Researchers from the University of East Anglia tracked the well being of 18,000 British commuters over 18 years, according to Co.Exist. They found that commuters who used 'active' modes of transportation, such as walking or biking, were happier than those who drove. Feelings of worthlessness, sleepless nights and general unhappiness were reduced for those who biked or walked to work. The study showed that rates of feeling constantly stressed or stained were 13 percent higher for drivers, The Telegraph reported.
Surprisingly, higher happiness levels were also reported for those who took public transportation. Crowded buses or train cars and unforeseen interruptions in service seem stress-inducing, but public transit also gave commuters a chance to relax and socialize. Drivers, on the other hand, need to focus intensely on their commutes and may end up feeling isolated. Using public transportation also usually includes an element of physical activity as commuters walk or bike to the train station or bus stop, potentially contributing to public transportation users' good vibes.
The study found that the longer the walk, the more happy the commuters scored. Adding 10 minutes to the commute time of an active traveler actually increased a sense of well-being while an extra 10 minutes in the driver's seat decreased commuters well-being levels. The effects of switching from driving to active travel were significant. Researchers noted that the rise in happiness levels for those who switched mirrored major life changes, such as getting married or having a baby.