Which mode of transportation makes us happiest?
A recent study done by Clemson University investigates how different modes of transportation affect our emotions, specifically our happiness.
No matter how you take your daily commute, many people would say it can be a stressful time. This research indicates certain modes of transportation may be better options to help reduce that stress and promote a more general sense of happiness.
According to Cliff Winston, a traffic and transportation researcher, approximately ninety percent of Americans drive to work. This can be not only stressful, but very time-consuming.
According to his research, Americans spend on average about 100 minutes in transit every single day. Frequently sitting in traffic can lead to higher stress levels, but according to the Clemson study, it is still a better option than public modes of transportation in most cases.
The rankings, based on overall happiness when using them, are as follows:
- Biking/Cycling – Those who bike on a more frequent basis tend to be in a better mood than those who use other forms of transportation. It not only benefits the environment and your physical health, but promotes a good mood and less overall stress.
- Being a passenger – You may still experience the negative emotions of traffic, but at least you are not having to physically deal with it, but rather you are able to sit back comfortably and ride.
- Driving the car – This is the category typical of most Americans. Some people like the sense of control, while others would give anything to be able to sit back and not have to be alert and attentive all on the way to work.
- Bus/Train – This could be due to being crowded or noisy, or just the simple fact that you have to go through all this to get to work. But either way people experience their worst average mood using these forms of transportation.
Researchers note that improving transit riders’ emotional experience may be as necessary as improving traditional features such as travel speeds and headways.
If you’re regularly trapped in traffic daily, working in some time in for exercise is critically important, health experts say.
“Getting a workout on a daily basis in place of sitting in traffic has to be good for body and mind,” says Dr. Daniel Lazar, primary care physician with Advocate Medical Group in Glenview, Ill. “Fresh air in your face instead of sitting in the same position has got to be a mental health boost.”
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