Study: Productive Commuters Are Happy Commuters
Commuting to work can be miserable, but just how miserable probably depends on your mode of transportation.
Researchers at McGill University in Montreal recently asked nearly 3,400 students, staff, and faculty about the different ways they commuted. Through their research, they found that half of common travel methods are notably more headache-inducing than others, according to a summary of the study in CityLab.
The survey respondents fell in one of two groups. The first was made up of pretty happy commuters; ranked by their overall satisfaction levels, they were: pedestrians (85 percent satisfied with their commute), train commuters (84 percent) and cyclists (82 percent).
Then there were the less happy commuters. They included: drivers (77 percent), metro riders (76 percent), and bus riders (75.5 percent).
Of course, transportation mode wasn't the sole determinant of respondents' satisfaction. For example, the study also found that pedestrians were considerably less happy with their walk to work or school during the Canadian city's winter months.
Here are some of the other finer points of the research:
- Active commuters enjoyed their rides more than others. This included train passengers who are able to read, write, talk on the phone, and generally be productive during their trip.
- Not surprisingly, a longer trip equaled a less happy commuter. However, the negative impact of more time traveled was less severe for walkers, train riders, and cyclists. "No doubt, because they enjoy the commute itself, rather than seeing it as a means to an end," according to CityLab.
- Bus passengers braced themselves for at least an hour of delays every week. The study found that when commuting to work, riders budgeted 14 extra minutes each day. Meanwhile, cyclists budgeted only five extra minutes.
Even more frustrating for most Americans is the fact that they don't have much of a choice when it comes to how they get to work--either because they live far away or their city doesn't provide many viable transportation options. According to Census data, more than 86 percent of workers commute via car. On the other hand, only 0.6 percent of Americans bike to work.