (Transit Coopera tive Research Program), and TRB (Transportation Research Board). TRB's Committee on Highway Capacity and Quality of Service were the principal investigators in the development of the manual. The content and format of HCM 2000 incorporate major changes and im provements in analysis methodologies from the previous manuals. 6.1.3 Florida traffic information CDROM: A complete set of current traffic data reports is available on the Florida Traffic Information 2004 CD-ROM. This CD contains information available in the 2003 version along with the following major improvements requested as a resu lt of the 2003 customer survey: Multiple synopsis reports Historical K 30 D 30 and T% Color-coded volumes for AADT and Truck Flow maps The CD contains information regarding the traffic levels on major roads in Florida. The Annual Average Daily Traffic and traffic counts by hour at different locations on SR 836 are employed in the study. 50


6.2 Site Description and Existing Traffic Conditions Congestion levels in Miami are among the hi ghest in the country. According to the Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mob ility Report 2005, MiamiDade County is ranked 13 th in the US in congestion levels, wi th an average delay of 51 hours per traveler per year. State Road 836, locally known as the Do lphin Expressway, is a 55-mile-perhour, 13-mile-long six-line divided tollwa y, extending from US 1 (SR 5) and SR A1A) in Miami westward past Miami International Airport to the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike (SR 821) in Sweetwater. It is maintained and operated by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. Figure 1 Dolphin Expressway 51


As shown in Figure 1, SR 836 (also know n as the Dolphin Expressway) runs through the north and northwest planning ar eas of Miami-Dade County, connecting some of the major trip attr acting areas such as Downtown Miami, Doral and Coral Gables (high employment areas), with ma jor trip production sites such as Central Miami (residential areas) in the East-Wes t direction. There are major highways, which run in the North-South direction (Palmetto Expressway (SR 826), I95), but SR 836 is the only East-West bound expressway Because of its unique direction and the areas that it connects, th e road is affected by near capacity flows in the peak periods of 6 to 9 a.m., and 4 to 7 p.m ., most commonly in the stretch between LeJeune Road (SR 953) and the Palmetto Expressway. 6.2.1 Average Annual Daily Traffic ( AADT) and Peak Hour Traffic: Figure 2 reports the Annual Average Daily Traffic ( AADT) count volumes for both directions, as well as two-way volumes. AADT on SR 836 varies from 95,000 vehicles per day on the first 1.2 miles of the roadway from the western side, to about 207,000 vehicles per day on the widest portion of the expressway. AADT is the total volume of traffic on a highway segment for one year, divided by the number of days in the year and represents a measure of congestion. AADTs for SR 836 are obtained from the FGDL shape files. Separate counts are made for every non-homogenous segment of the roadway. Non-homogeneity occurs either due to differing number of lanes, entry or exit ramps, or different speed limits. 52


Figure 2 AADT Distribution on Different Segments of SR 836 Hourly traffic counts for SR 836, obta ined from the FDOT Florida Traffic Inform ation CD are used to calculate peak hours for each direction. Peak hour traffic is necessary to determine the performan ce of the roadway under extreme conditions. These hourly counts are used to determine peak hour traffic for weekdays and the results are presented in Table 31. The peak hour for the eastern leg is 89 am nearly 72% of the days. Most of the traffic passes on the eastbound direction in the morni ng peak period of 7-10 am (nearly 25%) of the overall traffic. The p eak hour for the western leg is 5-6 pm for 88% of the study period. Such a peak dist ribution is pretty common, owing to the 1 Data for 193 weekdays of 2003 are used to compile Table 3. 53


