Living without commuting: experiences of a less mobile life under COVID-19

Published: 31 March 2022

Understanding experiences of a less mobile life under COVID-19 offers insights into the taken-for-granted meanings of mobility in daily life, and into new opportunities for low-carbon mobility transitions associated with working from home. Drawing on 50 written interviews, this article explores meanings attributed to living without commuting during lockdown, examining what people missed and what they appreciated. The results indicate that the majority of respondents miss multiple aspects of daily mobility but have also discovered new experiences and routines that hold their daily life together and make it pleasant. Our findings thereby emphasize an often-neglected aspect in transport research: the complexity and ambivalence of people’s relationship with daily mobility. Here, commuting is seen simultaneously as a tiresome burden, but also as a key source of interaction with the wider world which is important in sustaining people’s sense of daily balance. Furthermore, ‘compensatory mobilities’ emerge as a widespread practice which helps people retain aspects they miss about commuting while working from home. This practice, we suggest, underscores the intrinsic enjoyment associated with being on the move, and is important for unraveling the potential impacts of working from home on people’s mobility carbon footprint.

For the full, open access paper:

Anna Nikolaeva, Ying-Tzu Lin, Samuel Nello-Deakin, Ori Rubin & Kim Carlotta von Schönfeld (2022) Living without commuting: experiences of a less mobile life under COVID-19, Mobilities, 18:1, 1-20, DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2022.2072231

Scroll to Top