Isn't it Weird That

A quick Isn't It Weird That while we wait for this afternoon's historic city council vote for a $15 minimum wage.... 

Isn't It Weird That ... KOMO News reports that people who commute to work (as opposed to working from home) experience diminished health, higher stress, and lower life satisfaction than people who don't, and that those problems get worse the longer the commute takes? 

"In big studies the length of your commute correlates with how fat you are (and) whether you're likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, problems like that," a doctor KOMO interviews says, and the effects are, in the words of the reporter, "Unequivocally bad for even bus riders." 

That's a weird conclusion not because sitting in traffic behind the wheel of a car isn't stressful—obviously, it is—but because the report on which KOMO bases its breathless analysis explicitly singles out public transit and biking as two modes of commuting that don't have the same stressful impact as driving a car. 

The study, from the UK's Office of National Statistics, reports  that "commuting via car, minibus or works van is associated with lower levels of happiness on average and higher levels of anxiety after the first fifteen minutes of the journey and these negative effects increase as the journey time increases. By comparison, those travelling by public transport such as the train or underground do not on average experience a loss of personal well-being until the journey time increases to 30 minutes or more." 
And, in fact, the study found that for people who commuted by bicycle, the longer the commute, the more personal well-being and less anxiety they experienced. 
All "commutes" aren't created equal, in other words; and "commuting" shouldn't be defined exclusively as sitting alone in a car.


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