Increased telework to ease D.C. area traffic

Friday - 2/18/2011, 10:16am EST

The OPM Director says the snowstorm in January that exteneded commutes up to 14 hours could have been prevented if more people could telework. (Photo courtesy Kyle Weidie)

WASHINGTON -- Roads in the WTOP listening area, recently classified as the country's most congested, may see some relief in the coming months as more federal workers plan to stay at home.

A new law requires federal agencies to make it easier for their employees to work from home or satellite locations, and a new OPM report indicates this is helping to alleviate clogged commuter routes.

More than 11,000 more federal employees chose to telework in 2009, an increase of 6 percent. This number should continue to rise as federal agencies will be told next month how to expand their telework program.

Every federal employee will be notified in June about their eligibility for working away from the office.

Increased ability to telework might have prevented the "Thundersnow" gridlock in January that extended some area drivers' commutes to as much as 14 hours.

"People could have been on the road as early as 11 o'clock and we would have totally avoided that had there been more people willing and ready and able to be teleworkers," OPM Director John Berry told WTOP in January.

WTOP's Mark Segraves contributed to this report. Follow him and WTOP on Twitter.

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