Walking or riding a bike to work is often seen as a way to save money or get some exercise. However, it may also have another benefit: it could make you happier with your commute.
Photo by Missy S
Walking or biking to work isn’t always a feasible option (where I live in Atlanta, for example, many commutes can be between 30-60 minutes of driving time). However, in cities where it is possible, those who can avoid cars or stuffy public transport may find they enjoy their commute more.
That was certainly the case for Montreal. In a study at McGill University of 3377 students, staff, and faculty, researches found that those who walked or biked (as well as those who took intercity rail) were most satisfied with their commute. Sometimes even if it made their commute take longer:
Travel time obviously matters: on the whole, people with longer commutes were less satisfied with them. But to walkers, bikers, and bus riders, an extra ten minutes of commuting only reduced satisfaction by about half as much as it did for drivers, or metro or train riders.
Of course saving money and getting a workout could help a lot of people feel more satisfied with life in general, but there are plenty of reasons why this in particular can make commuters happier. Walking or biking generally means you have to plan further ahead and you’re in less of a rush. You are also rarely slowed down by circumstances outside of your control. Until pedestrian gridlock becomes a thing, anyway.