As a reminder, Cross County Connection staff is continuing to work remotely during the COVID-19 shutdown. If you need assistance, you can contact us via voicemail at (856)-596-8228 or email at ccctma@driveless.com

We have created information guides to keep the traveling public up to date 
on the status of transportation services and bike shops in the region. 
Please visit Cross County Connection’s Transit Guide and Bike Shop Guide
Information in these guides is subject to change as events progress.  
Cross County Connection’s COVID-19 Newsletter Series 
Telework and the Future
of the Workplace  

If you were not deemed an essential worker, it is likely you have been teleworking for at least a portion
of the past five months, like many others in our region and around the country. 

According to a municipal survey from Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), nearly 50% of respondents reported working from home, while 30% reported rotating/splitting time between the office and home. Teleworking will have impacts on many aspects of our personal and collective life in the region. How have individuals’ sentiments towards working from home changed, and what are the long-term impacts on office space, travel, and productivity? 

The shift to teleworking in our region has had an impact on vehicle
travel and air quality. Once many work-from-home policies were implemented, daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased from 15.5
million to 2.7 million in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer counties between March 1st and March 21st. While VMT has since gone up,
it has stayed consistently lower than the pre-pandemic level of 15.5 million. At the end of June daily VMT reached 9.4 for the four counties. An overall decline in surface transportation from less commuting accounts for nearly half of the 17% decline in global emissions seen during the pandemic.  

The regions residents are noticing the impacts on air quality.
Shari Hersh, a resident of Philadelphia, observed: 
“[The air is] totally clear, it’s so gorgeous, […] I don’t remember it being
clear like this day after day my whole lifetime”. 

If telework policies are kept in place, a significant decrease in commuting and VMT can help improve air quality in South Jersey in a long-term capacity.  

As employees have shifted to telework, have they been able to stay focused and productive? Cushman & Wakefield find that personal productivity has remained strong: their survey found that 75 percent of respondents feel productive when they need to focus. How do their managers feel about this new environment? The same Cushman & Wakefield survey also found that 90 percent of respondents feel trusted to carry out their work by their manager. Employees are now more comfortable with the work from home environment and now prefer it to the old way of doing things. IBM conducted a survey of 25,000 adults and found that 54 percent would like to work from home regularly after the pandemic ends. Working from home is becoming a valued workplace perk that can positively impact workforce morale and employee retention, as well as air quality and traffic congestion. 
The sentiment of employees, and the choices of their employers, can have
a huge impact on the future office environment and a company’s bottom line. With less people wanting to work in an office full time, and more companies willing to explore telework, current inventory of office space
may be re-imagined, if not reduced. According to a Cushman & Wakefield report, companies could save money in the long run by embracing flexible working schedules and requiring staggered attendance in the office. This can save employers money by preventing the need for more office space and opening the opportunity for downsizing. However, if companies decide to return to a full-time office work schedule, they could see office space footprints increase by 15-20% because of social distancing. 

What protocols should be implemented to create a healthy telework environment? DVRPC hosted a webinar with useful information to allow for a positive experience working from home. Some of the highlighted best practices for teleworking from the webinar include: 

  • Be sure to have a formal plan in place addressing work-from-home eligibility, dress code, and employee expectations 
  • Develop agreements for responsibilities  
  • Set up dates and times for weekly meetings and check-ins 
  • Set up periodic employee evaluations  
  • Allow for flexibility  

Developing and implementing a proper work-from-home plan can ultimately save money for employers, provide flexibility for employees and increase productivity. Using the best practices highlighted can help develop a level of mutual trust between employee and employer that will act as the foundation for a successful telework program. The workplace will surely change in our region over the next few years. Following best practices and creating plans to allow flexibility for telework after the pandemic is done can make companies more attractive as working from home becomes a more in-demand workplace benefit. Plus there is the added societal benefit to our environment. 
Upcoming Webinars and Events 
NJDOT Hosting TA
Set-Aside Workshop Training 

NJDOT is hosting two TA Set-Aside workshop training webinars. The webinars will provide an overview of the program and guidance on how to apply. They will be held at the following times: 

 
Click on the link on each date to register for the webinars.  
 
The TA Set-Aside program provides federal funds for community-based ‘non-traditional’ forms of surface transportation such as walking and biking. Applications for this program are due by November 24, 2020 and must be submitted online.  

For more information on the TA Set-Aside program click here.  
 
NJLTAP Grant Management for Federal Aid Projects Virtual Course 
 
The New Jersey Local Technical Assistance Program (NJLTAP) is holding a virtual course for recipients of Federal Aid funds through NJDOT Local Aid and Economic Development. The objective of the workshop is to enhance a grant recipient’s performance and eligibility for successful reimbursement of funding. Current Federal programs are: 
 
  • Local Lead 
  • Safe Routes to School  
  • Emergency Relief 
  • Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside 
  • Local Safety/High Risk Rural Roads  
 
The course is designed to help recipients of these grants with the effective and efficient management of funds. Proper grant management is critical to insure future eligibility and reimbursement. 
 
This course highlights key requirements that must be met as a condition to the grant. It will also cover basic financial, administrative and project related requirements including practical means of satisfying certain requirements. Common problem areas, potential solutions and avoidance measures will be a part of the group discussion.  
 
The course will be held on September 23, 2020 from 9:00am – 12pm.  
 
Register for the workshop here
 


Ronda R. Urkowitz P.P., AICP
Executive Director
(856) 596-8228



Patrick C. Farley, AICP, PP
Program Director
(856) 596-8228 


Cross County Connection's Mission: To improve the quality of
life in southern New Jersey through transportation solutions.
 
About Us: Cross County Connection, a nonprofit organization, partners with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), NJ TRANSIT, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO), member organizations and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, to provide solutions to complex transportation problems for counties, municipalities and employers in the southern New Jersey region encompassing Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. 
This Cross County Connection Transportation Management Association publication is funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. The U.S. Government and NJTPA assume no liability for the contents.