Scientists have worked out the impact of long commutes on life satisfaction

 
Lynsey Barber
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Bus travellers beware, a long commute has the biggest impact (Source: Getty)

Adding an extra 20 minutes to your commute is the equivalent of taking a 19 per cent pay cut when it comes to life satisfaction, according to researchers.

A new study looking at the impact of commuting on happiness and well-being found that overall, satisfaction in people's jobs and leisure time were reduced for each additions minute of commuting.

But the man who led the study, associate professor of travel behaviour at the University of West of England (UWE) Dr Kiron Chatterjee, said that some people do decide to take on longer journey times to increase their pay, which in turn increases job satisfaction.

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"This raise the interesting question over whether the additional income associated with longer commutes fully compensates for the negative aspects of the journey to work," he said.

And the study also identified that when it comes to commuting by rail, it was in fact found that shorter journeys were less of a strain than long commutes, while those travelling by bus were found to experience the worst negative effects of a long commute.

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The analysis of more than 20,000 employees across the UK also found that those who walk or cycle do not experience reduced satisfaction in their leisure time when compared to other forms of transport with the same length journey.

"The findings indicate that longer journeys to work have adverse subjective wellbeing effects, particularly through loss of free time," said Chatterjee.

"On the other hand, longer commute times were not found to have a large impact on life satisfaction overall. This is because people take on longer commutes for good reasons relating to improving their employment, housing and family situations and these factors serve to increase life satisfaction. This does not mean that the negative subjective wellbeing impacts of longer commutes can be disregarded. The acceptance that a long commute is a price to pay may only persist if it is considered unavoidable and a social norm."

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