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How Commutes Influence Happiness, Health

More evidence is piling up that commuting by anything but private automobile can increase happiness, social capital, and health.
October 5, 2015, 5am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

Gizmodo’s Kellsey Campbell-Dollaghan has compiled the latest evidence that doing almost anything but driving as part of your commute is less stressful and overall healthier for you. The article cites a recent study by researchers at McGill University in Montreal, published in the October 2015 issue of Transportation Research, that found those who walk as part of their commute, whether the entire distance from home to office or as just a segment of their commute (i.e., home to transit stop), reported walking is the least stressful mode to commute.

For urban planners and sociologists the mode of commute also holds significant impacts for building a cohesive and successful community. Via the article: "A recent study of more than 21,000 people in Scania, Sweden, found that people who commute by car not only are less social–attending fewer social events, family gatherings, or public events–but they have lower trust, with more drivers reporting that they couldn’t trust most people. Meanwhile, active commuters—walking or biking—and even transit commuters reported much higher social participation and trust in others."

Ultimately, getting out of the car may result in a longer and healthier life, with one study from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands finding that the switch from car to bicycle as the mode of commuting "would add between three months to 14 months" to a person's lifespan.

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Published on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in Gizmodo
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