Self-employment and travel behavior: A case study of workers in central Puget Sound

Self-employment has been an important livelihood means for many U.S. workers. Self-employed workers are likely to have distinctive travel behavior because, compared to employees, they have greater autonomy over work scheduling and are less affected by imperfect information about the labor market, which increases commutes. However, very few empirical studies have addressed this subject. Using data from the 2014 Puget Sound Regional Travel Survey, the author examines the multiple dimensions of work and non-work travel behavior of the self-employed in comparison to employees. The results show that the effects of self-employment on travel behavior vary by whether a worker commutes. Specifically, the self-employed who travel to work have a shorter commuting distance and time than their employee counterparts, although this seems to be offset by increased travel distance and time for other work-related and non-work purposes. In addition, self-employed commuters are more likely to drive alone for both commute and non-commute purposes, partly because they tend to travel more during off-peak hours than their employee counterparts. However, for those who work at home, being self-employed does not have significant effects on most travel behavior outcomes. This paper also elucidates the environmental sustainability of workers’ travel behavior by self-employment status, which has been missing in previous literature.


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  • Accession Number: 01686472
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 26 2018 10:05AM