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Suburban Co-Working: A Shared Mobility Solution

The shared office (or co-working) has been on the rise in recent years and is expected to continue its rapid growth into the future.

By Alex Mereu


July 6, 2018

The shared office (or co-working) has been on the rise in recent years and is expected to continue its rapid growth into the future.  A report from Cresa states that shared office space could represent as much as 20% of the overall office market within the next decade.

So what does this have to do with shared mobility?

While this trend represents a shake-up of the commercial real estate industry, we have been researching suburban co-working for its potential as a mobility solution that alleviates congestion, shortens commutes and essentially acts as another choice for the mobility consumer.

With rapid advancements in new transportation technologies and the rise of new business models, there is currently a great amount of uncertainty around our transportation future.  Will increasing the capacity of our transportation networks deliver the same benefits that planners are forecasting?  Will driverless ride-hailing supplement public transit in suburban areas?  Will connected vehicles create more capacity on our roadways? Given this uncertainty and the risks surrounding infrastructure investment, innovative mobility solutions that are quick to implement, resilient, and low risk should be top investment priorities. A network of suburban co-working centers could deliver the same types of benefits as transportation infrastructure, but at the fraction of the cost, with less disruption, and with a much shorter implementation timeline.

Just how beneficial could investing in suburban co-working be?

Through an initial high-level benefits case evaluation, a shared office space network is capable of reducing vehicle miles travelled for 20% of the cost of rapid transit and reducing travel time for less than 5% of the cost of road widening.  Shared office spaces can also be erected in a short timeline and without disruption to traffic patterns during construction.

What is the vision?

The vision is a network of suburban co-working centers that are subsidized by public investment and operated by an established private partner in the co-working industry.

Who benefits and why?

The public sector would benefit by delivering a low-cost, low-risk, and quick win mobility solution.

The private partner would benefit by receiving capital investment to expand their network of co-working centers into suburban locations.

Members of co-working center would benefit with shorter commutes, cheaper commutes, new networking opportunities, as well as the other conveniences and amenities available to them through their membership.

Employers of the co-working members would benefit by reducing their demand for office space and with happier and healthier employees.

What is needed to make this happen?

A public agency that is looking to invest in a network of suburban co-working centers and a supply of private partners that are willing and able to respond to a request for partnership.


Photo by Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

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