Study: Biking Brings Happiness

A Minneapolis study showed cyclists experienced the highest rates of satisfaction during their commute.

1 minute read

October 5, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


According to the University of Minnesota’s Transportation Happiness Map, people on bikes are the happiest commuters, reports Carlton Reid in Forbes.

Using data from a smartphone app, Yingling Fan, an urban and regional planning professor at the University of Minnesota, tracks commuter routes along with other key indicators. “This app collects GPS data on routes chosen and then asks participants to rank segments by emotions, mapping happiness, meaningfulness, pain, sadness, stress, and tiredness.” In Minneapolis, “The research discovered that the mapped route with the highest scores for ‘happiness’ was the separated, riverside cycleway beside the West River Parkway.”

“A Statistics Canada survey found that 66% of people who cycle or walk to work are ‘very satisfied’ with their commutes. However, only 32% of car commuters say the same, and for public transit users, it’s even less, at just 25%. Just 6% of Canadian cyclists say they are ‘dissatisfied’ with their commute.” Experts attribute this in part to the feeling of helplessness experienced by drivers or transit riders who feel trapped in traffic, unable to alter their commute or change their situation.

Notably, the article doesn’t mention biking conditions: the study was undertaken in Minneapolis, arguably one of the nation’s best biking cities. Bike commuters in less well-equipped cities may, this editor suspects, report somewhat different happiness results.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 in Forbes

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