Canberrans may enjoy some of the shortest commute times in the country, but the city's residents have recorded the highest satisfaction with avoiding the commute while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
A new survey has found 94 per cent of working Canberrans have rated having more recreation time by avoiding the daily commute as one of the most enjoyable aspects of working from home.
Only 72 per cent of respondents to the national survey of 1000 people said the same.
Canberrans were also more likely to say not having to dress for work was an enjoyable aspect of working from home, with 81 per cent of ACT residents rating ditching the work attire highly, compared to 57 per cent nationally.
Mike Day, a director at urban design firm RobertsDay, which commissioned the survey, said the results were a vindication of the garden city principles which underpinned Canberra's earliest plans.
"It's interesting now that the planning profession seems to be going back and revisit those fundamental principles. I think it's a rediscovery of those fundamentals, that was the whole thrust that Ebenezer Howard [who pioneered the garden city movement] explored. [His plan,] 30 or 40 minutes out of London, was to create these new settlements that were pretty much self-contained," Mr Day said.
Now technology had caught up to allow for dispersed workplaces for a larger number of office workers making the self-contained neighbourhoods with minimal commute times more feasible, he said.
Mr Day said the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated up to a decade's worth of design adaptation, forcing planners to reconsider how best to lay out new suburbs and provide everyday needs in a small, local radius.
Planners would need to recognise fewer employees would return to the office five days each week, he said.
"We've separated all the land uses and that's what compelled us to drive from one use to the other, from the shopping centre to the business park to the residential," Mr Day said.
"Whereas now, there's very few uses that can't coexist. So the notion of mixing the uses is what was an anathema to the planners for many decades, now they're realising that most uses can coexist."
Traffic volumes on Canberra's arterial roads fell by 40 per cent in March when the ACT government told people to avoid non-essential travel and more employees switched to working from home.
However, traffic volumes crept higher than pre-pandemic levels by June at some intersections. The whole road network ran at 84 per cent of pre-virus levels in June.
Sales of push bikes have also remained high in Canberra, as a growing number of people switch to cycling as a means of transport and recreation.