Abstract There is growing awareness that Canadian urban transportation systems are not sustainable. However, we have only a limited understanding of how travel decisions are affected by policy or other circumstantial changes that are purported to address sustainability concerns. This paper reports on an in-depth, small-sample experiment designed to explore issues that require nontraditional travel data. The locus is on household-level responses to a vehicle-reduction scenario in the context of teleworking households in a mid-sized Canadian city. The study design allows for comparisons of ‘actual’ versus ‘gamed’ activity and travel patterns. Two themes were explored: telework as an enabler of travel changes; and the persistence of and reasons for auto dependency within teleworking households. Results suggest that teleworking households have a high capacity to adapt to a vehicle-reduction scenario, while making only minor changes to activity patterns. Despite the ability to change, the six participating households displayed continued auto reliance. Barriers that prevent telework from reaching its potential as an auto-reduction strategy emerged during the game.