Using Understanding Society to gain a fuller picture on the wellbeing impacts of commuting

Publication type

Conference Paper

Author

Kiron Chatterjee

Publication date

Summary

A clear picture has not emerged from previous studies on the impact of different commuting behaviours on subjective wellbeing. Results differ according to the specific aspect of subjective wellbeing under consideration. Understanding Society offers an excellent opportunity to get a better understanding of the relationship between commuting and subjective wellbeing, as it obtains measures of different domains and indicators of subjective wellbeing, as well as commute duration and transport mode. A path analysis of Understanding Society data for 2010/11 (wave 2) showed that a negative association between commute duration and life satisfaction arises through higher levels of strain, lower satisfaction with leisure time availability and lower job satisfaction. Satisfaction with leisure time availability has the strongest effect, accounting for 80% of the negative association between commute duration and life satisfaction. The relationships between commute duration and life satisfaction are also found to differ by transport mode. Lower satisfaction with leisure time availability is associated with longer duration commutes by all modes with the exception of walking. Longer duration commutes are strongly associated with higher strain for drivers, but not the other modes. Lower job satisfaction is associated with longer duration commutes by driving, cycling, and walking, but not by public transport. The results imply that policies and investments which reduce commute durations, while also enabling access to the same employment opportunities, housing quality and earnings, would improve life satisfaction across the population.

Subjects

Psychology, Well Being, Commuting and Travel

Links