Driving commuters toward sustainable options

By Nicole Morell 

When organizations like MIT transitioned to remote work and learning last year in the interest of health and safety, one impact of this change was immediately visible to many people — a large decrease in commuters on roads and public transportation. The change spurred theories of the potential positive impact on emissions, but also created many questions about the future of commuting and commuting benefits programs like those offered at MIT. With concerns over safety and large numbers of employees working remotely, public transportation use dwindled while the delicate balance of permits to parking spots on a dense urban campus like MIT didn’t demand the same level of focus as pre-pandemic.

But now, more than a year after remote work became the norm for many, MIT is preparing for employees and a full cohort of students to return to campus in the fall. This transition back has come with many challenging questions, one being: How do you manage the commuting choices of thousands of staff to support safety and sustainability while strategically managing limited on-campus parking? For MIT, part of the answer is data.

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