The Impact of Telecommuter Rail Cars on Modal Choice

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The Impact of Telecommuter Rail Cars on Modal Choice


Telecommuter technologies on rail cars enable a traveler on public transit to access the Internet, thereby enhancing the ability to work while traveling to and from work. This technology brings new opportunities for employers to expand their potential labor pool and for employees to shift the costs of work-related travel.

Research into more “traditional” forms of telecommuting arrangements such as working from home, a dedicated telecenter, or while traveling on business has found numerous benefits for society, employers, and employees.

The present study asks to what extent does the opportunity to engage in paid work while commuting to and from the workplace result in a shift in commuter modal choice away from automobile travel toward public transit. We present evidence that consumer demand for public transit is particularly elastic with respect to the value of time spent traveling.

This study provides evidence that by implementing telecommuter technology on rail cars, society could benefit by a significant increase in ridership on public transit. Such benefits should encourage the relevant stakeholders to pursue the implementation and promotion of this technology.



James C. Hayton, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Management and Human Resources at Utah State University in Logan. He received PhD in Business Administration from Georgia State University.

Dr. Hayton’s research has been published in numerous scholarly journals, including Organizational Research MethodsEntrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Human Resource Management ReviewHuman Resource ManagementR & D Management, the International Journal of Technology Management, and in the Journal of Management Education. He has contributed chapters to several books, most recently for Human Resource Strategies for the High Growth Entrepreneurial Firm, Corporate Governance and the Organizational Life-CycleCorporate Entrepreneurship and Research in Management. Dr. Hayton is a regular contributor to the annual meetings of the Strategic Management Society and the Academy of Management.

His research interests include strategic human resource management, intellectual capital, corporate entrepreneurship, and management and organizational learning. Dr. Hayton holds membership in the Academy of Management, the Industrial Relations Research Association, the Strategic Management Society, and the Society for Human Resource Management.

May 2005
Public transit
Rail transportation
Human resources management



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