The RAC Foundation says change in working patterns are needed – either to reduce the need to travel or to stagger the time when travel occurs.
It predicts that smarter working could cut commuter traffic by 10% within five years.
Edmund King, the RAC Foundation’s executive director, said: ‘Even if people only worked from home one day a week, the impact would be significant – just look at what happens during the school holidays.
‘Congestion costs the UK economy £20 billion a year. If there is a reasonable take-up of smarter working, we predict that £1.9 billion per year will be saved in five years.’
The foundation’s move is part of its backing of the Work Wise UK initiative, which aims to encourage the adoption of smarter working practices.
Phil Flaxton is chief executive of the organisation behind the initiative, the IT Forum Foundation.
He said: ‘One of the key benefits of most smarter working practices is less or more flexible travel requirements.
‘Reducing congestion and overcrowding on public transport has a double benefit. Not only do those people not travelling benefit, the experience for those that have to travel is far more tolerable.’