location of the highly employment-centric CBD in the eastern end of SR 836, and the residential locations in the westbound areas. Table 3 Peak Hour SR 836 Telemeter Site Peak Hour No. of Days Percent Cumulative Percent Peak Hour No. of Days Percent Cumulative Percent 7-8 am 44 22.822.8 3-4 pm 2 1 1 8 -9 am 138 71.594.3 4 -5pm 14 7.3 8.3 9 -10 am 3 1.6 95.9 5 -6pm 169 87.6 95.9 11 -12 pm 1 0.5 96.4 6 -7pm 6 3.1 99 3 -4 pm 6 3.1 99.5 7 -8pm 2 1 100 11-12 am 1 0.5 100 ---Total 193 100 Total 193 100 Eastbound Westbound 6.2.2 Congestion: Congestion at a disaggregate level, i.e. at the roadway level is evaluated for this report. For freeways and multilane urban highways, the measure of effectiveness of a road network in maintaining congestion levels is obtained by analyzing the Levels of Service (HCM, 2000). Roadway level of service (LOS) is a stra tification of traveler s' perceptions of the quality of service provided by a facilit y. Much like a student's report card, LOS is represented by the letters "A" through "F", with "A" generally representing the most favorable driving conditions a nd "F" representing the least favorable (FDoT website). To study the LOS of highways, vehi cular density rema ins the primary parameter of study. Density defines the proximity of vehicles to each other, which is the principal influence on freedom to maneuve r. LOS calculations can also be carried replacing density with maximum volume to capacity ratio as the i.e. the flow to capacity ratio in the peak hour. This v/c ratio is used for evaluation of the roadway in this report. Traffic engineers focus on th e peak-hour traffic volume in evaluating a 54


roadway because it represents the most criti cal time period, when the roadway is most choked with traffic. Table 4 SR 836 Level of Service Beginning Length (miles) Ending Length (miles) Segment Length (miles) Eastbound AADT (veh/day) Eastbound No. of Lanes LOS Eastbound Westbound AADT (veh/day) Westbound No. of Lanes LOS Westbound 0.4 0.4 47,500 2 E 47,500 3 D 0.4 0.5 0.1 47,500 3 D 47,500 3 D 0.5 0.8 0.4 47,500 3 D 47,500 2 E 0.8 1.2 0.4 47,500 3 D 47,500 3 D 1.2 3.3 2.0 67,653 3 E 67,653 3 E 3.3 4.2 1.0 56,750 3 D 56,750 3 D 4.2 4.8 0.5 98,500 3 E 98,500 3 E 4.8 6.3 1.6 98,500 3 E 98,500 3 E 6.3 7.9 1.6 103,500 3 F 103,500 3 F 7.9 8.4 0.5 77,500 3 D 77,500 3 D 8.4 9.4 1.0 91,750 3 E 91,750 3 E 9.4 10.6 1.1 80,500 3 D 80,500 3 D 10.6 11.0 0.5 68,250 3 E 68,250 3 D 11.0 11.4 0.3 61,750 3 D 61,750 3 D 11.4 11.8 0.4 61,750 2 E 61,750 2 E 11.8 13.0 1.3 51,750 2 F 51,750 2 F The LOS depends on peak rates of fl ow occurring within the peak hour because substantial short-term fluctuati ons typically occur during an hour. Common practice is to use a peak 15-minute rate of flow and extrapolate to obtain an hourly flow. The HCM method for estimating LOS is followed. As a default value, the roadway is assumed to have a peak hour factor (PHF) value of 0.92 (as per HCM recommendations), when peak hour traffic counts are used. For volume calculations, each direction of the roadway is treated se parately and the Levels of Service (LOS) are calculated for the re spective peak hour flows The analysis suggests that SR 836 experiences extremely high volume flows, almost near capacity flows, in peak hours. Furthermore, poor LOS values exist during the peak hours, with some segmen ts having a LOS of E, indicating high congestion. Two portions of the roadway ha ve LOS F, indicating inadequate capacity 55


