White Paper: Transportation, Office Assets + Covid-19 - Wells + Associates

White Paper: Transportation, Office Assets + Covid-19

Survey Research and White Paper: How Property Management Professionals Are Addressing Their Tenants’ Evolving Mobility Challenges

How are property management professionals meeting the evolving transportation challenges for their tenants presented by the COVID-19 pandemic? Our new research and white paper, Transportation, Office Assets, and COVID-19,” published by Newmark Knight Frank as part of their Thought Leadership series, provides insight.

Transportation, Office Assets, and COVID-19 - white paper front cover - report by wells + associates and Newmark Knight FrankWe recently partnered with Newmark Knight Frank to survey property managers at 300 commercial real estate properties around the country. Our report, by Camille Galdes, Matthew Holden and Justin Schor of Wells + Associates and published on the Newmark Knight Frank “Thought Leadership Series” website, sought answers to a number of questions, including:

  • The types of transportation amenities the building provides to tenants and if they plan to make any changes over the next 12 months;
  • Whether they actively communicate with tenants about transportation;
  • What transportation-related concerns they may have at their property; and
  • How they see the pandemic impacting their rents and occupancy rates over the next 12 months.

Background: The Impact of Covid-19 on Office Properties and Commuting

Commercial real estate and the transportation sector have both been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and the related stay-at-home orders that were implemented around the country. Virtually overnight, many office properties were temporarily closed or mostly vacated, with tenants transitioning to teleworking. The COVID-19 pandemic has many tenants rethinking the nature of work, with various considerations creating tension and playing a role in decision making around office space needs and preferences, such as:

  • the need to allow for more space for each worker in the office (to better accommodate social distancing)
  • the possibility of incorporating more remote work into a long-term occupancy strategy
  • concerns about maintaining corporate culture amidst a dispersed workforce, and
  • the isolation of the work-from-home environment

Transportation considerations, including near-term health concerns regarding mass transit ridership, are a key factor in ensuring office space can be safely reoccupied. Shared mobility has been dramatically affected, with subway ridership in major cities declining by as much as 95 percent in mid-March 2020, shortly after the pandemic was recognized as a national emergency in the U.S. The rate of infections has varied around the country, with some states experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases as summer began.

In short, property managers must be prepared for shifts in how people travel.

This white paper taps into the keen understanding that NKF’s property management professionals have of both their tenants and their owner-investor clients. The survey data and white paper give the wider commercial real estate industry insights into how they can meet the evolving transportation challenges and needs of their tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key Findings

Based on survey results, properties in urban markets appear more likely to experience transportation-related impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic than similar properties in less urban contexts. Strategies currently being deployed in both urban and suburban contexts are informative for how properties can prepare for changing conditions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The white paper includes a variety of transportation strategies for asset owners and their property managers to consider during Covid-19:

  • 2 key transportation strategies for all properties
  • 5 key transportation strategies uniquely for urban properties

On this web page, we feature information about this white paper and, more importantly, interviews, discussions, and content that extend the dialogue of how transportation decisions and office can produce better and safer commutes and improved quality of life during Covid-19.

Learn More About Property Mobility and Transportation During Covid-19

Camille Galdes research associate wells + associates

Camille A. Galdes

Research Associate | (703) 676-3618


Camille Galdes is a research associate on the Transportation Demand Management team at Wells + Associates. She came from the public policy think tank world and has experience in demography, urban planning, mapping and real estate development. At W+A, she supports the creation of custom TDM plans for a variety of clients by researching transportation trends and performing geospatial analyses of commuting data.

Camille’s Full Bio

Justin Schor TDM expert consultant wells + associates

Justin Schor

Vice President | (301) 971-3420


Justin Schor is a skilled and well-rounded transportation consultant with over two decades of forward-thinking Transportation Demand Management (TDM) experience in communities all over the United States. His skills span planning, developing, and implementing award-winning transportation solutions.

Justin’s Full Bio