Telecommuting 2000

The costs of congestion & commuting

This section of Telecommuting 2000 consists of 3 parts:

The costs to UK businesses

Outside London most people (70% on average) commute to work by car and about one third of commute trips are into an urban area. Towns and cities across the country are regularly gridlocked, with pollution levels reaching unacceptable levels all too frequently.

More car ownership, a function of increasing prosperity, on already crowded roads, with little alternative methods of transport, produce the inevitable result – more congestion. And given that there is still a demand for increasing car ownership, the likelihood is that in future there will be even more congestion, and even more costs to employers, individuals and society.

The implications of the costs of congestion to industry and employers are great. The most recent estimate from the CBI calculates the cost to employers as being approximately 20 billion per year.

For companies employing staff who clock up high mileage, the financial impact is enormous. For example, staff driving approximately 20,000 miles per year on company business would incur costs associated with congestion alone, amounting of around 5,000 each (when taking into account their need to commute), in addition to direct costs of around 10,000 for the mileage.

Public transport delays can occur on the road with buses caught in jams. Freight and public service vehicles and their crews are frequently paralysed by congestion.

The costs of commuting

The average worker in the UK commutes 2,906 miles pa and travels 1,622 miles on business by car. Overall, commuting accounts for approximately 78.5 billion miles of car travel, with 44 billion miles driven while on business.

Some costs are borne by employers – the costs of inefficiency, missed appointments, late arrivals, and overrun schedules. But employees bear the costs of commuting, which accounts for a quarter of the costs of motoring, being approximately 500 pa per employee, or 13.5 billion in total per year.

So each year employers lose at least 20 billion through congestion, and employees pay 13.5 billion to commute by car, making 33.5 billion altogether before looking at the effects on the environment, on employees' health and their "work/life balance".

Public transport costs for the millions who commute to work in London every day can also be punitive, with the costs of season tickets running into thousands for those with longer journeys.



The costs of
work-related travel

Commute miles travelled by UK workforce 78.5 billion
In-work miles travelled by UK workforce 43.8 billion
UK workforce bill for car commuting 13.5 billion
The costs to business of congestion 20 billion

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