to satisfy demand. Clearly, congestion reliev ing measures are neces sary to ease peak hour traffic. 6.3 Site Identification The traffic analysis shows that SR 836 conge stion is characterized by a commute trip pattern that generate s a.m. peak hour traffic congesti on with a predominant east-west flow. The next step is to spatially asse ss the trip generation and attraction zones. Assuming a monocentric approach, that is that commuters mostly travel from residential areas across the county to the Miami central business district (CBD), the first step is to ascertain where th e workers employed at the CBD reside. To correlate CBD workers to their reside nces, and thus establish commute trip patterns, the US Census Bureaus Lo cal Employment Dynamics (LED) was employed, a prototype GIS-based tool that allows mapping orig in-destination trip patterns. LED employs the Census Bureaus demographic and economic databases to spatially correlate workers hom es to their place of work. Figure 3 shows a 3-mile radius bu ffered selection around Miamis CBD, highlighted in yellow. This buffer repres ents the employment area, which comprises 7,476 employers hosting 191,960 jobs (private and public sectors). The blue dots represent the places where workers live and are located in the mi ddle of each census block. Larger dots indicate that more of the workers from the employment area live within a given block. 56


Figure 3 Commute Trip Patterns to Miami CBD Figure 3 shows that although workers empl oyed in the 3-mile buffer reside all over the county, two clusters can be identified close to SR 836. These clusters are characterized by the larges t dots, indicating a density of 145 to 480 workers per census block, all traveling to the CBD. The near proximity to the western leg of expressway indicates that these individuals are highly likely to use the facility to commute in the am hours to commute to work. The largest cluster is located in the ar eas stretching from the southwest end of SR 836, east of Florida Turnpike SR 821 through the Palmetto Expressway, North of 8 th Street (Tamiami Trail), and immediately adjacent to SR 836 (highlighted in green). A smaller cluster is located between at the inte rsection of SR 821, south of 8 th Street. Assuming that the resi dents of this area are most likely to utilize SR 836 to commute to the CBD, the ensuing analysis focuses on these clusters, which are combined and defined as the southwest cluste r. Figure 4 provide s a close-up of the southwest cluster. 57


Figure 4 Southwest Cluster To complete the commute trip pattern analysis of the southwest cluster, all of the cluster residents trips to the CBD must be taken in to consideration. This is accomplished by isolating the southwest cluste r residents who work within the 3-mile radius around the CBD and analyze the i ndustry sectors where they are employed. This allows checking for suitability of positions that are most likely to be impacted by a local telework center intending to alleviate traffic conditions on SR 836. Figure 5 shows the two poles of attract ion, depicting the southwest cluster commute pattern flow to the CBD. There ar e 5,291 cluster reside nts working within the downtown 3-mile buffer, representing 14 percent of the southwest cluster residents, and 2.8 percent of all CBD workers. 58


Southwest Cluster Figure 5 Work-Trip Origin-Destination Figure 6 Workers of Southwest Clusters Working at CBD Figure 5 shows that, within the CBD buffer, there are few major employment sites with a number of workers ranging fr om 73 to 480 employees. A close up of the CBD buffer is shown in Figure 6. 59


6.4 Employee Mix Certain jobs are more suited to telecenter usage than others. Jobs which require physical presence on job site, such as specialized healthcare assistance, legal counsel, construction and factory workers all are unsu itable for telecenter attraction, as they require presence at the job lo cation. Other sectors include direct wholesale and retail trade, arts, entertainment, and food se rvices. Jobs like offi ce and administrative support, management and other such jobs are more suited for telecommuting and telecenter use. While the data set does not provide individual employee job descriptions, it is a reasonable assumption that larger firms have employees who are specifically employed for administrati ve, support, management positions. Table 5 shows the workers characteristic s of the southwest cluster. Of the 37,953 workers residing within the cluster, a bout 15 percent are employed in the city of Miami, and about 50 pe rcent are scattered throughout the unincorporated areas of the County. 60


Table 5 Southwest Cluster Places of Employment Resident Held Jobs Count Share Number of Jobs 37,953 100.00% Cities/Towns Where Residents are Employed Unincorporated Areas 18,67349.20% Miami 5,807 15.30% Coral Gables 1,8604.90% Hialeah 1,5944.20% Miami Beach 873 2.30% All Other Locations 9,147 24.10% Counties Where Residents are Employed Miami-Dade 29,48977.70% Broward 2,7337.20% Palm Beach 1,1012.90% All Other Locations 4,592 12.10% 2003 Table 6 shows the workers profile by i ndustry sector. By eliminating all unsuitable sectors, about 30% or 11,575 of the 37,953 southw est cluster residents can be considered as potential teleworkers. 61


