Study Says Commuting Via Public Transport Is More Relaxing Than Driving

We say, er…

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by Sophie Wilkinson |

If you're on public transport right now, you might be reading this squished underneath the armpit of one person and the rucksack of another. The bus might be visibly straining under the weight of two full decks and people standing up top as it pulls away from the kerb, and you might have someone behind you eating crisps really loudly or gabbling away on their phone way too expressively for before noon.

But you're actually happy, because a study says that – despite all the possible annoyances that arise when you take public transport – getting the bus, tube or train makes you much happier and easier to sleep at night than driving into work.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia found that people who drove to work were 13 per cent more likely to feel 'under constant strain or unable to concentrate.'

Their study of 18,000 workers, which was published in the journal Preventive Medicine, found that exercise taken en route to the actual commute – a walk to the bus stop or a stroll to the station – followed by the relaxation of travelling, helps people feel better.

We've no idea if they actually spoke to anyone who's been in earshot of two bankers shooting the shit while being dry-humped by a complete stranger and sneezed on by a child (again, a complete stranger) on a peak-time Central Line tube, but lead researcher Adam Martin said: 'One surprising finding was that commuters reported feeling better when travelling by public transport, compared to driving. You might think that things like disruption to services or crowds of commuters might have been a cause of considerable stress.'

However, he told The Telegraph time spent on public transport can be very chilled out: 'But as buses and trains also give people time to relax, read, socialise and there is usually an associated walk to the bus stop or railway station, it appears to cheer people up.'

The report said that while driving is 'a non-passive travel mode that requires constant concentration, can give rise to boredom, social isolation and stress,' when it comes to other forms of commuting, 'intrinsic enjoyment is gained from the exercise or relaxation associated with active travel.'

It also added that improvements to public transport, like better bike lanes, could result in 'noticeable mental health benefits'. We hope the powers that be take note…

Plus, until The Debrief gets a radio station, there's no way you can actually enjoy us if you're driving into work! So maybe your commute isn't that bad after all. LOL.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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