They’re more likely than drivers, walkers, and straphangers to get to work on time and feeling good.
Andrew Small Dec 23, 2016
With so many commuting choices—bikes, trains, buses, and those god-forsaken, gas-guzzling death-boxes also known as cars—and so many variables—cost, time, distance, traffic, and weather conditions—we transit nerds at CityLab are constantly reconsidering the virtues of one mode of travel or another.
But here’s a consideration that might hit especially close to home when we bicker about the best way to roll up to the office: What kind of commuters are more likely to feel energized and arrive on time?
To get at this, a new study by McGill University’s Charis Loong, Dea van Lierop, and Ahmed El-Geneidy analyzed the commuting patterns of the students, staff, and faculty at the school located in downtown Montreal, surveying 5,599 people at the campus in 2013.
The survey asked participants how they commuted to campus—walking, cycling, driving, or taking public transit—and paired those patterns with their responses of feeling energized and whether their commute negatively impacted their punctuality.
The researchers also asked respondents to detail explanatory factors such as their distance from campus, the amount of time they spent commuting, or the weather. The results were published in Science Direct this week.
A key caveat: The study did not control for demographics in their analysis. Walkers skewed significantly to younger students, while drivers tended to be older staff and faculty, and cyclists and public-transit riders fell somewhere in the middle.
Active forms of transportation leave people feeling energized
Overall, 36 percent of the respondents said they felt energized when they arrived to campus. Commuters who drove or took public transit were slightly less likely to feel energized (28 percent and 29 percent) and commuters who walked were slightly more likely to feel that way (42 percent).
Respondents who felt energized arriving to work or school