Table 6 Southwest Cluster Employment by Sector Industry Count Share Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting 152 0.4% Utilities 76 0.2% Construction 1,746 4.6% Manufacturing 2,353 6.2% Wholesale Trade 3,378 8.9% Retail Trade 5,655 14.9% Transportation and Warehousing 3,226 8.5% Information 1,328 3.5% Finance and Insurance 1,898 5.0% Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 1,025 2.7% Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 2,429 6.4% Management of Companies and Enterprises 417 1.1% Administration & Support, Waste Management and Remediation 4,137 10.9% Educational Services 569 1.5% Health Care and Social Assistance 3,719 9.8% Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 417 1.1% Accommodation and Food Services 4,061 10.7% Other Services 1,366 3.6% Total 37,953 100.0% 2003 6.5 Residential Population Density Figure 7 depicts a (16 to 64) density map residential population of working age for the southwest cluster. The follo wing inferences can be made: There is extensive residential development close to SR 836, with high density development located within the cluster; 62


These areas have pockets of high populat ion densities, of the order of 4, 315 to 16,209 persons per census tract. Southwest Cluster Figure 7 Density of Residents of Working Age (18 to 64) 6.6 Household Size Distribution According to various studies, household size is an important variable in estimating potential telecommuters. Households with ch ildren are expected to be more receptive to alternative strategies to reduce th eir commute time and prefer home-based telecommuting, as opposed to center-based telecommuting for young individuals who are either single or married. Figures 8 a nd 9 show density maps of households with 63


no children and average household size, respectively. Households with large number of members are expected to encourage different forms of telecommuting to ease their respons ibilities. Southwest Cluster Figure 8 Density of Households with No Children Both figures indicate that the southwest cluster possess household characteristics suited for telecenter u sage. 64


Southwest Cluster Figure 9 Average Household Size per Census Tract 6.7 Commuter Trip Patterns The Census Transportation Planning P ackage (CTPP, 2000) profiles the commuter trip ch aracteristics for different districts in the country. The CTPP package describes the mode splits of working commuters in MiamiDade County. Nearly 74% of commuters drive alone, 20% carpool or use public modes of transportation to commute to work, and only 3% work from home. Despite the fact that the average trav el tim e for carpools is only about 3.5 minutes greater than the average travel time for single occupancy vehicle (SOV) travel times, SOVs outweigh all other mode s for commuters. While there is no exact data available for the study area, it is reason able to estimate that the study area shares 65


a similar mode share split. The percentage of SOV commuters is high percentage and measures to reduce the number of SOV commuters are necessary. While a telecenter cannot reduce the number of SOV commuters, it can reduce the Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by SOV vehicles. The CTPP package also describes the county average travel time for commuters on the commute trip. With aver age mean travel time of about 30 minutes and with nearly 22% of all commuters ha ving travel times greater than 45 minutes, MiamiDade has one of the highest average mean travel times to work. To obtain the average travel time for th e commuters residing in the southwest clusters, an analysis using the HCM 2000, based on the LOS of the roadway and the free-flow speed (FFS) of 55 mile -per-hour was carried out. These values are found to be approximately 15 minutes and 11 miles for individuals residing in the area immedi ately to the southwest of SR 836, and 17 minutes and 13 miles for those resi ding in the area close to 8 th Street. The total travel times and distances of the commute trip for the employees are much greater, depending on the exact re sidence and employment location of the employees. The travel times and the commuter distance traveled are calculated solely on SR 836. Also, travel times and av erage commute distances of only those commuters who work in the CBD and residi ng in the southwest cl uster are calculated. 6.8 Amenity Locations As part of the evaluation pro cess, the site location is also studied for the existence of various amenities in the neighborhood. The pr imary aim of the telecenter is to reduce 66


