Mode of transport when commuting determines health and happiness

CommutingNew research published in the British Medical Journal last week has confirmed the perhaps obvious fact that people who drive to work are generally less healthy and more overweight than those who get to work in other ways. More surprisingly, the report also found that using public transport to commute may be just as beneficial to healthy as cycling. The report suggests that with nearly 24 million people regularly commuting to work each day in England and Wales, its results based long term research with a sample of 16,000 people should have significant implications for Government infrastructure policy, urban design and individual workplace policies. “Policies designed to effect a population-level modal shift to more active modes of work commuting therefore present major opportunities for public health improvement”, it concludes.

Meanwhile, a new study from Canadian researchers published in the journal Science Direct last week claims that the mode of transport we choose also determines how happy we are with the we way we get to work. In this regard at least, the car wins out over some forms of public transport The happiest commuters amongst the sample of 3,400 students and staff at McGill University in Montreal were, in order, walkers (85 percent), rail travellers (84 percent), cyclists (82 percent), drivers (77 percent), metro riders (76 percent), and bus riders (75.5 percent)

Happiness levels were gauged on a scale that took into account subjects’ perceptions of factors such as length of commute, comfort, safety, waiting, privacy and freedom from unwanted attention.