While long solo car commutes are tough on the environment (and increasingly the pocketbook), new research shows they has a negative effect on a person's health as well.
"Besides taking time away from family, a long commute can be harmful to your health. Researchers have found that hours spent behind the wheel raise blood pressure and cause workers to get sick and stay home more often. Commuters have lower thresholds for frustration at work, suffer more headaches and chest pains, and more often display negative moods at home in the evenings.
Raymond Novaco, a professor at the University of California at Irvine's Institute of Transportation Studies who has researched commuting for three decades, found a correlation between traffic congestion and health conditions such as higher blood pressure and stress.
Novaco's research team measures the blood pressure and heart rate of commuters shortly after they arrive at work and again two hours later. Commuters also fill out detailed questionnaires on their home and work lives. "The longer the commute, the more illness" and more illness-related work absences occur, he said."