peak hour commute trip lengths and times. Various studies state that the telecenter users must have enough facilities (such as restaurants, libraries, gas stations, schools, day care centers, fitness centers, transit stops et c.) in the vicinity of the proposed site location to encourage participation and to make the traffic impact effect actually noticeable. SR 836 is a busy part of MiamiDade c ity and has many facilities in its near neighborhood. Figure 10 shows a facility c ount within a 1-mile buffer around SR 836 using FGDL data. The figures shows that are a large nu mber of daycare centers, schools and shopping centers and other facili ties within and in the im mediate surroundings of the cluster. Though there are more establishments in the eastern edge of the telecenter, there are still a sufficiently large number of amenities in the ot her areas of SR 836. Studies on commute behavior report that while personal preferences do play an important role in the ultimate choice of lif estyle (different activities pursued at different places), it is reasonable to es timate that commuters will choose convenience (shorter time of travel, reduced costs) in mo st situations owing to constraints (39). A closer look at the southwest cluster revealed the presence of a recently developed business area, the Waterford Busi ness Park. The center is located on 5201 Blue Lagoon Drive, and hosts executive suites with key facilities and amenities, such as meeting rooms, broadband internet c onnectivity, video conf erencing studios, recreation facilities, and cybercafs. A n ecessary step, not part of this research endeavor, should be to physically assess the availability of space within this or other nearby business parks for location. 67


Southwest Cluster Figure 10 Amenity Locations Figure 11 shows the presence of transit stops within or in the proximity of the southwest cluster. The study area is well connected by different transit routes. 68


Southwest Cluster Figure 11 Transit Stops When checked against the feasibility matrix, the analysis shows that the southwest cluster possesses the physical, socio-demographic, and commuter trip pattern characteristics for potential implementation of a telework center. Further analysis, beyond the scope of th is study, is required to assess the funding capabilities, and zoning requirements. These are necessary steps that take place in conjunction with an implementation decision, a process involving both public and private support. 69


CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The analysis shows that the study area has all the feasibility elements that are necessary to be checked before a telecenter is established. But, the checklist is a preliminary feasibility report that overlooks several other factors that must be taken into consideration before implementing a tel ecenter. On all these points, the telecenter scores poorly and the idea should be discarded. PAST SUCCESSES: To date, telecommuting centers have found only limited success. The majority of cen ters opened in the 1990s have ceased to exist or evolved into more competitive concepts (such as urban executive office suites), due to lack of subsidized public and private funding, rising competition from alternative telecommuting strategies, employer resistance, and changes in telecommunication technology. At present, the majority of the opera ting telework centers are federally sponsored and used solely by federa l workers. These centers are also facing constant scrutiny and funding constraints owing to persistent low usage levels. 70


HOME-BASED TELECOMMUTING: The shift has been toward homebased telecommuting, as an inexpensiv e, productive, alternative. The challenged faced by telework centers is that routine telecommuters still represent a relatively small percen tage of the workforce. These individuals tend to prefer making arrangements with the employer to conduct home-based telecommuting. INTERNET AT HOME: Another major change from the early 1990s when Telecenters, as a concept, bl ossomed has been the advent of the internet. Internet was still a relatively new technology and was not easily accessible to all individuals in the 19 90s. Owing to its novelty, telecenters offered something over home-based telecommuting. In the present day scenario such an advantage for telecenters has been nullified. With employers ready to pay for high spee d broadband internet connection for their employees to work from their homes, home-based telecommuting has gained more prominence and has become even more wide-spread. Other travel demand management strate gies such as vanpooling, carpooling, staggered work hours have also gained importance owing to lower costs of implementation and relatively higher success rates. SITE-BASED ISSUES : o At a micro level; considering th e site at hand, there are certain drawbacks associated with the esta blishment of the telecenter in the suggested location. Telecen ters established for re ducing commute lengths typically target populations that travel long distances to work. If 71


