Worker Productivity and Driveless Commutes
by Bryan Engelhardt, Joshua Foster

Using a ride hailing service to proxy as a self-driving vehicle, we propose being the first to measure how much self-driving vehicles will increase worker productivity through the elimination of difficult commutes.

The ride hailing service provides a controlled environment where workers can be randomly provided driveless commute vouchers. By comparing absenteeism and productivity measures of those with and without driveless commutes, we can scientifically determine the impact commuting has on worker productivity. Furthermore, we can predict the future benefits of self-driving vehicles and driveless commutes.

According to Circadian, a workforce performance company, absenteeism costs companies $2,660 per shift worker per year. However, Van Ommeren and Gutierrez-i-Puigarnau (2011) estimates absenteeism would decline by 16% if commutes were made easy. Self-driving vehicles and driveless commutes provide an opportunity to reduce costs associated with absenteeism and increase workforce productivity by eliminating difficult and stressful commutes.

We require a company and a group of its workers to volunteer their time. In return, they can expect free driveless commutes and increased productivity. To run the test, the volunteers will be randomly assigned driveless commutes via a ride hailing service using vouchers. The absences and productivity of those with a driveless commute will then be compared to those without the driveless commutes. Given specific assumptions, we need worker participation and data for 8,000 worker days, e.g., the ability to follow 40 workers for 200 days or 160 workers for 50 days. 800 of the worker days, or 10%, will be a driveless commute to and from work. In other words, volunteers can expect to receive a driveless commute 10% of the time.

Besides a company and their employees, we require a ride hailing service, a self-driving vehicle company, or a grant to provide 1,600 free rides (driveless commutes), or 800 round-trips, at an estimated cost of $48,000.

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Stage of idea: Requisition

Unmet requisite(s): Funding, Employer partner

Academic discipline(s): Economics, Labor, Transportation, AI

Created on Sep 27, 2017 and last updated on Oct 13, 2017.

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Suggested citation: Engelhardt, Bryan, and Joshua Foster, 2017. "Worker Productivity and Driveless Commutes.",

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