Which mode of transportation makes us happiest?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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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  1. I miss taking the L to work from living downtown and it’s really not any work at all! So easy to just hop on and hop off and not deal with any traffic!

  2. I always say I’m going to bike to work but then I never end up doing it. Maybe I’ll give it a shot next week, especially if it’s going to put me in a better mood!

  3. I cycle to METRA daily; then walk to work. At work, I often cycle @lunch vs. chowing down in my office. Having VERY inexpensive bicycles helps keep me happy at both ends of my two hour daily commute.
    ps. On the Train I look for commuting friends and other folks happy to chat, gossip, and tell of daily, esp. FUNNY travails during the week.
    E.g., Did you see how the Cubs conspired to lose (again)…

  4. I definitely believe this! Wish I had other means of transportation, but the car it is!

  5. Cycling is a great way kill two birds with one stone, commutting and daily exercise.

  6. Natalie Passarelli June 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm · Reply

    Would love to try cycling to work one day, especially with all the morning traffic!

  7. Lisa Parro

    What about walking? I’m fortunate to be able to do that every day. The fresh air definitely lightens my mood.

  8. Jerome Schwich July 2, 2014 at 12:45 am · Reply

    I have noticed I did not include walking, I guess it seemed too fundamental to include. I would say that has great benefits, about the same as biking! I was fortunate to walk to work for a while and loved it. No hassle, fresh air, great exercise. I would highly recommend it if you can as well.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.