commute trip reduction is the major goa l for the telecenter, then it must be located in the suburban area with similar characteristics as the study area to actually attain this goal. o Residents living in the study area wo rk all over the county; however, the major center for employment rema ins the Central Business District, which is roughly 13 miles away from these areas. While there are potential advantages to be tapped by establishing the telecenter, employer firms might not find it feasible to relocate some of their employees to such nearby locations. o Further, only a small percentage of workers in the CBD actually reside in the selected southwest clusters. Hence, attempting to reduce commute distances for such a small percentage of employees seems irrelevant, especially if the commute distances fo r employees residing in other areas are left unaltered in the context. o SR 836 is extremely congested du ring peak hours. If congestion alleviation is deemed to be the main goal of the telecenter, then simply by establishing a telecenter for housing a few employees will not solve the problem. By studying the changes in LO S for a potential decrease in 200 (a rough estimate of an average sized telecommuter might house 200 individuals at most, highly unlikely but possible) trips in the peak hour, it was found to be immaterial and the LOS remained unchanged. To achieve this goal, other TDM strategies, such as home-based 72


telecommuting promotion/implementation, vanpooling etc. must be employed in conjunction with the proposed telecenter. 73


REFERENCES 1) Carol Buckinger, M. Francisca, and L. Patricia Mokhtarian. Residential AreaBased Offices Project, Final Report on Telecenter Operations. Research Record Number UCD-ITS-RR-97-28, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis, December 1997. 2) Robert Materna, P. Joel, and P. Jeanne. Telework Centers, An Analysis of the Physical and Economic Factors which Contribute to their Success. The IDRC Foundation, Research Bulletin No. 20, 1998. 3) Patricia Mokhtarian. Defi ning Telecommuting. In Transportation Research Record: Journal of Transportation Record, No. 1305, TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 1991, pp 273-281. 4) Michael Grant and Liisa Ecola. Telecommuting/ Telework Programs: Implementing Commuter Benefits unde r the Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative EPA 420-S-01-007, EPA, US Environmental Protection Agency, 2001. 5) Patricia Mokhtarian, L., S.L. Handy, and I. Salomon. Methodologi cal issues in the estimation of the travel, energy, and air quality impacts of telecommuting. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice Vol. 29, No. 4, July 1995, pp. 283-302. 6) Michael Bagley, N., S. M. Jill, and L. Patricia Mokhtarian. Telecommuting Centers and Related Concepts: A Review of Practice. Institute of Transportation Studies Paper UCD-ITS-RR-94-04, 1994. /itsdavis/UCD-ITS-RR-94-04 accessed August 5, 2005. 7) AEW Capital Management, L.P. An Evaluation of Feasib ility of Telecommuting Centers. February 2001. 8) Patricia L. Mokhtarian Telecommuting in the United States: Letting Our Fingers Do the Commuting. In TR News Vol. 158, January-February 1992, pp. 2-9. 9) United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). Transportation Implications of Telecommuting April 1993. 10) Frederick Memmott III. The substitutability of communications for transportation. In Traffic Engineering, Vol. 33, No. 5, February 1963, pp. 20-25. 74


