Study: Of All Transportation Modes, Cycling Evokes the Most Positive Mood

People are in a better mood while biking than driving or riding the bus, according to a new study. Photo: Richard Masoner on Flickr
People are in a better mood while biking than driving or riding the bus, according to a new study. Photo: Richard Masoner/Flickr

Bike travel is the mode most likely to put a smile on your face.

That’s the finding from a new academic study published in the Springer journal “Transportation.” Researchers from Clemson and the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 13,000 randomly selected people about their mood during random activities throughout the day.

Contrary to previous research, they found that mood was not significantly affected simply because people were traveling from place to place; those in transport were about as happy as average during the day.

When it came to different modes of transportation, the impacts were slight and not statistically significant. Still, researchers found that cycling elicited the most positive emotions. They also said this might reflect that people who are generally more fit and enthusiastic are attracted to biking in the first place.

The next happiest group of travelers was passengers in cars, followed by car drivers. Meanwhile, the most frustrated class were those who moved around on transit. The researchers said part of that negative feeling might come from the fact that transit riders are more likely to be commuting to work, which is a less enjoyable task across all modes.

The authors of the study say this last finding might suggest a need to invest more in transit riders’ “emotional experience,” as opposed to frequency and travel speed. But negative feelings experienced by transit riders might well stem from the kind of headaches caused by underinvestment. And positive feelings that come with driving, to some extent, might result from the enormous expenditures that go into making that activity as convenient as possible.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

How Windshield Perspective Shapes the Way We See the World

|
Via Shane Phillips at Planetizen: A new study published in the Transportation Research Record confirms that windshield perspective is all-too real. Observing the world from behind the wheel, it turns out, has a powerful influence on our judgments about places and even people. Researchers found that people driving a car tend to view unfamiliar, less-affluent neighborhoods more […]

Why Did Copenhagen's Biking Rate Surge in One Year?

|
Copenhagen is famous for being a city where a lot of people bike. But for years the bike commuting rate has remained roughly steady at just over a third of trips. Then last year the city’s bike commute mode share increased from 36 percent to 41 percent. Meanwhile, driving declined 3 percent as a share of […]

Why Did Copenhagen’s Biking Rate Surge in One Year?

|
Copenhagen is famous for being a city where a lot of people bike. But for years the bike commuting rate has remained roughly steady at just over a third of trips. Then last year the city’s bike commute mode share increased from 36 percent to 41 percent. Meanwhile, driving declined 3 percent as a share of […]

Biking Uphill Is Satisfying, and Other Bicycle Research From TRB 2013

|
Today is Day Three of the Transportation Research Board’s annual conference. Interested in pavement composition and performance? There are 200 workshops with your name on them. Interested in bicycling? There’s quite a bit for you too. Yesterday, 13 scholars presented their research on cycling. Here are a few highlights: Take Your City Engineer to Copenhagen. Cortney […]

More Evidence That Helmet Laws Don’t Work

|
If you want to increase cycling safety in your city, drop the helmet law and focus on getting more people– particularly women — on bikes, with street designs that offer separation from vehicle traffic. That’s the finding of a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia [PDF] evaluating safety outcomes for cyclists across Canadian […]

What’s the Best Way to Make Biking Mainstream in a Car-Centric City?

|
How can you turn a car-dependent city into a place where most people feel safe cycling for transportation? Researchers in Auckland, New Zealand, created a predictive model to assess how different policies affect cycling rates over several years. In a paper published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives [PDF], they concluded that a combination of protected […]