How COVID is Changing Our Commute

The view from CHS Consulting Group’s office

Now that the vaccine roll-out has begun, it feels we are slowly inching closer to the end of COVID-19. The pandemic has had a huge impact on our work-life and commute. We’ll need to understand how our society has been transformed and how our transportation systems must adapt to better serve the people who use them.

Work from home (WFH) is here to stay. 

Office professionals have become accustomed to the flexibility of a full-time work from home (WFH) schedule during the pandemic and employers have adapted to it by necessity. But even many high-tech companies have found that daily Zoom calls cannot offer the same collaborative environment and social interaction of the physical office. A hybrid WFH/WFO model will likely become the new normal. 

The Continued Popularity of Active Transportation Modes

Walking, cycling, and other active modes of travel have become more popular during the pandemic, but while the initial shelter in place (SIP) reduced vehicle traffic, particularly during typical rush hour commutes, volumes have rebounded to nearly pre-COVID levels. Street calming measures will be vital to encourage the continued growth of human-powered forms of travel, including slow streets, flex streets, and complete street pilot programs.

The Need for More Transit Investment (Operations and Infrastructure)

Transit commute mode share has dropped significantly due to fears of COVID-19 transmission and key indicators such as increased personal vehicle purchases and reduced ridesharing also indicate a move away from trains and buses to single occupancy vehicles (SOVs). The American Public Transit Association has stated that transit can be used safely during the pandemic as long as passengers wear face coverings and contact tracing programs in many countries have not found clusters of cases linked to transit. Transit agencies are in need of immediate and long-term financial support to continue serving essential workers and re-establish regular commute service.

Driving alone is more popular than ever, so now what?

COVID-19 has made it even more difficult to disincentivize driving to work alone. As workers return to the office, an active management approach will be needed to reduce gridlock and minimize the growth of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), including congestion management and roadway pricing, transportation demand management (both carrots and sticks), and parking pricing strategies. It will be essential to financially support and promote the safety and benefits of transit and alternative modes.

CHS Consulting Group Welcomes Kevin Stankiewicz!

CHS Consulting Group is excited to welcome Kevin Stankiewicz to the team as Senior Transportation Engineer.  Kevin brings 21 years of experience being the traffic task lead on large corridor studies including the I-205 & I-5 Corridor System Management Plan (CSMP) for Caltrans (CA), the Al Shindagha Corridor (R1013) for RTA (Dubai, UAE), the George Massey Tunnel Replacement for MOTI (BC, Canada), Highway 99 Sea-to-Sky Corridor Study for MOTI (BC, Canada), and the I-405 SR 522 Vicinity to SR 527 Express Toll Lane Improvement Project for WSDOT (WA). He led the large corridor microscopic traffic simulation modeling for all these projects.

Kevin has also been the traffic lead on large development traffic impact studies including the Folsom South of US 50 Specific Plan for Folsom (CA), the new city proposed for California (private) and the Dubai Heath Care City 2 for Dubai Heath Care City (Dubai, UAE). Prior to joining CHS Kevin worked for HDR in Bellevue, Washington. Kevin will lead CHS’s corridor traffic study and corridor microscopic traffic simulation modeling practice.

CHS Consulting Group Welcomes Gary Hsueh!

CHS Consulting Group welcomes Gary Hsueh to the team as Director of Mobility Programs. Gary will lead CHS projects in emerging mobility, TDM, campus planning, and transit. Most recently, he was Director of Mobility Programs at non-profit ProspectSV, where he developed and implemented mobility demonstration projects, convened industry technology working groups, and established industry-civic-academic partnerships. Key projects he managed recently include the Santa Clara VTA Accessible Automated Vehicle Demonstration Project, FTA Mobility on Demand Sandbox Palo Alto Fair Value Commuting Demonstration, and Fremont Automated Driving System Testing Permit Program.

Gary’s experience spans nearly 20 years across a wide range of projects encompassing transportation infrastructure, transit-oriented development, campus master planning, Transportation Demand Management and commute pilot programs, traveler information systems, and feasibility and implementation of new transportation modes including active mobility and road- and guideway-based automated systems. Previous to ProspectSV, Gary managed dozens of transportation projects at Arup; some of his key projects included the San Jose Automated Transit Network Feasibility Study, Hills at Vallco Mixed-Use Development Plan, corporate TDM pilots and multimodal plans, Access BART system study, and Concord Community Reuse Project. Gary is also deeply engaged with the Transportation Research Board and serves on the Standing Committee on Innovative Public Transportation Services and Technologies (AP020). He also has organized breakout sessions focused on public transit and shared mobility at the TRB-sponsored Automated Vehicles Symposium.