11) Timothy Healy. Transportation or communi cations, some broad considerations. IEEE Transactions on Communications Technology, Vol.16, No. 2, 1968, pp 195198. 12) Harkness, R.C. Technology Assessment of Te lecommunication/ Transportation Interactions. Final Report Volume 1. Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park CA, Prepared for the National Scie nce Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1997. 13) Jack M. Nilles. Traffic Reduction by teleco mmuting; A status review and selected bibliography, In Transportation Research Record, Volume 22A, No. 4, 1988, pp 301317. 14) Jack M. Nilles. Telework America 2000 Research Key Findings. Prepared by JALA International Inc. for Interna tional Telework Asso ciation & Council, October 2000. 15) Michelle Vranizan. Closer to Home. The Orange County Register. Santa Ana, July 1991. 16) John Eiting, A., Telephone Interview with the Manager of the Hawaii Telecenter. January 1993. 17) Patricia Mokhtarian, L. Telecommuting and travel: state of the practice, state of the art. In Transportation, Vol. 18, No. 4, October 1991, pp 319343. 18) Alvarez Rachel. Telephone Interview with the Manager of the Pacific Bell Telecenter. 1993. 19) Janet Jones Works. Learning from Others: Literatu re Review of Telecommunity Centers. Clackamas County Telecommuting Project Team. Research for Market Feasibility of a Telecommunity Cent er in Clackamas County, April 1999. 20) Patricia L. Mokhtarian a nd Ilan Salomon. Modeling the Choice of Telecommuting 3: Identifying the Choice Set and Estimating Binary Choice Models for Technology-Based Alternatives. In Environment and Planning A, No.28, 1996, pp. 1877-1894. 21) C. Buckinger, F. Mar, P. Mokhtarian, and John Wright. Telecommuting Centers in California: 1991 1997 Prepared for The Califor nia State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Federal Highway Administration under Interagency Agreement No. 60T381/A-4, September 1997. 22) State of Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, 1998 Oregon Population Survey, Summary of Findings, 1998. 75


23) Riley Research Associates. Community Assessment Survey. Citing M. Briones, In The Marketing News, April 26, 1999. 24) Michael Farley. Response to Case Study Survey. Washington State Energy Office. September 1992. 25) Ernst and Young. Federal Interagency Telecommuting Center Pilot Project An Analysis and Review of Telecommuting Centers in Gr eater Metropolitan Washington, D.C., December 1997March 1998. 26) Peter Behr. Tech Wish List In the Washington Post, ppE7, February 11, 1999. 27) David Michael Stanek. Modeling Perceptions and Preference of Home-based and Center-based Telecommuting. A Masters Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Masters of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Davis, December 1995. 28) Ram M. Pendyala, Konstadinos Goulias, and Ryuichi Kitamura. Impact of telecommuting on spatial and temporal patterns of household travel. In Journal of Transportation, Vol. 18, No.4, 1991, pp 383-409. 29) Telework: Part of the Work Life Balance Equation. In Balancing Act, Employment Policy Foundation March 11, 2004. 30) The Telecommuting phenomenon: Overview and evaluation. Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), March 1985. 31) Patricia L. Mokhtarian, Narayan Balepur Michelle Derr, Chaang-Iuan Ho, David Stanek, and Krishna Varma. Residential Area-Based Offices Project: Interim Findings Report on the Evaluation of Impacts Research Report, UCD-ITS-RR96-11, November 1996. 32) Dennis H., and L. Patricia Mokhtarian. Im pacts of Center-Based Telecommuting on Travel and Emissions: Analysis of the Puget S ound Demonstration Project. Institute of Transportation Studies Paper UCD-ITS-REP-96-08 1996. 33) Michael Farley. Telephone Interview with the Manager of the Washington State Telework Center Washington State Energy Office, May 1993 34) Patricia L. Mokhtarian, a nd Ilan Salomon. Modeling the desire to telecommute: The importance of attitudinal f actors in behavioral models. In Transportation Research Record A, Vol. No. 31(1), 1997, pp. 35-50. 35) Ulberg, Cy. In a Telephone Interview Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC), University of Washingt on, Seattle, Washington, June 1993. 76


36) Janet Jones Works. If We Build it Will They Come? Needs Assessment and Telecommunity Center Feasibility Analysis. Clackamas County Telecommunity Project Team, October 1999. 37) University of California Davis, Institute of Transportation Studies, Telecenter Reports, rs/repts/status/closed.html accessed on October 18, 2005. 38) Krishna V. Varma, David Stanek, ChaangIuan Ho, and Patr icia Mokhtarian. Duration and frequency of telecommuter use: once a telecommuter, always a telecommuter? In Transportation Research Part C Vol. 6, 1998, pp 47-68. 39) I. Saloman and M. BenAkiva. The use of the Lifestyle Concept in Travel Demand Models. In Transportation Research Records Part A, Environment and Planning, Vol. 15, 1983, pp. 623-638. 77


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